55,000 Mile Survivor: 1963 Studebaker Avanti R-1

The Studebaker Avantis come up for sale with some regularity, but more often that not, they are the less desirable later cars or fairly haggard R-1 projects. This example is neither of those, as it’s a desirable R-1 in a highly preserved state that still runs out well and wears what is believed to be original paint. The seller has performed a thorough reconditioning to address parts that may have succumbed to time and age, and is asking $20,500 or best offer here on eBay.

I still find this to be one of the prettiest American-made cars ever built, and while the nose could be considered polarizing by some, the rear end is just gorgeous. Those slim bumpers and taillights, combined with the gentle swoops of the body and subtle chrome touches like the hubcaps, represented a level of restraint not often seen in American design at the time. Combined with a very American power plant and luxurious appointments, you can tell Studebaker was swinging for the fences.

While the interior may look spartan by today’s standards, it was quite ornate when new. This one remains in tidy condition despite years of storage,  and the seller notes that all switchgear remains intact along with original window glass and slow-but-still functioning power windows. The dashboard doesn’t appear to be cracked or otherwise damaged, but the Avanti is crying out for some pretty Coco mats to dress up the floors.

Engine-wise, the 289 V8 is said to run well and benefits from a new exhaust and recently serviced transmission. An oil leak is noted coming from the timing gear cover, and the tachometer isn’t functional due to a bad sending unit. Overall, this Avanti presents as an honest survivor that can be driven and enjoyed, and it will hopefully never be restored given it sports the right equipment in the preferred earlier body style. Keep the paint and engine preserved and you can likely drive this classic regularly and never see a major drop in value.


  1. OhU8one2

    Avanti’s are in a class all by themselves. They were styled like no other. But, for some reason I’ve never been too excited about ever having one. But I do like this car. Guess it’s time to do a little research on this model. I do remember some of them had supercharger’s. A gentlemen’s car with a teenager attitude. That works for me.

    Like 17
    • Art Pauly

      I’ve always been attracted to the Avanti but never owned one. Your statement “A Gentleman’s car with a teenager attitude” states my thought better than I could.

      Like 7
  2. Jason

    Without question the first gen Avanti is my favorite American car design. A real unique beauty.

    Like 13
  3. Junkyard Jimmy

    For the money, why doesn’t the seller just install a new timing gear cover gasket and replace the tachometer sending unit?

    Like 10
  4. Barney

    Isn’t the R-1 the base model Avanti? That would be the most common one. The R2 with the supercharger would be the desirable one.

    Like 2
    • plwindish

      Barney, The R-1 was a base engine, but 60’s technology did not allow ac to be added to the more popular supercharged R-2. A good number of R-1’s were equipped with ac to cool the warm cabins of the Avanti with heat pouring in from the console. Later Avanti II’s had the console/tunnels redesigned to allow more air flow to cool them down. Today, one can get supercharger and ac to live together under the hood.

      Like 2
    • Vince

      R2 is more desirable but the 9 that had the R3 are coveted.

      Like 0
  5. dweezilaz

    These came out when I was seven. I saw my first one in 1964 and still think it is one of the most beautiful designs ever.

    It’s stayed in my memory bank now for over 50 years.

    Love the rag upgrade vs the Craig’s List Finger to address license plate paranoia.

    Not as if it’s not visible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and by everyone on the street whenever it’s driven, but….okay.

    Tin foil under your hub caps scrambles any radar gun waves as well.

    Like 5
  6. J Bella

    The Studebaker Avanti with R1 was the ONLY engine option that could be ordered with factory Air Conditioning. So a buyer had to make a tough choice; Do I want A/C and the R1 …OR… a Supercharged R2, but No A/C ?!?!

    Like 0
  7. Eric_13cars Eric_10cars Member

    Power windows? The right door looks like it has a window crank.

    Studebaker 289s were great engines. I had a 62 Hawk v8 in a 54 2dr coupe I owned. Supposedly they could be bored out a full 0.090, had swept bearing area that was 11/2 times more than the Chevy 283 or the Ford 289, and had a much heavier crankshaft as well. I can attest to the one major problem with them…the oil drains in the heads were much too small. You could have a quart of oil in both valve covers. Valve stem seals were thus an issue over time. I had my valve guides knurled and got special seals that required some minor machining. Some folks actually installed an external drain to the oil pan on both sides. It made a great sound when running. Another car I miss…3 on the tree, OD, hill holder, gorgeous body lines.

    Like 1
  8. charlie Member

    My parents had a ’50 Studebaker with hill holder (as did my ’93 Saab, and my ’14 Audi) which, my mother observed, held you tight on the hill at a stoplight, while the car in front of you rolled back into your front bumper.
    But this is the car I want, but I have to get rid of something else to make room.

    Like 1
  9. charlie Member

    R3 – you trailer it, in an enclosed trailer, to concours events.
    R2- you drive it to shows, and maybe on a tour, and submit to judging.
    R1- you drive it to the grocery store, and out for ice cream, and to cars and coffee. And maybe you just put regular plates on it so you are legal (in many states “antique’ plates really limit what you can do). But when you get to the grocery store you park in the part of the lot where nobody is likely to park next to you with their Tesla and open the back doors into it.

    Like 1
  10. Hot rod daddy

    Love those Avantis. One day I would like to own one. Too bad that it was too little too late for Studebaker.

    Like 1
  11. Hotroddaddy

    Love those Avantis. One day I would like to own one. To bad it was too little too late for Studebaker.

    Like 0

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