Parked For 48 Years! 1964 Studebaker Avanti

It is a fact that the RMS Titanic sank because by the time the iceberg was spotted, the evasive maneuvers attempted by the crew were too little, too late. The same is true of Studebaker as a manufacturer. The company wasn’t facing a wall of ice, but it was facing a wall of financial trouble. The Avanti was introduced as a halo car to draw in buyers, but just like the “hard a-port” order on the Titanic, it was too little and way too late. This 1964 Avanti had been sitting in storage for 48-years before the seller dragged it out into the light of day. It is now being sold to settle an estate. Located in Glen Rock, Pennsylvania, you will find the Studebaker listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has reached $15,400 in what is a No Reserve auction.

The owner is listing the Avati as a 1964 model, but tracing the car’s Serial Number indicates that it was actually built in May of 1963. This variation is not unusual because the Avanti wasn’t selling up a storm at the time, so there were sometimes significant delays between the production and sale of each car.  This Studebaker is finished in a shade called Avanti Turquoise, which was one of five colors available in the Avanti palette of 1963. The seller believes that the paint is original, with no concrete evidence of any prior repaint work. It now shows its age, but it is still presentable if the buyer wants to keep the car as an original survivor. I’m not sure that the stripe is original, but I wouldn’t rule it out. Studebaker was in dire financial straits by the time this car was delivered, and they would do almost anything to personalize a car if it led to a sale. With panels of fiberglass, external rust is never going to be an issue. However, potential buyers would need to check areas like the hog troughs to ensure that this classic has no structural rust issues. Replacement troughs are available and relatively affordable, but it is something that most buyers will want to avoid. The external chrome is in excellent order, and I think that the original 15″ alloy wheels would respond positively to some hard work with a high-quality polish. The original owner ordered the car with tinted side glass and a band-tinted windshield. This cost him a staggering $28.50 for the lot, which has to rate as the bargain of the decade. All of this original glass is present, and it appears to be in excellent condition.

When you open the door to take a look inside the Avanti, what you are confronted with is an interior that is in startlingly good condition. The odometer shows a reading of 37,000 miles, and given how long the car was in storage, there is every chance that those miles are genuine. The seller states that the interior trim and carpet are original, and they would be consistent with a car with such a low odometer reading. The upholstered surfaces are finished in a combination of Turquoise and Fawn vinyl, and it is hard to find anything to criticize. There is no evidence of wear and no signs of problems like splits, seam separation, or collapsing seat foam. Studebaker equipped the Avanti with interesting carpet because while its base color was designed to complement the interior trim, it always featured Black thread interwoven with the base color. That is the case with this car, and while the carpet has no appreciable wear, it is dirty. However, I feel that a professional may be able to restore it to its original splendor. The dash and console appear to be flawless, while there is no wear on the wheel. The original owner didn’t splash the cash on air conditioning, but they did choose a Motorola AM/FM radio and rear speaker.

Powering the Avanti is a 289ci V8 engine that should be producing 240hp. The original owner ordered the car with a 3-speed automatic transmission, a Twin Traction rear end, and power steering. While Studebaker had one eye on luxury with the Avanti, the other was firmly focused on vehicle performance. While many people remember the Avanti’s performance when fitted with the supercharged R2 engine option, the normally-aspirated cars were no slugs. This car should be capable of covering the ¼-mile in 16.1 seconds, and if given enough room, it should run out of breath at 135mph. Those figures might not seem that starling now, but they made you “king of the kids” in 1964. After sitting for nearly five decades, the seller had to perform a few tasks to return the Avanti to a running state. The fuel tank has been drained and flushed, and the carburetor was rebuilt. After a bit of further tinkering, this Studebaker now runs and drives. The seller has driven the car around his neighborhood, but he does advise that the buyer should have the vehicle thoroughly inspected before tackling any extended journeys. He also says that while the tires have plenty of tread, they are nearly 50-years-old. They are showing some dry rot, and they need to be replaced ASAP.

Studebaker was a company that perished for many reasons. It would be easy to focus on its slow and painful demise, but I prefer to focus on the Avanti as a parting shot from the company. Manufacturers can choose to go out with a bang or with a pitiful whimper. I wouldn’t say that the company went out with all guns blazing, but the Avanti wasn’t a bad parting shot compared with the final models produced by other companies. Today, the Avanti has developed a cult following, and it is not unusual to see cars sell for more than $25,000. If a pristine example can be located, that number can soon jump beyond $40,000. This car isn’t pristine, but it shows a lot of promise. Returning it to a fully roadworthy state should not be difficult, and after 48-years in isolation, I’ll be happy to see it plying our roads once again.

