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James Bond
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I'm watching "Mecum Auto Auctions". There are many beautiful cars. But they're all the same! All the cars you would think are there. The Mustangs, the 'vettes, the muscle cars. My question is this...WHY ARE THERE NO AVANTIS!!! I don't have an answer. The only clue I have is something I heard on those antiques shows, it's not the rarity, it's the demand. My question is this...how do we change this? Any clues?

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It's not possible at the micro level to drive demand for a subjective item such as an old car. Bidders/buyers either want them enough to pay the bucks or they don't. The Avanti has always been a polarizing design; a few love it but most just don't get it. Even many of the older CASOs in the SDC don't like and don't want an Avanti.

jack vines

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I understand what you're saying. And as the Avanti being a "bastard" is also understood. Polarizing, may be a too stern a term, misunderstood is the phrase I'd like to use. Yet you can't deny the design, this car looks as if it roll off the production line today. I do believe the renaissance of the Avanti is at hand. There are a couple sites where Avantis were deemed good values for purchase. And if you look at the back of the quarterly, the prices are creeping up. Keep the faith!

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I agree with Jack, but let's also remember that there are fewer 63-89 Avantis in TOTAL then there are on any ONE YEAR of Corvette post 1957. In other words, not many to go around. but the fact is, they're specialized. Lots of guys like "me too" cars...57 Chevys, Mustangs, Chavelles...so that's what you see.

Also, because Avantis are so rare, owners don't need to sell them at expensive big-name auctions...and wit their relatively low vales, it wouldn't be cost effective to sell them there anyway.

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Unfortunately, "Polarizing" is exactly the term to use for Avanti's design. Being of the vintage to see the response of the public when the Avanti first came out, people loved them or did not care for them. I was in the loved them camp from the first moment I saw them on display at a Farm Progress Show in Morton IL in late September 1962 as a freshman in high school. I bought a 64 R1 in April of my senior year in high school in 1966. I sold the car in 1969 to get a 67 Chevelle SS396 and regretted it for many years, finally getting a 76 'II in January 2011. The past two years I've had a lot of work done on the car and have had a ball with the car. I'll probably hang on to the car until I stop driving. Time has certainly proved the value and timelessness of the car's design. The car outlasting Studebaker through various ownerships for over 43 years is a validation of the design. Please name any other car model that went back into production 2 years after the company stopped making them and continued on for the length of time that Avanti did.

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After driving one for a couple of years, I'm not sure that the Avanti is "polarizing" these days. I think time has caught up with Avantis, I never hear anything but positive comments.

Now that doesn't mean that EVERYONE will rush to buy Avantis...there are some practical limitations that will put people off ownership, besides the market for 50 year old orphan luxury performance cars is limited.

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Guest dapy

I am a newbie. One year into Avantis...a 1964 R2, a 1983 II, and a 1989 convert.

Much as I could speculate on the depth of Avanti appreciation I'm from a pre Avanti (SB) Studebaker heritage...born again.

With the car's limited public exposure people ask what it is. (If old enough they know.) They all like it, especially when you say the age.

Few were produced. And there are few now that are 'show' (auction) quality, although priced right there is demonstrable demand on eBay and other classic car sites. I don't think the post Studebakers have achieved classic recognition (or price) and may not.

Supply is limited by those in collections; those in neglect, and owners who are death do us part.

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FWIW, it costs more to restore a '63-64 Avanti than an equivalent '63-64 Corvette, but at auction a Corvette will usually bring 3X the money. In Wall Street, the sayings, "The trend is your friend." also goes here. If one wants to make money, go with the demand curve. However, if it's about appreciating an Avanti for what is, then not seeing them at the belly-button auctions just means they're more affordable for those who love them. On the other hand, that an Avanti will never return a profit on the cost of restoration means fewer will be restored. Life is tradeoffs.

jack vines

Edited by PackardV8
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I agree with Jack, but let's also remember that there are fewer 63-89 Avantis in TOTAL then there are on any ONE YEAR of Corvette post 1957. In other words, not many to go around. but the fact is, they're specialized. Lots of guys like "me too" cars...57 Chevys, Mustangs, Chavelles...so that's what you see.

Also, because Avantis are so rare, owners don't need to sell them at expensive big-name auctions...and wit their relatively low vales, it wouldn't be cost effective to sell them there anyway.

