Hooniverse Fastback Friday – Avanti, Avanti, Avanti, Avanti!

Welcome to another edition of Hooniverse Fastback Fridays. Studebaker was already on the ropes by 1960, and in one desperate attempt to be relevant again, turned to Raymond Lowey to design and produce a world class GT car. Many stories have been written about how he took a group of designers and engineers to Palm Springs and turned out a design proposal in record time. The proposal was for the Avanti, and the car itself outlived the company which spawned it.
Well, here are 4 different cars that carry the Avanti name, and each of them is hopeless in some way or another…..

Lets start out with this Avanti. This is an 82 Avanti II, and is more like the original Studebaker model than some of the others here. The ad states that it is equipped with a 383 CID V-8, Automatic Transmission, and all the luxury and convenience features one would expect from a grand touring car. It is unfortunate on the choice of wheels, but that can be easily rectified.

One thing that can’t be is the price, as the dealer is asking for $35,995. It has only around 18,000 miles, but is it really worth that much money? See the listing here.

The original Avanti was offered as a 2-Door Coupe only, but in the late 80’s and early 90’s, the New Avanti was offered in a Convertible Coupe, and a 4-Door Sedan (of all things). And here is a 1990 Sedan, which the seller states that it is #33 or a total of 90 sedans that were built that year. The lines didn’t translate well from Coupe to Sedan, and the interior is your typical Neo-Classic/Conversion Van crappy luxury. This thing is powered by the very anemic 305 CID Chevy V-8 that has been rebuilt. The rims are your craptastic Ultra three spoke aftermarket units, and the seller is upfront about the body needing work.

As of this writing, the bidding is north of $5,000, with an unmet reserve. It’s anyones guess as to how much this thing will command, so I leave it to you…. How much do you think the seller is holding out for? See the listing here.

Here is a 1979 Avanti Coupe that has been extensively modified by the current owner. The delicate front and rear bumpers are gone, and in their place is a customized body kit with ground-effects skirts, wheel spats, and a front chin spoiler. The elliptical wheel arches are also history, and the rims are hideous. The interior needs some work, but is all there.

The seller seems pretty proud of the body work, but what do you think. Would the work he put into it be better spent on a simple restoration rather than customization? This is one of only 142 Avantis produced that year. As of this writing, the bidding is at $8,200, with a reserve that hasn’t been met. How much higher should it go before this car is sold is a discussion I leave to you. See the listing here.

Our last Avanti is an actual Studebaker. It is a 1963 Avanti, with the Studebaker 289 CID V-8, needing a whole lotta work. This car has a salvage title, was last used in 1984, and did I mention that it needs a whole lotta work? The seller states that the car is “All There” but missing a windshield. It looks to be missing the compound curved rear window, and some of the other glass as well.

Currently, this car has a bid of $1,525, and there is no reserve, but once again I have to say this: It needs a whole lotta work! See the listing here.
Are any of these Avantis worth owning, or is the thought of owning an Avanti a nauseating experience unto itself? Let me know what you think.

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  1. Ryans92L Avatar

    There are a few Avanti local to me right now
    1963 Studebaker Avanti – $7500 http://harrisburg.craigslist.org/cto/2193719159.h
    and another '63 for $7800 http://frederick.craigslist.org/cto/2190835674.ht
    Here is an '81 Avanti II for $9900 http://scranton.craigslist.org/ctd/2195217122.htm
    '66 in rough shape for $6350 http://delaware.craigslist.org/cto/2187224297.htm
    there are more just gotta find them…

  2. Foolish Avatar

    I actually like the be-kitted one. It appears well done, and the look is quite good. The profile especially looks much more muscle-car and much less rolling oddity than the standard body.

  3. tonyola Avatar

    The best Avanti IIs are the pre-malaise Altman cars of 1965 to 1972 plus the ones built under the Blake regime during the mid-'80s. The malaise Avantis suffered from patchwork and decreasing quality, and the sedans and extended coupes of the late '80s and beyond are horrible.
    1982 coupe – Points off for automatic and wheels, plus it's been modded. Much too expensive.
    1990 Sedan – $5,000 is pretty cheap for one of these sedans, but it's still gack-worthy. Might be collectible some day, but I wouldn't touch it even at that price. Avanti was dying by this point.
    1979 coupe – Tasteless restyle. A restoration would have been better.
    1963 coupe – Good only as a parts car.

  4. P161911 Avatar

    You left out the F-body based Avanti:
    <img src="http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2007/02/avanti_vert.jpg"width=500&gt;
    I couldn't find any for sale, but they did build at least a handful.

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      Why did you have to bring that here? Why?
      You are dead to me now.

