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Stored For 30 Years: 1983 Avanti II

These days, in the world of automotive, a halo car is one which is the pinnacle of the brand’s achievements, a car which customers lust over but was often out of reach for many. Studebaker had the same thoughts with the Avanti – to try and boost lacklustre sales at the time. However, their car was only sold until 1963 when the Studebaker factory closed down. So how do we have a 1983 Studebaker? Well, technically the car in today’s advert, available here on eBay with 5 days left is actually a continuation model based on leftover parts and is called the Avanti II. For those who are interested, the car is located in Taunton, Massachusetts with the current highest bid at $5,300.

I had no idea these cars existed until doing research about it. But it turns out that these cars were produced up until 2006, with very little changed to the design of the exterior. They used borrowed parts from GM mated to various chassis over the years – basically whatever was available at the time to the ex-Studebaker dealers who took over the company. Luckily, although the seller bought at auction and isn’t aware that this isn’t technically a Studebaker, they leave us with plenty of information about the car. It’s a relatively low mileage model – just 65,000 miles from new but has been laid up for over 30 years. It’s a little worrying that it only drove for about 10 years before being mothballed – it makes you wonder what horrors it may be hiding.

The car is said to be rust-free, and what is even more amazing, is that it runs and drives! Now although the exterior seems dirty, overall it’s in a remarkable condition. A quick wash reveals the brown exterior to be free of major scratches or rust and even the chromework isn’t bad but will need some reconditioning. The interior also fares well – and if you like brown cloth interiors then this one is for you! Realistically, this will need some reconditioning, but you could have this running on the road in a weekend, providing there are no horrors lurking underneath.

This is a great project for someone who has a lot of enthusiasm for these cars – given they are not particularly sought after or special in the traditional sense. So how much do you think this will eventually sell for? And is this a project which appeals to you, or is it best left to a true Avanti enthusiast?


  1. Pgh Bill

    All in at 7500.00. Otherwise to many what ifs. Unfortunately no room in garage for a third project. Wife needs her spot for the PA. winters. After it’s sorted out and refreshed it would be a cool ride.

    Like 2
  2. JustPassinThru

    Avantis of this generation are in fact just continuations of the final Studebaker design. As I’ve read, there were several thousand Lark frames left in inventory when South Bend was closed – and the frame was also used in the Avanti. Body panels were made by M-F-G Corporation, and the molds survived the closure and sale of the Avanti design and rights.

    The frames were also purchased, as well as the rights to manufacture the Champ pickup…presumably with a Gen1 Lark front-half cab. But the partners, Nate Altman and Leo Newman, apparently found that just recreating the Avanti stretched their operating budget.

    By the mid-1980s, the frames were running out, new crash-safety standards were being phased in, and Altman was dead. The family sold out in 1982, and an update was planned for 1985, using a Monte Carlo chassis.

    It was an admirable attempt; but in our world of expensive emissions and safety requirements, a shade-tree car company is just not possible.

    Like 8
  3. RMac

    Looks like a brown vinyl interior not cloth but it’s still a pretty cool car with easy to repair replace GM bulletproof 350 driveline

    Like 1
  4. ray bader

    As I said the other day, there’s nothing more expensive than a cheap Avanti. Parts are available but pricey. Reman kingpins for the front end $560 plus a $500 core charge as an example. I’m into my $8K 78 for 28+. Great car though. Real fun to drive and a real attention getter. Unique to say the least.

    Like 4
    • Phil Warner

      In my experience a cheep Jaguar may be just as expensive or more so, but they look good in the driveway.

      Like 1
  5. wizzy

    Vinyl interior, not cloth, paint is in bad shape. Tires are almost certainly shot. Curious about that major kink in the tail pipe. Plenty of surface rust on that frame, warrants a much closer look.

    Like 1
  6. scottymac

    “…the brown exterior to be free of major scratches or rust…” Next time, dig a little deeper in your research. The Avanti had a fiberglass body, so would likely exhibit little rust.

    Like 0
  7. Robert Starinsky

    Two South Bend dealers bought all the parts stock and naming rights from Studebaker. The Avanti II began (resumed) production in 1965 using mostly Studebaker parts. The frames were X member reinforced Lark/Daytona convertible frames. The engines and transmissions were from Chevy. At its peak, about 200-300 Avanti II examples a year were hand built in former Studebaker facilities by mostly former Studebaker workers. Many have said the Avanti II build quality was superior to the original Avanti. So buy the Avanti for show and buy the Avanti II to drive daily.

    Like 1
  8. Claudio

    I have always had an eye for the avanti but by choice , i only drive topless cars during the summer making these useless for me !
    The very rare later day convertibles are way up in price and i must add the currency conversion plus the import fees and taxes and 2 safety inspections , so it wont be in this lifetime !

    Like 0
  9. Kevin

    I’d detail the interior, paint Ferrari red, slap a 351 Cleveland in her . And lose the hideous wheels.

    Like 0

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