Avanti, freely translated from Italian, means forward!-which is just where Studebakers president, Sherwood Egbert, hopes to lead his company with an exciting new 63 automobile. From doodle-to-drawing-board-to-prototype in less than a year is quite an accomplishment for any automobile maker who is designing a production car, but Studebaker was able to push this program and still incorporate into the Avanti several major firsts for the industry.
Acceleration times for both 0-60 and the quarter mile are very good. Punching the throttle at 60 mph, it takes but 12 sec to hit 100 mph. Hardest thing to do with the Avanti is to keep the engine revs under 6000 rpm in any gear, as it just wants to keep going; and this was a redline imposed by Studebaker engineering, who still had some tests to finish on this car.
Plans call for limited production and a $4000-plus pricetag. Studebaker can produce as high as 1000 per month and is hoping demand will make this necessary. One thing is sure, this will focus more consumer attention on the entire Studebaker Hawk and Lark lines, which are also due for some 63 facelifts of major proportions.-Chuck Nerpel, Editor
Todays PerspectiveNineteen sixty-three was a magical year of great cars. Think about it: the original Corvette Sting-Ray, s all-new Riviera, and, of course, the Avanti. Its easy to understand Studebakers thinking: A halo car offering revolutionary styling, a jet-age interior, and supercharged V-8 performance was just what the company needed to put it back on the map. While magazine covers and good PR did indeed follow, it wasnt enough to carry the entire lineup. Studebaker was gone just four years later. The Avanti, however, lived on for decades in the hands of several different entrepreneurial owners as a private, one-model brand.
The supercharged Avanti R2 is the most highly sought version, especially with the rare four-speed manual transmission. But theres no reason not to appreciate the more common, naturally aspirated R1 model. Theyre amazingly driveable, modern-day classics, and wont set you back a fortune. Parts are scarce, but there are strong Studebaker clubs all over the country to offer that all-important source and tech support. And the Avantis styling will look good forever.