A self-described “car nut”, Frank learned to drive on his older brother’s 1963 Studebaker Lark and owned a number of Studebakers as a daily driver & later as show vehicles. He purchased his 1978 Avanti II in 2000, which is still in pristine original condition with only 26,000 miles on it.
After acquiring this Avanti, he joined the AOAI and soon became an active member of the Indiana Chapter. He has assisted in organizing several International Meets held in South Bend, as well as edited the Indiana Chapter’s Newsletter for 18 years. In addition, he has been a long-time member of The Studebaker Drivers Club and served as Newsletter Editor, Vice President and President of the SDC North Georgia Chapter.
Frank is currently serving as President of the Board, having previously served as Vice President and Secretary and also as AOAI Head Concours Judge.He is also active in a number of other car clubs and is a certified judge for AACA events. He is retired and lives in the Atlanta, GA area with his wife Bev.
AOAI Vice President
I live in northwest Ohio where I was born and currently live in Perrysburg, Ohio near the Maumee River. Married with three grown children, I have had a career as a lawyer and CPA, plus teaching as an adjunct professor at the college level. I enjoy outdoor activities which include mountain climbing, white water rafting, flying, and motorcycling. I have had extensive experience with nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations in both health care and museums, so I am very accustomed to challenges of oper- ating an organization such as AOAI.
I am an Avanti owner (1963 R1 that I am fully restoring) and I previously have owned and partially restored a 1958 MGA and a 1967 Jaguar XKE Coupe. You will catch me often at Concours d’Elegance (Inn at St. Johns and Pebble Beach) and I am a regular at Sotheby’s Auburn Auto Auction along with my buddy who is an Auburn collector and who judges Auburn vehi- cles. Cars are in my blood.
I learned of the Studebaker Avanti about a year before 1962’s Job 1. Whenever an Avanti article would cross my path, I’d save it. Next, I began photographing Avanti cars I’d seen. By 1972, I had three photos. My first photo shoot was a Friday night in spring 1964, while helping my dad at his garage near Reading, PA.
In February 2010 I married my best friend, Barbara Barnes, and moved to Midland, MI. Retired since August 2002 and with a new-found lust for life, I joined AOAI. My Avanti flame was reignited. In October 2010 I bought, sight unseen, a 1963 Avanti wrapped in its original Avanti Turquoise paint. Until August 2022, I described it as a maintained original; an unexpected event forced an early winter respite to our garage. I’m now in dogged pursuit of a shop to help restore its luster and charm.
In Midland, I’m active with Kiwanis, a book club and an investment club. I review grant applications for a philanthropic organization and am a past president of our local SDC chapter, and an investment club; I enjoy puttering around the yard in warm weather and finding creative ways to fix broken stuff. You may see Barbara and me at local car shows along with my two children who live nearby. Should you be in an area car show, stop by and say, “Hi!”
2023 delivered my third year as AOAI Board Secretary and I’m look forward to helping maintain and grow AOAI as a World Class organization of Avanti owners and those interested in preserving the Avanti Marque.
Don Hart’s interest in the Avanti dates back many years. In 1979, only a few years after college graduation, he purchased a 1963 Avanti which was subsequently fully restored. After enjoying the Avanti, family events (two children) dictated its sale in the late 1980’s. Since the sale of his beloved first Avanti he has purchased a 1983 20th Anniversary Edition Avanti (#4 of 25) and a 1963 R1 4 speed (63R2681). Both are “drivers” that he hopes to pass down to his grandchildren one day.
Don has been a member of the Studebakers Drivers Club for many years and was a co-chairman for the 1981 and 2015 SDC International Meets, and the 2023 AOAI meets, all held in St. Louis, Missouri.
At a local level Don is active in both the AOAI and the SDC MO/IL “Gateway” Chapters. He also takes pride in being an active participant in the AOAI Memorabilia Committee. Currently retired, Don serves as the AOAI Treasurer beginning in 2015. Although not a CPA, he gained financial expertise as a result of programming, systems design, methods and procedures and regulatory compliance related to cost accounting during a 37 year career with AT&T. He plans to continue to serve AOAI as Treasurer for some time contingent on continued membership approval.
I live in northern California and recently retired as a Silicon Valley engi-neering manager.
The Studebaker “bug” bit me early when my great aunt gave me a 1941 Commander she’d parked in her back- yard in the ‘50s. I rebuilt and drove that car for many years until the burn to have a car with a little more pep took over— enter Avanti! I currently have a 1963 R1 and 2006 convertible, and have driven them to many AOAI international meets, including the 2021 Indy meet.
