Supercharged Project: 1963 Studebaker Avanti R2

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This 1963 Studebaker Avanti R2 is a case of appearing far worse than it actually is, as despite its roughshod looks and evidence of vandalism, the car is actually quite solid underneath and comes with numerous spare parts needed for an effective restoration. The R2 is the supercharged model built by Studebaker, which is perhaps the most desirable of the Avanti lineup. This one did sit for a number of years, but fortunately, it was stuck in New Mexico, where it was sold new, and the desert climate has protected it from the typical rust issues that plague these luxurious muscle cars. Find the Avanti here on eBay with a suggested opening bid of $6,000 and no action yet.

Thanks to Barn Finds reader Russ D. for the find. The worst of the Avanti is clearly the interior. My Lord, someone was cruel to that dashboard and instrument binnacle. If I had to guess, a boulder was heaved through the windshield, and if the car had been standing in the blistering sun for years, it wouldn’t take much for the material to flatten like it did. Fortunately, the seller is including an original “fawn” dash pad with some moderate cracking visible in the sale. Of course, the rest of the interior will need attention as well, primarily the seats that have given up the ghost. Perhaps the console and door panels can be brought back to life. The original four-speed is removed but included.

The glass is all shattered – thanks, vandals – but again, the seller saves the day and confirms a complete set of OE glass is included in the sale. This is the kind of buyer you want to pick up a project from – they’re like me, in the sense that even before they decide whether they want to go all the way with the restoration, they snatch up every possible spare part needed. I do this left and right, and then when I decide not to pursue a particular project, I have to turn around and sell it. Fortunately, for a car like this, it’s hard to go wrong as there will always be another Avanti enthusiast hungry for original equipment parts.

The engine bay may be bear, but the seller confirms the numbers matching short block is included with the sale. The cylinder head, valvetrain, and exhaust manifolds are not. Fortunately, the complete blower set up with blow thru carb, R2 fuel pump, carb hat, supercharger, water manifold, and other related parts are included, but those components are not original to the car. Still, a lot of the hard work as it relates to parts hunting is done, and given the typically-troublesome frame and hog troughs are solid and rust-free, the next owner is in good shape to bring this desirable Avanti across the finish line. Would you take it on with a starting bid of $6K?

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    At this stage in my life I’m done with projects. I will only buy running driving vehicles. This thing is completely trashed. How does one let a vehicle get to this sad state?

    Like 5
    • Treebeardzz

      Kinda says it in the article(try reading it)……vandalism.

      Like 0
  2. Steve Clinton

    Send it to the crusher…oh wait, it’s fiberglass. Never mind.

    Like 0
    • Treebeardzz

      It looks better than your hoopty full of your cousin’s “Billy Beer” cans.

      Like 0
  3. Poppy

    In his book “Studebaker: Complete History” Patrick Foster does an excellent job of explaining the various mergers of the independent automakers in the ’50s, including answering your very question. It’s a great book for anyone interested in the history of this storied company.

    Like 8
  4. Vince H

    This Car is a 64. 4838 is the start of 64 VINs

    Like 2
  5. lschuc

    The owner’s starting price on eBay is probably the amount he has in the car after buying all new glass and other items. Probably worth the cost if bought at anywhere near this starting price.

    Like 5
  6. Vince H

    This could be the most expensive Avanti you can buy. Needs way too much.

    Like 4
    • lschuc

      Someone once said, “there’s nothing more expensive than a cheap Avanti.”

      Like 1
      • Treebeardzz

        Someone once said that those who say, that belong in a Yugo(except a Yugo deserves better than that).

        Like 0
  7. Paul Brown

    This is really sad, and the restoration costs and time involved would be astronomical. Only for the well-funded and totally dedicated.

    @Chester George Mason of Nash wanted to merge Nash, Hudson, Packard and Studebaker into his proposed American Motors. He saw a full-market-spectrum producer and viewed Studebaker as a good fit partly because of its line of trucks. Mason died suddenly with only the 1954 merger with Hudson in place. His successor George Romney had other ideas. Romney and Packard CEO James Nance didn’t get along at all, their early cooperation deal over engines and transmissions fell apart. AMC went its own way, and Packard started committing suicide by buying Studebaker without properly assessing Studebaker’s finances.

    Like 3
    • Poppy

      Great explanation Paul. I read Foster’s book recently, but couldn’t recall the specifics, other than the Romney and Nance feud.

      Like 0
  8. C Boxell

    Without the cylinder heads the short block is worthless. Good luck trying to find a set of cylinder heads.

    Like 1
    • Sal DePaola

      The heads are not that difficult to find. They are low compression heads also used on Stude trucks.

      Like 1
  9. PairsNPaint

    What it needs is a loving owner that can spend a lot of elbow grease. Mostly all the parts are there, there is little to no rust, and the body, with the exception of the driver’s front fender (and he has a patch panel to ‘glass in) looks nice and straight. If it were on the east coast and I was looking for another project I’d be all over this one.

    What I wonder is: What kind of animal breaks EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF GLASS including the gauge faces on what is obviously a classic car? Perp should be castrated.

    Like 5
  10. Merlin Klotz

    I have heads and valve train… just short on ambition.

    Like 1
  11. Phlathead Phil

    Avanti: The Italian adverb that means “Forward,” “Come-in.”

    Yes, Come in in here and PAY Forward!

    Synopsis; Enter CHEAP, Exit BROKE!!!

    Like 0

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