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First Avanti I Ever Saw!


mfg

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I never really liked the Avanti that much. I saw them in books etc but they never really appealed to me. Then in the early 90's I saw a friends 63 (R4) and I was in shock.

It was beautiful, I couldn't look at it enough. I couldn't  believe how modern it looked and that it was the same car I saw in those books. I had to have one from that point on.

I figured that maybe Avanti's aren't that photogenic and really need to be seen in the raw to get a full appreciation.

pb

 

Edited by 1963r2
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  • 3 weeks later...

Summer of 1963 I was a teenage caddy at the Evanston Golf Club in Illinois.  There it was in the parking lot, my dream car, a turquoise Avanti - Big round headlights and everything! 

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  • 2 weeks later...

The first Avanti that I saw was the first one delivered to the local Avanti dealer - Knight's Garage, Wappingers Falls, NY.  They wouldn't let others drive the car.  A friend of mine, that had a Corvette and a good job as an engineer, was interested in buying an Avanti.  They took him for a ride in it, but they would not let him drive it.  He went off and bought a new Corvette.  He is still a strong Chevrolet man

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9 hours ago, studegary said:

The first Avanti that I saw was the first one delivered to the local Avanti dealer - Knight's Garage, Wappingers Falls, NY.  They wouldn't let others drive the car.  A friend of mine, that had a Corvette and a good job as an engineer, was interested in buying an Avanti.  They took him for a ride in it, but they would not let him drive it.  He went off and bought a new Corvette.  He is still a strong Chevrolet man

Definitely a mistake not letting him drive the Avanti!....With a salesman in the car with him, I don't see a problem.

Bad 'salesmanship' I'd say!

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  • 1 month later...

I was about 12 years old either late 1962 or early 1963.  I got my great uncle to take me to the Studebaker dealer in National City (in the San Diego area).  I was trying to convince him to buy one.  It was white with orange interior.  My uncle was a GM guy having owned Oldsmobiles, Chevy's and a Buick.  I was not able to convince him to buy a Studebaker!

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  • 3 months later...

Besides the Revell model kit I built as a kid in the 70s, the first real Avanti I even saw was a 63 Avanti abandoned on Pearl Harbor Naval Station in the early eighties.

I was stationed at Submarine Base PH on the USS Tautog, when I drove over to the 'surface' side of the base where they parked the big grey targets. 

Over near the shipyard was a very sad looking red Avanti sitting on the ground with no wheels. It had been there so long that it had become fenced in at the intersection of three chain link fences, so you couldn't get very close to it.

No idea on the back story for the car or whatever became of it.

Sad.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I remember the day.  It was Denver, Colorado.  1970.  It was a white Avanti, you know the white, like a cloud color but this was like no cloud I ever saw.

There it was, parked alongside a radiator shop, or maybe an auto electric place or an alignment business, it was always that kind of place that seemed to attract this kind of a car;  they would be on the side or in the back, patiently waiting for someone or something.  Sometimes they never moved, and years later the place goes away along with the cars, and  you wonder, what happened....

A DAF, or Simca, or ancient Renault, an Arnolt-Bristol under a torn tarp,  a Bradley GT with a Porsche motor that never ran, the kind of place that maybe had a "Muffler Man" standing tall outside;  those places always had these cars

Of course, it was in better shape than the rest, someone loved it--maybe the owner got it for a song--transmission blowout--financial blowout.  I asked my dad as my stare went from the tail to the amazing front end--Dad what is that?  And his reply, that is an Avanti son!

It was no bubblegum baseball cards, or Eldon slot car racing, or GI Joe adventures for me after school the next day, it was library time and a book called World Cars or something--Every make had an entry, and of course, there was the famous slanted picture of another white Avanti, and I was more amazed than when I found out that Checker made regular cars, or that Porsche and Volkswagen were related, or that there was a GTO Ferrari and not just a Pontiac.  It needed no explanation for what it was, it was simply that, an Avanti.

My mind flashed back to that for years, the grey sky day, the white building with the whiter Avanti, it sitting there, passerby's not knowing what was right there, that car that looked like nothing else and I got to see it and I knew where it was, and what it was.

