Supercharged 4-Speed: 1963 Studebaker Avanti R2

Another day, another supercharged Studebaker Avanti. It does seem like we are seeing Avantis pop up almost daily, an impressive trend for a car that remains quite obscure by collector car standards. The first generation Studebaker-built Avantis are the ones to buy, but especially so if it has a four-speed manual and a supercharger. That’s how this R2 model is equipped, and the seller notes that it remained in the care of one owner since 1985 before he acquired it and subsequently offered it up for sale here on eBay where bidding is $11,800 and the reserve is unmet. Would you buy an early edition or one of the later Avanti II models like we’ve featured recently?

The R2 was an impressive specimen, offering healthy performance in a decidedly svelte package. Most muscle cars of the era were brutes, but not the Avanti: It offered the best of both worlds, with gorgeous styling and a Paxton supercharger to help push total output to 280 b.h.p. I finally went on YouTube to hear what these things sound like at idle, and they are absolutely just as menacing as any other performance car of the era. It’s not surprising to see the body on this example look like it’s been absolutely roasted by the sun given the location, and the seller notes that there is surface cracking in the paint and gel coat. Glass and chrome trim are both said to be in very good condition, but the seller notes the hood and trunk cables are inoperative.

The 289 V8 and Paxton supercharger combination made the Avanti a formidable performer back in the day. It always struck me as being the gentleman’s Corvette, as it came with the right stuff under the hood, but obviously wasn’t trying to be a knock-down-drag-out stoplight drag racer. That said, its performance was still highly competitive right out of the box, and you shouldn’t hesitate to bring the Avanti to a drag strip once the engine is dialed back in. The seller notes that the engine runs and the supercharger works, but that the Studebaker will still need to be trailered to its new home. No word on whether it has any specific running issues other than not being used in a while, or if the brakes aren’t functioning or the gearbox/clutch is frozen.

Total production for the R2 paired to a manual transmission is small, with under 1,000 cars built this way. It’s clear from photos that the interior will need some help, but the dashboard is the most obvious sign of it: it looks like it has completely melted in on itself. You can’t see it here, but the top section of the dash has collapsed in such a way that it looks like the instrument binnacle is the only thing holding it up. Dash needs aside (the bucket seats and door panels are serviceable as-is), the R2 was the Avanti model designed with enthusiast needs in mind, and this being one of the handful of examples fitted with a manual transmission, is the ultimate expression of the Studebaker-built cars. The big question is whether it will clear the reserve by Friday, but given the pace with which Avantis keep coming out of the woodwork, I wouldn’t be surprised to see another car go up for sale by then.

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  1. Rick

    Gone already

  2. Steve

    Did Studebaker build their own 289s or are they Ford 289s? Not all that well versed about Studebakers, as you can tell by my question!

  3. charlie Member

    Their own engines. Beginning in 1951.

  4. lc

    It’s in Peyton, CO. Wow. That is close to me. Now that I think about it, I believe I saw this car at a local free car show last year that runs the first Saturday every month 8am-10am from May through October here in Colorado Springs. I didn’t bother to go look at it close up, but saw it or one that looks like it.
    I personally like the old, original Avanti rather than the new ones that were produced later on. They seem original and vintage to me where the ones made, especially later on, like the 80s seem to appear generic looking to me.

  5. lc

    Ikes! The reserve was not meet at $11,800. Sorry. Now that I looked at the pictures to view the condition of it, I don’t think its worth whatever the reserve is. The one I saw at the car show looked better than this one from afar, but I didn’t go up to it to view it. I saw it from around 50 meters or more.

  6. dr fine

    When these were new, we teenagers were under the impression that the R2 had unlimited top speed. Supposedly, no one had ever dared to come close to wide open on an open road. :)

  7. schmuck281 Member

    When I was in Jr High (1963) my Mom dated the guy who was the local Studebaker dealer. He came around driving one of these and took my brother and I for a ride. We were very skeptical (Studebaker, for us, meant those torpedo nosed ugly cars that no one wanted to be riding in.) He took us to a road in the country that every one used for drag racing and changed our minds. He was killed later that year by a wrong way driver on I5.

    • WayneC Member

      I was lucky enough to buy a round headlight 64 in 1968 when i was still 17. Supercharged, 4-speed. Everything for a teenager to stand in front of the traffic court Judge and try and explain why a toung teenager needed to drive at 130 mph on thr interstate. I thought they wete beautiful. Powerful cars that loved to go chasing down Corvettes. A stupid mistake (marriage) and the car was sold. I know where it is and still hoping to win the lottery to get it back.
      My question is what is the round thing on the side of the center console. Nothing was said about A/C which was not available from the factory if supercharged.

      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        Radio speaker Wayne?

      • dr fine

        I blew it up the best I could and it has a rectangular silver thing in the middle that looks the swing out ashtrays in the rear side panels of my Corvair. It has a long script at the top, but it doesn’t say Studebaker.

  8. George Mattar

    A beautiful car that was rushed into production to save a great company. It was already too late. South Bend shut down in 1966, with all production going to Canada. I had the pleasure of driving a 64 Avanti with supercharger and 4 speed in about 2006. Loved it. Did not make reserve. Cannot believe it. People will pay 5 times this for a rusted out JUNK Camaro.

    • Vince H

      South Bend shut down December 1963

  9. Richard Rackow

    Studebaker 289 was totally different than FoMoCo 289, nothing in common other than displacement. NOT the same engine

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