      1. tonyola Avatar

        For better or worse (mostly worse), it's history. To be sure, the F-body Avanti was a turkey that did no favors to a great name, but then so was this.
        <img src="http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_images/3/2823/223/32055111213_large.jpg&quot; width=400>

        1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
          Peter Tanshanomi

          Always looked like a dopey-eyed catfish to me.

        2. mdharrell Avatar

          The Packarded-up Hawk is unfortunate but I still prefer it to the "Packard" version of the Studebaker President.
          <img src="http://www.badgoat.net/CRH_homepage/Penquis/Penquis_03_05.jpg&quot; width="400">

      2. P161911 Avatar

        Is it really that much worse than the 4-door?

        1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
          Peter Tanshanomi

          Good point. My optical scarring is just as much Jim's fault.

    2. tonyola Avatar

      This faux-Avant was later built on a Mustang platform. The company seems to have been around as late as 2006 and still has a webpage.

    3. dmilligan Avatar

      Damn, that's ugly. I'd never heard of F-body Avantis and I won't thank you for bringing it to my attention. For some reason it makes me think of Bulgaria.

    4. Rockford_Brodie Avatar

      Gah! It looks like someone attempted to carve a car out of a bar of soap armed with only a plastic spoon and good intentions.

    5. Tom Avatar

      That's not an F body based Avanti but rather the one year only '05 based on the Fox body Mustang platform. The '06's switched to the DEW chassis of the current Mustang. The one pictured is far narrower than the F body based cars or the DEW's and much closer to the original Avanti dimensions.

  5. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    The original Studebaker Avanti is still so right.
    And every attempted body modification made to it afterwards was just so wrong.
    <img src="http://www.tanshanomi.com/temp/avanti_cropped.jpg&quot; width="500">

  6. $kaycog Avatar

    Avanti is Italian for forward. This Avanti concept looks more like backward to me. It looks like a Coke bottle on wheels.
    <img src="http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/studebaker-avanti-2.jpg"width="500"/&gt;

  7. muthalovin Avatar

    The coupes are by far the most desirable. The first one I really dig, but not above 10K love. The last one is the one that I would take. Sure, it would be a hell of a project, but the price is just about right for something damned unique.

  8. Alff Avatar

    Or you could buy an original in usable condition. Perusing Hemmings this morning, this one caught my eye…
    <img src="http://assets.hemmings.com/uimage/6674056-640-0.jpg"width=500&gt;
    Realistically priced just south of $15K. Of course, you'd have to do something about the wheels but that seems to be common to most Avantis.

    1. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

      Ehh, those are (inexplicably) hubcaps. I'd take 'em off and might just paint the steelies, leave the whitewalls. The '63, with its round headlights, has always been the most appealing to me.

  9. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    You know, feel free to pelt me with stones and rotten lychees, but I just can't hate the sedan.
    <img src="http://www.studebaker-info.org/Avanti/AV123/Sedan-F.jpg"&gt;
    I see bits of Saab in the profile, and it's just "what the hell is that?" enough to interest me.
    It's not right, but it's OK.

    1. dmilligan Avatar

      Fling, pelt pelt.

    2. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

      Those wheels help a great deal, I'd say. It's all in the colour and the context.

    3. Rockford_Brodie Avatar

      I dig the sedan's looks as well.

    4. Smells_Homeless Avatar

      Nope. Having only become aware of them in the last few days, I want one.
      Does stretching it out ruin its proportions? Yep. Would it still make an outstanding car to take everybody to lunch in? You bet your life! Plus, they're small-block powered. There's nothing easier to make scary fast. Yes. Yes, I want one..

  10. cjoli Avatar

    i picked up an 81 last year as a summer driver and i love it, I am planning on doing a little work to this summer including changing the rims but its in really good shape to start with.

  11. CJinSD Avatar

    If the parts are really 'all there,' I say sell them off and race the 1963 Avanti in your local Le Mons. It look too far gone to bother restoring to original and modified Avantis are apparently repellent. Yuck.

    1. Paul_y Avatar

      That's what I came here to say. A LeMons Avanti would be an easy IOE winner, as long as nobody shows up, say, with a Citroen SM to the same race.
      I have never considered myself to be a purist about modifying any car, but the original Avanti design was so right that changing it just screws it up royally.

    2. Rockford_Brodie Avatar

      I'm with you.

  12. Tom Avatar

    The F body Avantis were designed by Tom Kellogg who had been on the original design team back in '62 and the yellow convertible pictured above as an example is not one of them. It is the one year only Fox body Mustang chassis version from '05. The F bodies were all pre-'05s and were actually built quite well and are proving durable. The cars after '05 are based on the DEW Mustang chassis that came next. The '05 (to my eye) looked a bit more like the original as the width was far closer (narrower) to the '63 than the wider F bodies and DEW cars. The interior of the '05 was also much closer to the original as well (dash area).
    Yes, I own an '82 so I am biased! 🙂