The fact that there were 8800 cars made in it's entire run should mean something. The fact that they ARE rare should boost the price, or am I missing something here about basic economics? Should one show up at an auction, the rarity factor should drive demand. Couple that with the fact of the beautiful design, how could you not want to buy one. As far as "me too" cars, if you saw an Avanti again and again on TV, you'd want one too! Or am I speaking to the choir?
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Guest dapy

Yes. I believe it is: "preaching to the choir".

Ownership is personal for each of us. If we want to preserve the breed we need to keep them on the road.

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Ownership is personal for each of us. If we want to preserve the breed we need to keep them on the road.

And take them out. Drive them, not just look at them. To educate people and build the marque, they need to be SEEN by people.

Having them in your garage or having one apart for 15 years during a "restoration" isn't doing anyone much good.

Also, there are some examples that are awfully rough and don't present a good image.

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The fact that there were 8800 cars made in it's entire run should mean something

Rarity in itself does not raise prices. There aren't many surviving 196X brand X base model four door sedans out there..yet the ones that are out there aren't valuable. For the rarity factor to come into play, the car also to be desirable. If we want to increase Avanti values, we need to make people want them.

Edited by J Boyle
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If we want to increase Avanti values, we need to make people want them.

Aye, there's the rub. In the past hundred years, there have been more than seven thousand automotive brand names go into production with professional sales and marketing budgets targeting that goal of making people want them, only to fail to achieve it and be forgotten. The Avanti faired better than some. However, bottom line, making people want them is inherent with the design, but JMHO, it's impossible for owners to accomplish after the fact.

jack vines

Edited by PackardV8
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Guest dapy

In my rounds today at every stop someone asked me 'who made it'. Many thought the mark was Italian. I explained it came from Youngstown Ohio...and that led to romancing the Studebaker story.

In my former life I would say marketing (broad-based communications) can build demand. Too late for Avanti. Best we can hope for is word of mouth and the occasional appearance in the marketplace.

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I agree with Jack, but let's also remember that there are fewer 63-89 Avantis in TOTAL then there are on any ONE YEAR of Corvette post 1957. In other words, not many to go around. but the fact is, they're specialized. Lots of guys like "me too" cars...57 Chevys, Mustangs, Chavelles...so that's what you see.

Also, because Avantis are so rare, owners don't need to sell them at expensive big-name auctions...and wit their relatively low vales, it wouldn't be cost effective to sell them there anyway.

Agreed. But shouldn't they be desireable, valuable, because of their rarity? I understand the "me too" thing, but what about having something that very few people have...and at a bargain to boot! Don't you think that would start to drive demand?
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Unfortunately, "Polarizing" is exactly the term to use for Avanti's design. Being of the vintage to see the response of the public when the Avanti first came out, people loved them or did not care for them. I was in the loved them camp from the first moment I saw them on display at a Farm Progress Show in Morton IL in late September 1962 as a freshman in high school. I bought a 64 R1 in April of my senior year in high school in 1966. I sold the car in 1969 to get a 67 Chevelle SS396 and regretted it for many years, finally getting a 76 'II in January 2011. The past two years I've had a lot of work done on the car and have had a ball with the car. I'll probably hang on to the car until I stop driving. Time has certainly proved the value and timelessness of the car's design. The car outlasting Studebaker through various ownerships for over 43 years is a validation of the design. Please name any other car model that went back into production 2 years after the company stopped making them and continued on for the length of time that Avanti did.

Exactly! I do believe this mobile work of art is on the verge of wedging itself into the general public's psyche. That a general realization of the quality, the design, and the bang for the buck will coalesce into a serious demand of a finite resource. Then what do we do?
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After driving one for a couple of years, I'm not sure that the Avanti is "polarizing" these days. I think time has caught up with Avantis, I never hear anything but positive comments.

Now that doesn't mean that EVERYONE will rush to buy Avantis...there are some practical limitations that will put people off ownership, besides the market for 50 year old orphan luxury performance cars is limited.

