Hand-Made Classic: 1982 Avanti II

In an era of mass production, a hand-built prestige vehicle like the Avanti II was always going to struggle for survival. Automotive history is littered with manufacturers who have tried to achieve this goal, but have fallen by the wayside. The fact that different individuals persevered with the Avanti II from 1963 through until 2006 is a testament to the determination of the various individuals and companies involved in trying to keep the car afloat. Barn Finder Pat L referred this 1982 Avanti II to us, so thank you for that Pat. Located in Mansfield, Massachusetts, you will find the Avanti II listed for sale here on Craigslist. If an Avanti II ticks the boxes for you, this one can be yours for $6,800.

One of the characteristics that differentiated the Avanti II from its mainstream counterparts was the build time. In an era when it could be a matter of days between the time that a buyer orders a car until that the vehicle headed down the line, an Avanti II would take anywhere between 10 and 12 weeks to build. These were a bespoke car in the true sense, and build times were influenced by color and trim choices made by the buyer. This Avanti II exhibits some very nice trim choices, and its condition appears to be quite reasonable. I believe that the car may have received at least a partial repaint at some point in its life, as there is some evidence of overspray in a couple of spots. I’m also not sure how well the car was prepared for this, because there is also some cracking in some of these areas where a repaint is in evidence. Overall though, the condition of the Avanti II doesn’t look to be too bad.

The interior of this car is a classy blend of brown and beige, and the condition is, once again, quite reasonable. There are some marks on both front seats, but I would really be inclined to see how these came up after a clean before I would consider replacing the covers. The armrest of the driver’s door is showing the worst of the wear, but this could probably be fixed by an upholsterer. The Momo wheel is a nice touch, while the Avanti II also features air conditioning, power windows, power locks, and a remote trunk release. The A/C currently doesn’t work, so that will need some attention.

With no engine photos, we rely heavily on the owner’s description. By this stage in the ongoing life and saga of the Avanti II, power was derived from a 305ci Chevrolet V8 engine, which is hooked to a Turbo 350 automatic transmission. With 3,700lbs to move, an engine producing 155hp is not going to transform the car into a rocket. Acceleration is definitely quite leisurely, and an Avanti II was more renowned for comfort than performance. The owner doesn’t give us a lot of information about how the car runs and drives, but it is obvious from the information that he provides that this is a car that does go into Winter hibernation. To this end, the Avanti II is fitted with a battery disconnect so that the clock doesn’t run the battery flat during this little slumber. The owner is including a trickle charger to keep the battery alive over the Winter, along with a car cover that he describes as “questionable.” I think that I like this owner if he is willing to say that.

The owner of this Avanti II doesn’t try to over-sell the car and describes it as being in fair condition. With no major issues visible in the photos, I can’t help but wonder whether this is a fair assessment. Production totals for the years following the collapse of Studebaker vary a bit, but in 1982, there were 188 cars produced. This one looks like a reasonable one, and at the $6,800 asking price, it also looks to be a very good buy.

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Comments

  1. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    Saw a square light bezel Avanti on a local old-iron lot/local here about 5 months ago, sat for 7 months @ $12,000.
    Good looking car but needed some more ummph!

    Like 1
  2. Tony Primo

    Seem like a pretty fair price for so much exclusivity. Every car I have driven with a three spoke steering wheel has the odd spoke pointing down at the 6 o’clock position. This car looks very strange with the odd spoke pointing straight up!

    Like 2
    • SubGothius

      Pretty sure that’s just how the wheel happened to be turned when they took the photo.

      Like 3
  3. Sam61

    I like it to the point where if it were mine I would buy steel wheels, original wheel covers, more original exterior/interior trim bits, freshen the upholstery, add more hp to the motor and enjoy. This iteration of the Avanti is very close to the original in spirit. I would even consider some body work to revert to round headlight bezels.

    ….damn, just woke up from another dream.

    Like 4
    • SubGothius

      I’ve often wondered how readily an Avanti II could be returned to the originals’ raked stance if a modern low-profile FI plenum were fitted, since they had to raise the front end (and lower the front wheelarches to close the resulting wheel gap) by about an inch to clear the Chevy engine’s taller intake stack.

