No Reserve: 1978 Studebaker Avanti II

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We rarely get to see stories of an owner actually acknowledging that they won’t get around to a project, and sell it while there’s still time to preserve it. That seems to be the case with this 1978 Studebaker Avanti II, which has 66,000 miles and some nice options but does have rust in the chassis. On that note, maybe it is too late for this Avanti, so you’ll have to be the judge. Find it here on eBay with bidding around $1K and no reserve.

I love the earlier Avantis, even though this is far from a first-year car. They had a tendency to get heavier and less svelte over time as different ownership groups took over, but this generation remains a fitting homage to the original. The car appears quite complete, with original hubcaps still attached and stock bumpers with overriders.

The interior is straight out of the 70s, and I can’t imagine that shag carpeting was installed by the factory (but I could be wrong!) Either way, it looks like a grassy field inside now, so that should be ripped out in favor of traditional carpeting. Seats look decent as do the door panels. The sellers notes the headliner is sagging.

Engine-wise, the seller notes “…The original Chevrolet Corvette 350 engine features a 4-barrel Quadrajet carburetor, HEI ignition and factory AC. The Turbo-hydramatic 350 three-speed transmission ran and drove fine 15 years ago.” So, you are buying a neglected project, from the non-running motor to the rust in the chassis – and it makes me wonder if it’s too late for this Avanti.

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  1. Bakyrdhero

    Those look like the hubcaps from my mothers old smurf blue 77 Duster.

    Like 0
    • WayneCMember

      The frame looks scarier than it probably is. The frame is basically a U-channel with flat plates welded on the bottom to close it in andfor additional reinforcement. They werent welded solidly, but every few inches, which allows easier removal.Those plates were available not long ago, but aren’t difficult to make. What is worse, however, are the hog troughs, reinforcement from body to frame. Expensive to replace and time consuming. If one felt that the frame needed to be replaced, a 109″ 2 door Lark frame could be used, but the convertible has the X-member that the Avanti has. The Avanti frame is basically the Lark convertible, with the rear rails shortened.
      As far as the ugly bumpers, that was Federal mandated but can be removed. Not many cars in my opinion had the mandated bumpers that looked good.
      All Avanti’s built from 1965 until I believe the early 80’s, were all called Avanti ll.

      Like 3
      • Old Car Guy

        Studebaker frames are not hard to find. Over on the big Studebaker forum a couple of years ago a guy in LA was begging people to come get his free frames and other parts also. I think they all went to the scrapper.

        Like 1
  2. grant

    Was fully intending to comment that the rest of the car was clean enough that the frame rust should be dealt with. Then I looked at the ad. Yikes. These are unique cars but I’m not very familiar with them. Does anyone make a reproduction frame?

    Like 2
  3. Bob C.

    Weren’t they just called Avanti after 1963?

    Like 2
    • Joel G Chamberlain

      65 and later were all Avanti II’s

      Like 1
  4. Mike

    Quite possibly THE worst 5 mph front bumper in the history of automobiles. Like its wearing braces.

    Like 5
    • leiniedude leiniedudeMember

      I agree Mike. Looks like it should be on a James Bond car for doing some kind of mayhem to the car you are tailing.

      Like 1
  5. Ken

    This is NOT a Studebaker.

    Like 3
  6. Midnightdriver2

    That’s right…Not a Studebaker (but still had a Studebaker frame in 1978)…Was hand-built in South Bend by the Avanti Motor Corp, using GM engine & tranny. And yes, they came from the factory with shag carpet!

    Like 6
  7. Solosolo UK ken tillyMember

    If I were fortunate enough to own this car the first thing to go would be the hideous front bumper extensions. One way to turn a beautiful piece of motor car into an ugly POS in one move.

    Like 2
  8. Boothguy

    In the Studebaker world the saying goes “there is nothing more expensive than a cheap Avanti”

    Like 1
  9. Bill McDonough

    Engine ONLY value IMO.
    I’d like the power plant for one of my projects – as for the rest – JUNK!!

    Like 0
  10. plwindish

    Yes, Shag carpeting was put in the Avanti II’s. I found a piece about an inch square high up on the cabine side of the firewall in my ’76 Avanti II. Other than the carpet, the interior looks to be in good shape, the rest of the car, not so much. As Boothguy said, nothing is more expensive than a cheap Avanti. That being said, they are georgeous when cleaned up and cared for.

    Like 1
  11. carnutbill

    Could you put it on a Chev S-10 frame with a V-6?

    Like 0
  12. Bill Wilkman

    The square headlight openings ruined Raymond Lowey’s genius design.

    Like 0
    • Solosolo UK ken tillyMember

      I love them.

      Like 0
  13. Little_Cars SaulMember

    The front over-riders look like something from a industrial handtruck. Steering wheel looks like off-the-shelf AMC. Too bad about the undercarriage. Not much “carrying” left with its rusted out framework.

    Like 0

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