It was aimed at the personal luxury car market, it had a rather unique design, and it was lighter than the average premium coupe thanks to a fiberglass body. It also had enough oomph to throw around thanks to a 289-cubic-inch (4.7-liter) V8 rated at 240 horsepower in standard trim and it was the first American car available with disc brakes.
What's more, the supercharged version, which came with 289 horsepower on tap, became the fastest production car in the world thanks to a top speed that reached beyond 170 mph (274 kph). The blown Avanti also broke no fewer than 29 world speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats.
Unfortunately, several issues forced the Avanti out of production after only a couple of years. Discontinued in late 1963, after the closure of Studebaker's factory in South Bend, Indiana, the Avanti spawned fewer than 6,000 units, some of which remained on dealer lots until 1964. Studebaker went into the history books in 1967.
Come 2023 and the Avanti is not as celebrated as other classics from the era, but it enjoys a cult following among Studebaker and vintage sports car enthusiasts. And because many of them have been abandoned in junkyards, they're quite rare and are becoming increasingly more expensive on the classic car market. Especially the supercharged models.
While total Avanti production reached more than 5,500 examples, fewer than 1,900 were equipped with the Paxton blower. How many are still around? Well, that's a piece of info I don't have, but only a few hundred of them are still in one piece. The 1963 version you see here is one of those cars and it just got a second chance at life after some 20 years off the road.
Rescued by the folks over "Restored," this Avanti spent a couple of decades in a larger classic car collection. The previous owner was planning on getting it back on the road, but life got in the way and the Studebaker ended up under a carport. Fortunately enough though, having a roof over its head kept the Avanti in solid condition.
Yes, these cars don't rust because they're made from fiberglass, but the steel frame is exposed to rot like any other classic. This one got away with sitting for 20 years without getting any rust holes. And on top of being a nice survivor, it's also a white-over-red example, one of the coolest color combos from the era.
Not surprisingly, the supercharged V8 was not running when the car was rescued. And not just because it was missing a battery. The rodents that have been living under the hood for a few years chewed off some of the cables and damaged other components too. But fortunately enough, our hosts managed to fix everything and got the old V8 to fire up again.
The engine turned out to be extremely loud due to a missing exhaust, but it runs as it should, which is unexpected for a 60-year-old classic that has been sitting for two decades. Is it getting a proper restoration? Well, the shop wants to clean it up and make it road-worthy, which is the next best thing when it comes to vehicles like this. Especially when compared to sitting under the carport.