That's the first time I saw one.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I too "discovered" the Avanti on a plastic model box. The model was in a boardwalk store at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware on a rainy afternoon in 1975...being born in 1965, I was not too aware of Studebakers when I was 9 or 10 years old in the1970's. That AMT box changed that. I saw my first Avanti in person later that summer in a parking lot near Foscone's Go-Karts in Reading, PA. It was a black early Avanti II with wide rear tires and a rear suspension that had been "jacked up" to give the car a pronounced forward rake. I didn't come to know the Avanti II story until a little later when a neighbor's dad with a used book hobby/business sold me a copy of the Automobile Quarterly issue that featured Studebaker and had an article on Newman and Altman.

After that I was different, my friends liked Mustangs and Corvettes, I liked Avantis.

Edited by drn1965
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  • 1 month later...

I'll never forget the first Studebaker Avanti I saw.It was January 1969,I was 12 years old attending Conniston Jr. High School in West Palm Beach,Florida.The band teacher bought a used 1963 R1,white with tangerine and fawn interior,a/c and power windows and brakes.Seeing that gorgeous,unique car, it was love at first sight! I became obsessed,and read everything that I could find that had been written about the car,even writing to Avanti Motors,and receiving a nice informational packet from Charles Solliday containing the "Avanti Still Means Forward" article(the packet,of course,I still have!).Fortunately,I had selected band class as an elective,and when the band performed elsewhere,and we had to caravan to our destination,the band teacher,knowing how crazy I was for an Avanti,always made sure I was a passenger in his Avanti.Riding my bike home from school one afternoon,I spotted another Avanti,and I rode as fast as I could to catch up to the car,yelling for the driver to stop so I could see another gorgeous Avanti-he must have thought I was crazy.Fortunately,he stopped,and I got the chance to see his (also) white with tangerine and fawn interior,automatic with a/c car, and talk Avanti with him.It turned out that Fred was a Studebaker man,and,when production ceased in South Bend,he knew what a special car the Avanti was,and realized he better seek and find an unsold new Avanti from a Studebaker dealer. Fred's driver was a black '62 G.T Hawk,so the Avanti was purchased for his wife Connie.The car was always garaged and babied,and used sparingly. Fred was fairly impressed with my knowledge about the Avanti,and he and I became friends, always keeping in touch over all these years.I got a call from Fred in 2008,telling me that he was turning 80 and it that was time for him to let go of the Avanti.He went on to explain that he had had lots of people wanting to buy the car over the years,but he had decided a long time ago that there was only one person who would end up with the car.Unbeknownst over all those years,that person was me!.Fred and Connie's Avanti has been treasured by me for the last 9 years,and I periodically stop by to see Fred,and we'll go to lunch in "our" car.When I look down at the plaque that reads "Avanti-Expressly Built for Fred and Connie Splain"-I know things are just how they're supposed to be!!

Edited by murph the surf
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  • 5 years later...

I was only 13 when the first Avantis were introduced. From day one I saw too many to count, I lived in South Bend and my father was a tool and die maker at the Studebaker Plant. I was not a car guy at that time but I was immediately taken by the Avanti.  Needless to say we owned Studebakers as far as I can remember, until December '63. As the years went by I always had a desire to own an Avanti but marriages and children came first and it wasn't until after I had retired that I finally convinced myself to make that dream come true. In 2021 I settled on a 1987 LSC Coupe and I drive it every day. It's not an original and it has some defects but it fulfilled my dream. 

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i laid eyes on my 1st avanti in the spring of 1963 at donald dorr's studebaker dealership in manchester,vermont. i was employed by cit credit corp. and don was one of our dealers; we had to periodically check our dealers inventory to ascertain that what they had on our floor plan was either on premise or paid for if sold. don's brother dexter later took me for a "spirited" ride up thru the streets of manchester late at nite at over 100 mile an hour! i became the 2nd owner of #5317 in april of 1977 and still have it, having owned 16 others since then. love those cars!!

