Resurrecting Power: Unveiling the Hidden Potential of the 1963 Studebaker Avanti

Prepare to be amazed as we uncover a captivating chapter in Studebaker’s automotive legacy with the 1963 supercharged edition of the Avanti. This remarkable project car, which has endured years of neglect, is currently up for grabs in Fairborn, Ohio. Despite its weathered appearance, the true potential of this Avanti lies beneath the surface. Now available on eBay with bidding starting at a mere $1,775 and an unmet reserve, this is an opportunity that performance enthusiasts won’t want to miss. Special thanks to the ever-reliable T.J. for bringing this gem to our attention!

Studebaker’s journey in the automobile industry is marked by intriguing “what ifs” and missed opportunities. What if the merger with Packard in the 1950s had never occurred? And what if the Avanti had achieved the desired sales numbers, potentially altering the course of U.S. manufacturing in the 1960s? Unfortunately, the ambitious goal of producing 20,000 Avanti units per year fell short, with less than 5,000 of these extraordinary vehicles seeing the light of day in a mere 18 months. This 1963 supercharged Avanti represents a rare gem from that era, patiently awaiting its resurrection.

Born out of Studebaker’s search for a new flagship model in the early 1960s, the Avanti quickly captured attention. The concept itself was sketched on a cocktail napkin during a flight, and within just 18 months, it transformed into a reality. Studebaker utilized components from its existing parts bin for the mechanical elements while adorning the vehicle with a sleek fiberglass body. Unfortunately, financial challenges and external circumstances led to a limited production run, with only 4,643 Avanti models being manufactured between mid-1962 and December 1963. This forgotten project car in Fairborn might just be one of these coveted supercharged specimens.

Under the hood of the Avanti lies Studebaker’s mighty 289 cubic-inch V8 engine, capable of producing up to 275 horsepower when equipped with a supercharger. Known as the “R2” variant, this Avanti model featured the powerful supercharged configuration, with 1,552 units rolling off the assembly line in 1963. Although details about this particular car remain scarce, it shows promising signs of retaining much of its originality. While the white paint exhibits a few imperfections, such as a gouge on the driver’s side door, these blemishes can be remedied with some fiberglass patchwork. The interior, on the other hand, requires significant attention, and signs of rust accumulation can be seen in the pulled-up carpeting in the rear floorboards.

Restoring this Avanti will undoubtedly demand immense dedication and care, but the potential rewards are immeasurable. Particularly enticing is the opportunity to revive the supercharger, breathing new life into this legendary performance machine. The complete set-up’s current condition remains unknown, as does the availability of these rare parts for a vehicle approaching its 60th anniversary. Despite the challenges that lie ahead, embarking on this restoration journey promises an extraordinary tribute to Studebaker’s timeless legacy.

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