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Pat

    Great opening sentence! Thanks

    Like 9
  2. Fred W

    This car looks untouched and would be a great driver or restoration candidate. The fact that the tires are 50 years old and “show some dry rot” is a testament to the quality of the rubber back then. Today’s tires are more akin to Asian bicycle tires which crack to pieces in a few years.

    Like 15
  3. Anthony M.

    What wonderful colors inside and out. That is gorgeous.

    Like 14
  4. Rbig18

    For 1963 this interior is so far advanced. I wonder how this did not catch on. Compared to the big 3 at this time this is the nicest interior. Now the rest is in the eye of the beholder.

    Like 16
    • Bob Roller

      The unconventional styling and the general opinion that Studebaker would soon be in the same coffin as Packard
      and an earlier quality car maker,Pierce-Arrow.I rode in an
      early Avanti that was touring the country and stopping at all
      their dealers that were not busy getting rid of that toxic franchise.
      Certainly it had enough power to move rapidly but few were in
      the market for such an unusual vehicle and I was one of those even though I had the money to buy one.

  5. Pit stop Pauly

    The stripe was an option, I had a model car with the exact stripe/location, blue stripe on a white Avanti.

    Like 5
  6. T

    Ahead of it’s time. Simple elegance.

    Like 11
    • Tas Graham

      How can I get this Avanti delivered to me in Australia, when I can’t get to bib on it,, it’s one of my favourite cars, and it looks like a beauty, I’m sitting here with my tongue out panting,

      Like 2
  7. Sam

    Lived in a apartment on top of a Studebaker dealer growing up. Use to love watching them unload the cars off the car carrier. Fell in love with the Avanti when I was 6 years old. Someday I’ll get one.

    Like 8
  8. Jason

    How interesting to see an FM-only radio in a car of this vintage. AM was by far the dominant band in North America well into the mid or late 70s.

    Like 2
    • Poppy

      That’s not the original radio to the car. It was probably added in the early ’70s when FM was gaining popularity. Factory AM/FM radios were optional starting in ’64 for Studebaker.

      Like 3
      • Vince H

        63 AM/FM was available in a Studebaker. The Avanti I had had one. #3990

        Like 3
      • Poppy

        Vince, not challenging your statement, just wondering how you know that? I’ve always heard that they weren’t offered until ’64. I believe my ’63 accessories brochure doesn’t show an AM/FM radio being available. I you are correct that’s good news as I have a factory AM/FM that I’ve been tempted to install in my ’63 GT, but I thought it wouldn’t be authentic.

      • Vince H

        Build order showed it.

      • Poppy

        Cool. Good to know. My car was built in October ’62, so doubtful it was an option at that time. My radio is actually an Avanti radio (red backlight). Other than changing the backlight bulb is it otherwise the same unit as in the GT Hawks and Larks?

  9. Gerard Frederick

    What´s there not to love?

    Like 3
    • Steve Clinton

      Those wheels! LOL

      Like 1
  10. Steve Clinton

    What does the original pink slip or registration say, 1963 or 1964? Now way should this be defined as a ’64.

  11. Vince H

    If this was first titled in PA as a new car in 64 it would have been titled as a 64. But this car is a 63 regardless of what the title says. This can really confuse people who don’t know the numbers.

    Like 4
  12. Eric B

    Bidding up to $23400. I figured this car to be around $25000. Now it may be more. Super clean car. A little polish and care and it could be one of the best examples around. Love, love love it!

    Like 3
  13. Plwindish

    Back in the day, a low production car like the Avanti not sold in 1963 was sold as a 1964 if sold in the 1964 calendar year. I bought such an example used in April 1966. It had the round headlights of ‘63 and a few of the running changes made since the Avanti’s introduction like the grille under the front bumper and rain gutters, but not all of the changes that transitional models had in early ‘64’s. The carpeting was unique in the Avantis. My car had the red and fawn interior with the red/black tuxedo carpeting.

    Like 1
  14. Phlathead Phil

    Yeah, same thing going on. Old guy dies, kids inherit the car, no want it. My crib is filling up with this stuff.

    Best thing about this car is the 289. I recall seeing a very few with the completion strip back in the day.

    That was long ago and far away in a galaxy called childhood.

    Like 1
    • Phlathead Phil

      Supposed to say “Competition,” not completion. Damn auto spell.

  15. Roger

    Interesting battery

  16. Maverick

    Those wheels are worth some coin

  17. 19sixty5 Member

    Adam, you stated “original 15″ alloy wheels” Are these factory or dealer installed wheels? I’ve not seen them before on an Avanti, but curious!

    • Vince H

      These do not look like they are the Halibrand wheels. The build order does not show them.

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