Last Year Cafaro Build: 1989 Avanti 2R10

Trying to trace Avanti’s history in the final generations of ownership can prove confusing, as multiple owners and financial backers came and went. In the case of this 1989 Avanti 2R10, this was produced during the phase of ownership by John J. Cafaro from 1987 to 1991. The Avanti has just 32,233 miles and is said to be in drive-it-anywhere condition. Find it here on eBay with an opening bid of $15,900 and the reserve unmet. 

The general shape of the Avanti did not change significantly from one generation to the next, although Cafaro’s ownership tenure did see the addition of a sedan to the lineup. He also relocated Avanti’s production facilities to Youngstown, Ohio, with some financial assistance from the state (just in case you thought corporate welfare was anything new). The production of Avantis in Ohio was short-lived, as Cafaro’s ownership ended in 1991 with just 405 cars made.

If you’re an Avanti fanatic, this car and its connection to an extremely brief production phase in the company’s history might make it an intriguing buy. Personally, I like the early Studebaker cars the best, as the design didn’t translate well with some of the modern cues subsequent company owners attempted to later integrate. Inside, this Avanti presents fairly well if not slightly boring; many of the components were ravaged from GM’s parts bin at the time.

Which, as the seller points out, makes for easy maintenance thanks to widespread parts availability for the Avanti’s 305 V8 engine. However, when you look back at the Studebaker years and realize the original vision was borderline exotic – a four-seater sports car with a 289 and the option to bolt on a factory authorized supercharger to seriously upgrade its performance capabilities – the later cars feel like a whimper from a once-promising exercise. Is this one worth the opening bid?


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  1. Jim Marston

    There is NO Such Model as a 2R10 Avanti The 2R10 is a 1/2 ton Studebaker Truck .

  2. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Looks nice. Prefer the house behind it more.

  3. wuzjeepnowsaab

    The ground effects and the wheels lost me. And I love Avantis

  4. DRV

    It wouldn’t be too bad without the Corvette wheels and with real chrome bumpers. I think the ground effects are to help the height from the “federal “ground not look so bad?

  5. Buick Fan

    Don’t like the 305? I believe a 350 would drop right in…

    • phil

      or a 500 hp 383 stroker


    I always liked the styling no matter who made it.

  7. Doug

    Any of the first generation Chevy small blocks will fit – except perhaps the early 265-283 blocks might need special mounts. A new in the crate 383 from Edelbrock or GM Performance would make this puppy haul !

  8. Bob

    I think R10 meant paxton blower? using the old stude numbers, my first car was a 1957 silver hawk, my uncle had a golden hawk w the blower, very cool cars!

  10. Neal

    What a strange beast!

    I always found these intriguing, but then always lacking. Although I must say I’ve never driven one.

    Were they able to stay cool enough in operation with only a tiny slit in front for air intake?

    • Ron Wheeler

      No over heating problems. Own a 1963, 1982, 1985, 1990. Waiting for an insurance company to give me a group rate.
      The one that no insurance company can put a value on it is the 1990.
      It is the concept car owned by J.J. Have all the papers on it from his daughter and attorney. A few friends and J.J. were arrested in it. ( car was bugged) Just look up what was put in the news in a search. The 305 in it is a TBI and does move pretty good. Also it is made from a mixture of Kevlar and fiberglass. Have more information if you want to email me. Not a sales place, only have for personal pleasure.(Can send a photo attachment to you)

      • Bob

        I’d like to see what the others look like.

    • Bob

      <Were they able to stay cool enough in operation with only a tiny slit in front for air intake?

      I'm sure they stayed cool enough. They had a tiny slit like many modern cars. They were ahead of their time. I assume they picked up air from underneath.

  11. Bob

    The Studebaker version had a slight rake.

    The post Studebaker versions had to raise the front, I think to clear the Chevy engine. But in doing so the rake was lost.

    I’d want a stick Studebaker version. But I still love them.

  12. P l Windish

    As an owner of a ’89 Avanti convertible resto-mod and a ’76 coupe, I’ve never heard of of a 2R10 designation for an Avanti. Jim M is correct that the 2R10 designation is for a Studebaker pickup that started production in 1949 and went to the early mid 50’s.
    My 89 convertible has a 383 SBC “stroker” in it and it does “haul” past everything except gas stations! It’s a uniquely beautiful car garners a lot of attention on the road.

    • Jim Marston

      😎👍🏻🚗💨💨💨💨. Happy New Year 🎊

  13. Jubjub

    I remember the article in Collectible Automobile magazine when Blake took over. Those Avantis looked great with black mesh wheels and blacked out trim. However, they usually looked terrible with ground effects and some GM parts bin wire wheel covers. Was always amazed at how tastelessly such a great design could be adorned.

  14. Ron Robinson Member

    I grew up in Youngstown. Always love Studes. Got license in ’53 Starlight Coupe in ’56. Then dad bought a ’57 McCullough Golden Hawk. Talk about a high school and college date car!! Tickled when Cafaro ‘saved Avanti and brought to the old Tuscon Steel plant in Ytown. Cafaro spent time and $$ on developing that 4 dr. I only saw one, light metallic gold, it looked awful. Thx for photo of black one, looks a tad better.

    • Ron W. Wheeler

      Yes, the Black one is different than any other produced because it is his first concept car. Sure wish he had put a 350 in it like the 1985 I have with a early vett 327 that put out 300 hp. Plus it has a Corvair turbo milled into the intake below a large carb. Lots of work went into it for the former owner. Why they stuck to 305 cu. is beyond me. I wont change the engine in the 1990 , will destroy it’s value, but I can cam it, etc.

  15. Ron Robinson Member

    Corvair turbo in intake below carb?
    Correction, in Youngstown, Cafaro build was the old Truscon plant.
    With such thin sales over the years on Avanti II’s, was disappointed Cafaro (in construction biz like DeBartolo) spent time and $$ on that 4 dr. Money spent in wrong place!
    I wrote Nate Altman when he bought the Avanti inventories, ‘Congrats to him for saving Avanti’. Living in Cleveland, he offered me the Ohio dealership. All I had to do was buy an early Avanti II, take it to prospects in Ohio to test drive. Really wanted to, but, I was late 20s, newly married, had new Cougar and Italia Spyder, new home, no coin left ☹️. My dad had opportunity to buy an Avanti R3, white, from Ohio dealer friend, he bought new ’63 Riv instead. Ian Flemming had the only black ’63 Avanti from factory, pretty sure.

  16. Ron Wheeler

    Yes, I have a Avanti 2 with a 300 hp. Vette engine in it with a Corvair Spyder turbo milled into the intake manifold below a large 4 bbl carb. It took some thinking to do it. I bought it this way.
    Who ever did it had to also mill the top of the passenger side valve cover that is made out of alum. It all fits and looks very professional and no room to change the spark plugs on one side. I took a cutter and cut 4 holes in the inner fender and they allow me to get the plugs out. The trans is a T-10 and has a bullet proof bell housing. Drive train to match what this car will do, but I have only driven it 20 miles. Bought it from a guy in California who had 2 for sale 6 years ago. He had body work done on it to have/make the door seams a perfect fit. Only thing he did wrong was spray the dash black before cleaning it? Trying to remove the enamel with laq. thinner very slowly. What else to use, I do not know? Any idea?
    Thanks for the contact.
    matched to the body.
    Finally I have had contact from a person who knows abot Avantis.

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