President’s Ride: 1990 Avanti Sedan

The Avanti story is one that can take all afternoon to tell, but the summarized version is this: the company went through various fits and starts, languishing under multiple owners as it coasted to eventual retirement. The classic Avanti design originally sold as a Studebaker continued to live on, even in four-door form like this project-grade here on eBay. The seller says it belonged to one of Avanti’s former company presidents and needs finishing. 

The seller reached a point with this project which is easy for any car guy to emphasize with: car is stripped for bodywork and paint; goes to paint shop and comes back below expectations; paint shop fails to make it right and owner loses passion for the project. We totally get it, but the good news is the body is super straight, according to the seller. Seeing the Avanti body in sedan form makes you look twice, but it definitely has an executive presence.

The seller claims this late-production sedan belonged to a former company president. Interestingly, he found paperwork indicating the former CEO bought the car for $15,000 – a far-cry from the then $50K list price in early 90s dollars. Despite looking like every part of a project, the seller claims it stops, runs and drives just fine, making cross-country transport much more feasible than originally expected when looking at the photos. Many mechanical tasks have been completed, including a transmission and upper engine rebuild.

As you can see by the photos, the seller is a bit of an Avanti enthusiast. He is honest that some systems have failed in the time the car has been idle, including the climate control and stereo. Most all major parts are included, but the seller acknowledges you may have to hunt for a stray bolt or two. The opening bid is $10K and there’s a reserve, so this project won’t go cheaply (if it goes at all). Late production Avantis don’t pop up too often, especially in sedan form, and better to buy from an enthusiast than a hobbyist who’s in over his head.

Fast Finds


  1. Alan Brase

    Wow, that looks to be a nice car. Probably does not perform like a brand new car, but it will be the only one in town!

  2. Vince H

    These are a hard sell when they are in good condition. I don’t see it selling at that price and condition.

  3. 68 custom

    no way, the only Stude I will ever own will have two doors and a Stude V8!

  4. matt

    these had Monte Carlo chassis, I seen the factory here in Youngstown OH, and they would buy new Monte Carlo cars, and then later we see Monte Carlo bodies on flat beds leaving the plant.

    • glen

      Couldn’t they just buy the chassis?

  5. Don S.

    Raymond Loewy is turning over in his grave.

  6. Cris Carver

    This is a small knock, but man, those square headlights have always just bugged me. Says the 1980’s worse the a Huey Lewis cover band playing a Back to the Future movie night at a boarded up Bennigan’s!

  7. gaspumpchas.

    no 4 way to make it look cool. with a 2 dr you could make it anything you want. 10k?? One thing I have noticed, BF and everywhere else–everybody thinks they have gold….

  8. Richard Holmes

    The “argh” you heard was Raymond turning over in his grave.


    Being a four door isn’t the worst thing in the world. I give the then owner of the Avanti company props for trying to breathe new life in a vehicle that otherwise has run its course. Face it. It has been in production way longer then it should have.

    Don’t get me wrong the Avanti is a timeless design but it’s time has come and gone. The 4 door appeals to the Studebaker or Avanti collector that already has everything else or someone that just wants different. With a retail price tag of over $50 thousand new and only around 91 made makes for a unique contemporary collectible one could enjoy now.

    There are two new old stock bodies of white listed on ebay from Ohio for very cheap. Don’t know how those could be missed. Where in the hell would you ever find one? I say good find and good luck to the seller.

    • Alan (Michigan)

      Looks like he is financing the two he already has in the garage….

  10. George

    it looks like its bent…

    • 86 Vette Convertible

      Agreed, looks like it’s leaning to me.

  11. SubGothius

    Nevermind the sedan, all of the post-’87 models had become travesties, when Cafaro acquired the marque and started building them on GM chassis (first Monte Carlo then Caprice) with what seem to be second-generation body molds (probably derived from casts taken off an original body) and GM-ified interiors having only a vague approximation of the originals’ gauge cluster.

    However, up to ’87, Avantis were still built on the original Studebaker Lark-derived chassis, formed from the original (albeit slightly modified to raise the front) body molds, with direct evolutions of the original interior. While I’m not keen on the ’83 facelift that introduced body-color plastic integrated bumpers and rectangular headlights, at least those were just cosmetic updates to what was fundamentally still an olde-skoole Avanti. This one ain’t one of those.

  12. PatrickM

    George, I agree.
    Either my eyes deceive me or the camera is warped or the car is twisted. first pics looks like the LR is dented. Someone in the body shop wasn’t watching where they were going. Good luck getting that kind of cash.

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Notify me of new comments via email. Or subscribe without commenting.