Estate Sale Find: 1963 Studebaker Avanti

This 1963 Studebaker Avanti is part of an estate clean-out in the Tampa Bay area in Florida. The first picture here shows a car that has clearly been forgotten under a cheap car cover, but the previous owner was seemingly attempting a restoration of sorts before the project stalled. The seller notes the Avanti is a first-year model fitted with the 289 engine. Find it here on craigslist with a $6,990 asking price.

The Avanti is clearly in the midst of a tear-down, and the seller notes it has been parked since 2004. Most of the trim was removed and paint stripped in prep for a restoration that obviously didn’t take flight. Also worth noting is the now-deceased owner modified the nose to resemble that of a 1964 model, which also calls for updated headlights. The seller retains a clear title to the Avanti.

Condition and mechanical history of the 289 engine is unknown. The seller notes it is equipped with an automatic transmission and air conditioning, which may drive some additional interest among Avanti enthusiasts. I personally like this combination a lot, especially given it is an earlier model. The supercharged example is the way to fly, but a fist-year Avanti is a close second, in my book.

The color combo was likely quite pretty, as I rarely see a red interior that doesn’t look good with the outside paint job. However, the condition of the seat surfaces makes me wonder about the storage environment – is that mold or dirt? I suspect it’s the former, especially if the Avanti was parked in a humid Florida garage. Good thing it has air conditioning! Thanks to Barn Finds reader Pat L. for the find.


  1. Jason

    I much prefer the earlier models with the round headlights. Am I in the minority there?

    Like 11
    • Poppy

      I prefer the ’63 round headlights also. Some early ’64s had them, too.

      Like 1
  2. Pookie Jamie

    Ummm. Jason, they all had round headlights. Pull up pics on google

    Like 2
  3. George mattar

    A homerun design for the great Studebaker. But it was too late. By 1966, another icon American car was gone. I love these cars. Far better quality than Ford or Chrysler junk of this era.

    Like 2
    • WayneC Member

      More than likely, this car if it had the round headlight openings was in an accident. The repair panels for the round openings have not available for many years, as far back as the early 70′ s. Most all round headlighted Avantis that have been in an accident where it couldn’t be repaired were replaced with the square opening headlite front ends. I know of several. Another reason was that the trim and inside reflectors for the square headlights were available from Avanti easily until the mid-80’s. I have most of a round headlighted nose in my back yard that was left after a square changeover as there wasn’t any parts available. I’m keeping it just in case some jerk hits my Avanti and I hope I have the right parts needed.

      Like 7
      • Little_Cars


        Or…man cave wall art?! Electrify the lamps and create mood light!

        Like 1
      • KKW

        Far better quality than who? I don’t think so. Lol.

      • WayneC Member

        If you have looked at a low mileage or very well maintained Avanti, the interiors were well put together and got better as time went on. The later 64 model interiors were absolutely gorgeous and the trim and fit were top notch compared to most Ford and Chrysler cars of the time.

  4. Dennis Marth

    If only I could take this project car on….

    As a lad of 11 years, I delivered newspapers on my bicycle each afternoon in the small New England town where I grew up. One of my favorite customers was the local garage that sold Studebaker cars. Like the town, it was a small dealership and they were allotted one metallic gold first year Avanti. I fell in love with that car immediately.

    Later, when I was of driving age, I began a life long love affair with British sports cars. But in the back of my mind I’ve always kept my eye out for an original Avanti.

    Maybe someday….

    Like 3
  5. jason hoppe

    64’s had the square headlight trim, 63’s had the round glass covered headlights. Since it is an automatic with A/C, that means not a supercharged 289.

    Like 2
  6. Santa Fe Steve

    It always makes me sad to see such a beautiful (or potentially beautiful) car stored in absolutely horrible conditions. I don’t think that the seats are covered in dirt. I think it is major league mold that only States like Florida can produce. This is going to be a massive and expensive restoration. The interior alone, if replaced in the same quality leather, will cost $30K – $40K. Good luck to the new owner. Love these cars.

    Like 1
    • Kenny

      There is a company in Knoxville Tennessee that makes complete, correct interiors for most Studebakers, including Avanti cars. Southeast Studebaker has made the interiors for the last 3 I’ve restored. A complete, correct interior is usually around 3 grand. As far as the “hides” go… Avanti’s did not have leather interiors. (One MAY have been able to special order one, I don’t know but I’ve never seen one…) So… around 3 grand plus installation is what you’re looking at for a new interior (not including dash pad).
      These are fairly simple and inexpensive cars to restore, mechanically speaking. Not as cheap as a Mustang or Camaro, sure, but not bad. Parts are surprisingly easy to source. Join the Studebaker Driver’s club.

      Like 2
  7. Little_Cars

    White vinegar and lots of elbow grease. And bright sunshine without humidity. That’ll take care of the mold, if not temporarily, while you mull over whether to replace the hides entirely.

    Like 3
  8. Hotroddaddy

    I love Studebaker Avanti’s and one day I will own one. Just not this one. Too much elbow grease and $$$ to get it in showroom condition for me.

  9. Chuck Foster Chuck F 55chevy

    Great looking design, I was tempted by a roller back around 2010 that was $2500, the seller said it had a 327 Chevy in it. Must…resist.

  10. Danh

    I always bet folks $20 if they can find the headlight switch in 30 seconds. Never lost a bet…

    Like 1
  11. Del

    Why change front end ?

    Accident ?

    Some Studdy fan can maybe get this for a lot less than asking price I would say

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