      Like 1
  4. That AMC Guy

    Interestingly the outside mirrors look like AMC units, with the same cable remote control on the driver side. Those bucket seats look awfully familiar too – compare them with the buckets in the recently-posted ’82 Jeep Scrambler, aside from the inserts.

    Like 3
  5. Tirefriar

    Price is certainly attractive on the surface but a PPI is definitely in order. Rust in the hog troughs could mean a rather difficult (and costly) repair. I was negotiating one in Chicago but the dealer would not agree to a PPI, even on my dime, unless I place a non-refundable deposit of $1k. I passed.

    Like 5
  6. DRV

    So these later ones aren’t on a frame with hog troughs, right?

    • Tirefriar

      Up to 1987 Avanti cars had the “Studebaker” frame. 1982 had the troughs for sure.

      Like 4
  7. SMS

    Man I sure hope the hog troughs are gone and the motor is seized for this price. An Avanti II was on my short list of cars to buy and bought something else just last month. Couldn’t find one I liked for a reasonable price.

    Like 1
  8. eamel

    Man, I just fell in love with this car. What a beauty! Pity I have to cross the ocean or ship a sh*tload of money to own it. But it’s the thought that counts.

    Like 1
  9. H5mind

    The Chevy power plant means HP increases are cheap and easy. If it were mine, I would rebuild the engine internals to be compatible with a supercharger. I recently found a company which sells revised suspension bits to quicken the steering. Add modern brakes, etc. and the performance would finally match the looks.

    Like 3
    • WayneC Member

      I would much rather have this one than my 87 regardless of the hog troughs. The quality of these I feel are much better than the ones on a Chevy frame. No matter what one thinks of the Studebaker suspension and steering, it is still superior to the later ones. Having owned 1, 63 and 2, 64′ s plus the 87, I have put on many thousands of miles on them. Right now I can’t afford to buy another or it would be mine.

      Like 4
  10. Pete

    My wife has had her 1975 Avanti ll since 1979 she prizes it. Our first was a Stude in 1964 (a 63 for $1500.00 no body wanted them). This car sits on a Chevie Caprice frame and running gear they bought them and removed the body. I bought some of the bodies as we were wreck rebuilders in this era. We regularly stopped at the Avanti plant when in the area. Quality inspection was a hoot. One day as we approched the door to go in the overhead door opened and you could hear noise of rolling wheels. There on a dolly was a new Avanti body shell in paint it was rolled outside in the sunlight and four guys with markers began going over the paint and fit. This went on for about 20 minutes and back in (QUALITY CONTROL). The folks who ran Avanti were just plain nice South Bend people.

    Like 3
  11. plwindish

    Avanti Motors produced Avanti’s used the Studebaker frames through the ’85 model year. 87 & 88 models had the Monte Carlo frame, 89,90 and the few left over 91’s had shortened Caprice frames. It looks like someone had the steering wheel off the car and put it back on upside down or the picture was taken with the wheels in a turning position. Yes, the mirrors were sourced from American Motors, my ’76 now has the late 80’s Camaro body colored mirrors and look more modern and I didn’t even have to drill new holes installing them. That is a very reasonable price for an Avanti. I’m sure a competent interior shop could repair the door panel as I was able to find matching vinyl to do seat repairs on my ’76. The car looks to be in decent shape and would a great economical way to get into an Avanti. A crate 350 or 383 would do wonders for performance, back it up with a 200R4 or 700R4 for great highway driving. My ’76 still has the 400 in it, but its been redone to include throttle body EFI and now running 470+ HP backed by a 200R4. Its a great highway cruiser, making it to the East Coast three times and West Coast once as well as all over the Midwest in the 8 1/2 years I’v had it.

    Like 6
  12. Wayne

    Not being a Studebaker Avanti makes it eligible (in my book) to modify to your hearts content. I like plwindish’s set up. As much aluminum as possible (heads, intake, etc) to try and keep the weight down. And a little lowering to provide the perfect stance. Also the widest wheel and tire combination that just fits the wheel wells.

    Like 1

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