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Reader’s Ride: 1963 Studebaker Avanti R1

This 1963 Studebaker Avanti R1 has only seen 75,000 miles and is still very original. Reader Jim O, who bought the 1962 Corvette barn find we featured back in November, just purchased this Avanti and wanted to share his find with everyone. Jim’s new project runs and drives and at just $8,700, this American classic was a great deal.

We are sure Jim was excited to get his new car unloaded from the trailer. Jim says this was the fastest transaction he’s ever made. He won the car on eBay on July 21st, paid for it on the 23rd, and received it on the 26th. The whole deal took less then a week and he is already enjoying his new car.

Here is Jim’s Avanti after getting it unloaded. The car is still wearing its original paint and has amazing patina. The Avanti’s body is made of fiberglass, so rust isn’t an issue for this car. Studebaker only built 4,643 of these futuristic cars before the company closed its doors in ’63.

The interior is in great shape, but needs a cleaning, a new headliner, and possibly new carpets. The Avanti was very futuristic both inside and out. Many of the switches and controls were modeled after aircraft controls and gave the car a very unique and advanced style. It also had some very interesting features, such as the glove box mounted vanity box with pop up mirror.

This Avanti R1 is powered by Studebaker’s 289 cui V8, which produces 240 hp. It was advertised as running smoothly on eBay, but Jim admits it doesn’t run as well as the seller claimed. It sounds like he is good with a wrench, so he isn’t too worried about getting it running great. The Avanti was offered with several levels of performance, the R1 being the base model. The higher R2 and R3 made use of a Paxton Supercharger and made the fiberglass bodied car a speed demon.

Special thanks to Jim for sharing his find with us and we wish him luck with both his Avanti and his Corvette. It sounds like he is on his way to having a nice collection of Barn Finds in his garage.


  1. David

    WhaT an awesome find! I have a couple of friends that both restored Avantis back in the 70s. Wish I had found this one.

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  2. James Espey

    Well, the body can’t rust, for sure. But stress cracks in the fiberglass and rust in the “hog troughs” (door sill area of frame) are two weaknesses to look out for. For the money spent on this one, though, it’s hard to go wrong…

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  3. Tony

    Remember being scared of them when I was a kid (’70s). The R series were so cool!
    Google R2 Wagonaire for some cool Stude stuff!

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  4. scot c

    ~ great score, Jim O!! perfect counterpoint to the ’62 Corvette.

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  5. Richard

    I always loved these. I recall the color as being particularly nice. This one is quite faded, but still quite acceptable. I hope he keeps us updated on his progress with it.

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    • JimO Member

      Hi All – got her running much better!! the paint has come back to life very nicely, it’s still faded but I’m going to leave just as it is. The interior has cleaned up exceptionally well. Must have owned by a smoker at one point but with alot of elbow grease it has cleaned up nicely. The 40 year old tires have been replaced with new old style tires. It’s amazing the looks I get driving it around town and at a couple of local cars shows!! More to follow. JimO

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      • Barn Finds

        Thanks for updating us on your progress JimO.

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  6. J. Pickett

    I am green with envy.

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  7. Dolphin Member

    I remember when these first appeared in 1962 they looked so ‘futuristic’ (the term back then) and impressive. The name came from the Italian word for ‘forward’ I think it was. The president of our local car club had a ride in one and was the envy of us all. But not even the Avanti could save Studebaker, unfortunately.

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