I have been active in the Avanti Ltd. chapter since 2001. In the past year, as chapter president, I led the effort to rees- tablish the Northern California Avanti group as an AOAI chapter after a period of separation. I have also previously served six years on the AOAI board.
Thanks for reading to the end. Feel free to contact me at email@example.com
It’s 1962, my brother and I were driving his ’55 Studebaker when we saw our first Avanti. It was one of the two that were being airlifted around the country to show dealers. It was love at first sight. I told my brother then that I was going to own one of them. Fast forward to the year 2000; I found the prettiest red Avanti in the world at the International Studebaker meet in Madison, WI. It was for sale, and, with my wife’s agreement, it gave truth to the statement I made in 1962. It has won many awards at AOAI, SDC, and local car shows. I totally enjoy showing our Avanti, sharing the history, and clearing up misconceptions about this amazing car.
Our family has had nine Studebakers, including my ’63 Avanti and our son’s ’70 Avanti. As you see, we have a diverse mix, which drives our family’s desire to want joint AOAI, SDC, and ASC meets. Our family has enjoyed these in the past and we have a desire for them in the future.
I believe the opportunities I have had serving as president, vice president and board of directors of the Heartland AOAI Chapter, as well as the 2016 Kansas City AOAI International meet steering committee are an asset to the AOAI Board of Directors.
I was part of the group of Avanti owners that revived the long dormant northwest chapter of AOAI. From the start I was on the board of directors, in charge of activities. I met Al Basile, a recent transplant from the east coast , who became our newsletter editor. When president Greg Prince stepped down to pursue other interests, I was asked to “take the reins.” I have never looked back. One thing that Greg Prince left us with was the outline for an authenticity guide. Al Basile and I worked together to complete the Avanti authenticity guide and addendum. Al and I were soon attending national meets to do the Avanti Authenticity judging, we both looked forward to see the quality of the cars we judged improve. If you attended the 2019 meet in Tacoma, that was my idea from the start, John Hull helped us pull it off. My Avanti RQB-4240 built when Stephen Blake owned Avanti Motors in 1985 is a rare car it is one of 6 cars that was built with a 5 speed manual transmission, one other rare option it has, it may be the last car with the Touring Coupe package.
Mike Baker was elected in 2022 to the AOAI Board again to get the AOAI Board refocused on executing the AOAI Mission Statement, 5-year strategic plan and resolve financial issues. During my eight prior years as the AOAI President, AOAI was financially sound with growing membership of nearly 2,100 members, executing a strategic plan and a cohesive relationship with the Studebaker Drivers Club. Given my experience executing successful AOAI International Meets in South Bend (1997 volunteer, 2002, 2007, 2012, 2017, 2022) and the 2021 AOAI Indianapolis Meet plus providing guidance to other International Meets during my Presidency, I want to lead the International Meet Committee as we explore holding more international meets in the West and East coast, new areas such as Nashville, TN, besides returning to South Bend every five years. When we return to Palm Springs, it should be in 2026, anniversary year. As the AOA Indiana Chapter Avanti 60th Anniversary Homecoming Meet Chairman, I proud of the volunteers who helped achieve a successful and fun event with over 35 Avantis “Back Home Again” in South Bend with 100 members attending. We partnered with the Studebaker National Museum to promote their “Avanti at 60” event and attend their Concours at Copshaholm. We raised a $1,000 to donate to the Studebaker National Museum
Like most of us in the AOAI, I consider myself a “car guy”, having grown up in a family of 4 brothers who were “car crazy” about the cars of the 50’s and 60’s. Our dad, who had a career in the auto parts and service industry, passed onto to all 4 brothers great knowledge of and respect for the automobile. When I was in high school, Studebaker introduced the Avanti to the public. I read about the Avanti in my car magazines and instantly fell in love with the car! Many years later, I was fortunate enough to purchase my first Avanti and have been a proud owner of Avanti cars for nearly 25 years. I really enjoy showing my Avanti cars at car shows and concours events and telling show attendees about the unique history of the car. If I were elected to the AOAI Board of Directors, I would use my passion for the Avanti to advance the exposure of the car to more people.
I was born and raised in Columbus, OH. Currently reside in Cincinnati, OH. My wife and I have 2 adult children and 4 grandchildren who also reside in Cincinnati.
Earned my undergrad degree from Ohio State University and a MBA degree from Xavier University.
Nearly 50 years experience in general management, sales management and sales including having owned my own executive search business for 25 years. Now retired.
US Army Active Duty 1971 – 1973. Highest rank attained: Captain