Desirable Manual: 1974 Avanti II

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If you can’t find a first-edition Studebaker Avanti assembled in the Studebaker plant, the Avanti II with a manual transmission is the next best thing. These were still built on a Studebaker-designed chassis, even as engine options gradually became less and less impressive. The manual will make the most out of the 6.6L 400 mill under the hood, and just under 50,000 miles means it should have plenty of life left. Find it here on craigslist for $17,000.

Thanks to Barn Finds reader Pat for the find. This Avanti II presents nicely up and down the sides, although the wheels aren’t the best look for vintage styling like the Avanti embraces. All glass looks good and chrome appears presentable, too. The colors are bit muted, but inoffensive; thankfully, the interior color scheme makes up for the conservative exterior.

The oxblood interior is a great look with silver and the wood-trimmed steering wheel. Finding an Avanti II with a stick shift is a treat, as these have the look of a luxurious grand tourer with a meaty V8 up front and powering the rear wheels. The seller says the A/C still blows cold, too, so the comfort factor inside the cabin should be quite high.

No mention is made of any repairs or mechanical history, but assuming it’s been maintained at the most basic level, the Chevy-derived 400 should have little trouble offering reliable service for weekend or fair-weather driving for years to come. Close to $20K is a strong ask, but the manual transmission commands a premium in this application. If you can get the seller down to $15K, this could be a fun, comfortable driver with low upkeep costs over the long-term.

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  1. Bruce Jackson

    This looks pretty clean…as someone who lives in the same city as where this car resides (Portland, OR), I would be tempted to pursue this vehicle, if it were not for the fact that I need to “trim my (vehicle) here” my self, with two cars of my own currently for sale.

    While this is a fiberglass body, you would want to look closely at the chassis for any indications of corrosion. I will dispel any notions that because Portland gets a lot of rain, it is somehow a rust-belt area for automobiles (I grew up in Chicago—they salt the roads like crazy, or used to, but not much here, so if this is a West Coast car, that would be a plus). But, not knowing the origin of either this vehicle, nor of Avanti’s in particular (Stude’s had a reputation for rust), I would just suggest to any buyer to do your due diligence.

    All that said, I still love (always have) the Avanti styling—very unique—and I could see cruising around town in this vehicle!

    Like 4
    • Beaver

      Bruce because you live close could I pay you to go give this car a CLOSE look??

      Like 3
  2. Doug

    Too bad these later cars didn’t have the stance of the Studebaker cars – they just don’t look right with the nose as high as the tail. Drop the front end about 2-3 inches, and they look so much meaner. Add a set of 5 spoke mags ( or Torqthrust Ds ) and the look I recall from the 60’s would be complete. Park a Studebaker Avanti near a bunch of Corvettes, and see who gets the most attention !

    Like 6
    • SubGothius

      I gather they only had to raise the front end by about an inch to clear the Chevy engine’s taller intake stack, and they lowered the front wheelarches accordingly to close the resulting wheel gap. I suppose those two modifications together add up to a visual 2-3″ difference, though it’s really much less. I often wonder how readily an Avanti II could be retrofitted back to the original stance and round-headlight nose, given the benefit of a modern low-profile FI intake plenum.

      Speaking of wheel gap, the tires on this example sure look undersized.

      Like 1
  3. John

    A ’74 has no appeal… a ’64 would be worth looking into

    Like 0
  4. stillrunners

    Agree….the stick is would be real fun with that motor….but still not a lot of folks like these cars.

    Like 0
  5. Jeffrey bickel

    I loved these cars back in the 70s when everyone thought they were ugly.

    Like 0
  6. Mitch RossMember

    I guess I’m one of the few who prefer the Avanti II look better that the original. Nice car, wish I had money and space.

    Like 0

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