You're right, not everyone will rush out to buy a very limited stock of cars, but I believe the pool of potential buyers is strong. Especially people who want a classic car for not a lot of money. I do believe the seeds are planted!
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FWIW, it costs more to restore a '63-64 Avanti than an equivalent '63-64 Corvette, but at auction a Corvette will usually bring 3X the money. In Wall Street, the sayings, "The trend is your friend." also goes here. If one wants to make money, go with the demand curve. However, if it's about appreciating an Avanti for what is, then not seeing them at the belly-button auctions just means they're more affordable for those who love them. On the other hand, that an Avanti will never return a profit on the cost of restoration means fewer will be restored. Life is tradeoffs.

jack vines

Yes "the trend is your friend". So we must change the trend. How do we do that? Drive it, show it, talk about it to those who are interested. We all know we have a undiscovered gem. Let's open the public's eyes as to what we have! You know...let them know too!
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Rarity in itself does not raise prices. There aren't many surviving 196X brand X base model four door sedans out there..yet the ones that are out there aren't valuable. For the rarity factor to come into play, the car also to be desirable. If we want to increase Avanti values, we need to make people want them.

I couldn't agree more. The fact that it isn't desirable, considering the styling and the rarity, is a continuing mystery to me. That being said, I think a grass roots education campaign about the car would definitely help. When you have a chance, talk your car up. Pique people's interests. You have everything about the car on your side!
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Yes. I believe it is: "preaching to the choir".

Ownership is personal for each of us. If we want to preserve the breed we need to keep them on the road.

Yes, and by doing that, in the public's conscience. That should be our primary goal.
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Guest dapy

James and friends of Avanti,

My career was national consumer product marketing. Never cars. But many of those that are high priced classics today I bought new. And in retirement I bought and sold 1950-70's airplanes. That is relevant.

There is no way to effectively raise the awareness of Avanti to make it more valuable than it is now. Even if there were there would not be enough good cars for sale to improve their market image. Sorry, but much as we love 'em we can't relive the past.

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All this being said, You can't tell me that at the end of the day, that this isn't most beautiful car ever designed. Fifty years on, and it's better than anything that's rolling off the production line today!

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James and friends of Avanti,

My career was national consumer product marketing. Never cars. But many of those that are high priced classics today I bought new. And in retirement I bought and sold 1950-70's airplanes. That is relevant.

There is no way to effectively raise the awareness of Avanti to make it more valuable than it is now. Even if there were there would not be enough good cars for sale to improve their market image. Sorry, but much as we love 'em we can't relive the past.

I understand your reasoning, but I don't agree with it. The Avanti is on the verge of being "discovered", five decades after the fact. I know you don't believe this, but I have no doubt it's true. It's been more than one place where a '63 Avanti was considered an excellent intro into the collectors world. Nothing is so powerful than an idea whose time has come. We're close to that time!
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I seem to recall a similar discussion on the SDC Forum and was reminded of the Mustang. Not too long ago, older Mustangs were not bringing down the bucks they are today. Seems that the Mustang Club of America decided to rally together and STOP SELLING their cars for cheap. Obviously this took some time and the Shelby versions helped to add to this. I am amazed at the "feeding frenzy" that goes on at Mecham and Barrett-Jackson auctions with many of the Mustangs that come across the block. It appears to me that increasing awareness of the Avanti comes before increasing their value and the Mustang Club of America model makes sense.

A second idea: we entered our '89 Convertible in the neighboring small town Memorial Day car show last Saturday and as always, I had great fun in talking up Avanti history. Specifically, we created a window placard that explains a bit about the car and its history. I DO NOT LIST all of the changes made to the car, who painted it, etc. I do explain it is one of only 228 convertibles, it cost $52,000 in 1989, etc. This is only 8 1/2 x 11 mounted in a Plexiglas sleeve that we place on the windshield (not the ground), and it gets read by a lot of people. And as folks take the time to read it, I have the opportunity to ask them if they have any questions. So few car owners bother to present this (or any) information or talk up their car. Most owners seem to sit on lawn chairs BEHIND their cars and if you have a question, you have to go seek them out.

One last note, the car show this last Saturday was in the (very) small town of Easton, Washington. This just happens to be the town in which Sherwood Harry Egbert (President of Studebaker Automotive Division and Father of the Avanti) was born and grew up. I had much fun sharing this bit of the history of the Father of the Avanti and his home town roots.

So make up some basic information placards, put them on the windshield of your Avanti at the next car show, and get out there and talk up this wonderful abnormality in automotive history that we have come to appreciate so much. We can change the awareness of the public, one person at a time.

Peace.................

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