1963 Autorama Attendee: Studebaker Avanti

Originally built for the 1963 Detroit Autorama, this Avanti was a special “Show Finish” car noted on its build sheet. Originally an R2 powered car, after the 1963 Detroit Autorama a R3 “race” engine was retro fitted so this Avanti has the goods you are looking for. Last restored in 2006, this rare show car looks to have held up nicely, and is still quite a special car. All of this automotive history is priced at $85,000. Check it out here on craigslist out of Shrevepoint, Louisiana. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Phil K for this unique submission!

Originally equipped with an R2 engine, this R3 “race” engine was installed by the Granatellis. The under hood area is quite clean, although there is some dust to be seen. The carb cap has been pulled, as I assume this car has been sitting, or otherwise needed some fuel work. There is not a lot of information offered on the car, or on the engines specs. The facts are unclear as some of the Studebaker community have described this car as having a unique engine, versus a standard R3 supercharged engine.

An interesting quirk about this particular Avanti is that this is the only car built with a driver only leather seat. I am unsure of the reasoning, but it makes sense that this is the only car. The interior has a pleasant appearance, with only some minor concerns to make mention of. The back seats look to have been used for storage, so there are some depressed areas from stored weight. Some of the cream colored interior parts appear in a slightly different hue as well. The rubber floor pad on the driver side is dirty in the pad grooves, but otherwise there is little else to nitpick.

Although last restored in 2006, it appears this Avanti has aged gracefully with no apparent condition concerns from the photos. Nothing appears out of place, and even the tires appear to be age appropriate. The lack of photos and information leave a lot of unanswered questions, but I am sure the seller would perk up for an interested buyer at his asking price. With a unique history this Studebaker certainly seems like a museum worth car. In fact it would be a nice addition to the Studebaker Museum in South Bend, Indiana. How many of you have had the pleasure of driving an R3 powered Avanti?

Fast Finds


  1. dm

    A bicycle provided transportation to the local Studebaker dealer for the debut of the 1963 Avanti. Seems like they had a gold one and a white one, and the white one was an R2. First time to see an actual supercharger.

  2. Dolphin Member

    Nice Avanti, poor sales listing

    – Said to be a special build Avanti
    – Looks like it’s in very good condition
    – Great dash on these
    – At least 1 seat has leather covering….apparently the only one that does

    Not so good:
    – A very special Avanti on CL??
    OK, yes, “it’s your car”, etc….
    – Listed as an ‘automatic’, but that shifter sure looks like it’s for a standard. So does that clutch pedal.
    – 50% (7 of 14) of the photos are taken in a garage from the front
    – The rest of the photos also taken in a garage
    – No documentation offered for the Granatelli engine, ‘frame off’ restoration, etc
    – No info on engine/drivetrain condition, miles, service history

    If I lived in Shreveport I would definitely have a look, but I don’t unfortunately

    Seller has lots of other vintage cars for sale—-click on “more ads by this user”

    • jdjonesdr

      Ok, so the seller is a little confused…… lol

    • John K

      If Granatelli dropped the R3 engine in that’s incredibly important. IIRC, Studebaker sent a few of these 63’s to Granatelli and after dropping in the R3 engines they went to Bonneville and set several speed records with them. Not saying this is one of those Bonneville cars, but I consider that important provenance.

      • editor

        After Studebaker closed production in December 1963, Granatelli/Paxton Products had a number of R3 engines that they sold to individuals to replace the engine in their Avanti. Many of these “B-numbered” engines were installed at the Paxton/Granatelli shop.

  3. editor

    this car has been for sale for a couple of years at this very high price. It is missing supercharger hoses and carburetor box enclosure. Are they included? Hood latches and mechanism are wrongly painted black. they should not be painted. If restored by “Classic Auto Restoration” and/or Myers Studebaker, how long ago? It doesn’t look like a fresh restoration. Engine alone is probably worth $15-$20K; rest of the car, not quite so much. Every car that appeared at an auto show got tagged at the factory for “Show Car Finish”. but it is not show car finish now. Considering the engine and drivetrain options, It’s probably worth maybe $20k-$25k as it sits now….. not $85k.

  4. grant


  5. Vince H

    Ad has been in Studebaker Drivers Club newsletter the last few months. It is a lousy ad with one picture. There were 9 factory built R3s

  6. stillrunners lawrence Member

    I drive a R1 factory 4 door….that’s pretty damn peppy….and stops pretty good to with factory disk brakes….1963 – Avanti beat the Corvette by a year in 1962 with them.


    Incredible car but not worth 85g’s. The other seats look the same in the pics. Does it even run?

  8. Ken B

    I have been interested in this car, and it has been for sale off and on for at least 7 years. If it were near #1, it might fetch $80,000. I actually offered $50000 for it, and didn’t receive a counter. That’s when it was listed for $69,000. Great car, but many questions/issues: AutoRama finish” doesn’t really add value at this point. No Granatelli provenance, not a “B” Engine serial #, (very early engines could be 299 CI), wrong speedometer, wrong tach. I also read that the car was observed in 1970s in poor shape and leather seat was added during a partial refurbishment at that time. If it runs perfectly, and you calculate costs to bring it up to great level, it MAY be a $55K to $65K car. Great vehicle, just overpriced. I wish him well.

  9. editor

    Totally agree, Ken! Something is strange with the owner and/or whoever is advertising it for sale. I tried reaching the owner for our magazine ad, which he placed, but never paid for the ad. All correspondence went through another party, maybe an office secretary, or someone else. It has not been stored properly over the years, and if they really want top dollar, they should at least wash the car and photograph it outside in good lighting.
    Many cars were detailed at the factory for local auto shows across the country, besides Detroit… Kansas City, Atlanta, LA, Chicago, Dallas, and others. Just because it received show car detailing is not unique.
    It probably is an R3 B-numbered engine, added at some time in the past. R3 engines were not released for aftermarket sales until sometime later in 1963, most likely after the 1964 models were released.
    The R3 engine alone in his car is worth $25k or $30k. Your $50,000 offer was very fair for this car. They should have accepted your offer.

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