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I still have a photograph, somewhere, of the first Studebaker Avanti I ever laid eyes on at a National meet held in Spotswood, Melbourne, in 1975 by the Studebaker Car Club of Australia. I was very new to the marque and was utterly staggered to view a 63 and 64 Avanti side by side. The red R2 63 had been converted to right hand drive by the owner here in Oz. I thought, '"What the heck are these things"!  Both had the Studebaker script on them so I figured there had to be a story behind them and was keen to find out more, and soon did. I had my roll of film processed to prints and showed my dad the Avantis. His first reaction was typical of his generation.... "That can't be a Stew-dee-Baker !". Not to be an isolated retort from older Aussies that remember the Studebaker marque. I had no concept that I would become an owner of one many years later.

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8 hours ago, Zedman said:

I still have a photograph, somewhere, of the first Studebaker Avanti I ever laid eyes on at a National meet held in Spotswood, Melbourne, in 1975 by the Studebaker Car Club of Australia. I was very new to the marque and was utterly staggered to view a 63 and 64 Avanti side by side. The red R2 63 had been converted to right hand drive by the owner here in Oz. I thought, '"What the heck are these things"!  Both had the Studebaker script on them so I figured there had to be a story behind them and was keen to find out more, and soon did. I had my roll of film processed to prints and showed my dad the Avantis. His first reaction was typical of his generation.... "That can't be a Stew-dee-Baker !". Not to be an isolated retort from older Aussies that remember the Studebaker marque. I had no concept that I would become an owner of one many years later.

Great story Zed.....

I for one really enjoy these " first Avanti I ever saw" stories!!

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In 1988 one day my wife and I were talking about our favorite cars. She said if she ever wins the lottery she would buy an Avanti. I said really, why? She said they are so sexy and different and I have always liked that look, but they are so expensive , so when we win the lottery that will be the first thing we buy. I said ya know, if that is something you really like, we don't need to wait to win the lottery, lets look and see what we can find. Dan Booth who owns Nastalgic Motors in Michigan, was not all that far from where we lived. I called and asked if he had any for sale? Yep, one so we drove over to have a look. I think it was a 1983 coupe white with blue interior.  Dan spent most of the time telling her and me why we don't want one as they have lots of little issues and if your expecting a new car ride and feel, not the car for you. Didn't matter, once we were in his shop, that car was going home with her. She kept it till we thought we would need the money for a new business venture in 2003 and sold it back to Dan. Turned out we really didn't need that money and in 2017 we found a 1991 Avanti Convertible and bought it for her. She & I really do enjoy driving it an getting the thumbs up from folks while out. Every time we are out someone will ask about the car, lots of fun and always interesting in talking with folks that know about the original Avanti's.

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15 hours ago, mfg said:

Wow!.. That Dan is quite a 'reverse salesman!

Yes he was, but to tell the truth, he was honest and wanted to make sure we understood that this was a unique car and what to expect. He was right on, and over time he sold me various parts needed to fix the quirks or part failures. We stopped in to visit him a few years ago and he still remembers my wife's story about the lottery. he had about 15 Avanti cars there, some being restored, others for parts.  

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  • 11 months later...

Just saw this thread for the first time.  Some amazing stories.   When I was only 12, my best friend's dad bought a brand new red '63.   I remember getting to ride in the high backseat on our way to swim practice and was amazed by the airplane cockpit stylings of the instruments and light switches.  I fell in love with the car not really knowing what it was until years later.   I asked my friend at a high school reunion if they still owned the car.  He indicated his dad had kept it but lost it when a forest fire hit the town and burned down their home with the car in the garage.  At any rate, I always wanted one and finally purchased a red '63 in 2001.

 

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Like Thom earlier, I also grew up in South Bend. Both of my parents and many of my relatives worked for Studebaker. In the late 60s and 70s, we frequently saw Studebakers and Avantis, so I knew what an Avanti was, so I don't remember when I saw my first Avanti. In the early 70s when I was about 7, I had the opportunity to see my first one up close, unsupervised (I did not touch it), and it happened to be parked on the curb two houses down from my parents' house. It was opening day at Maurice Matthys Little League, and there were a lot of cars parked everywhere after the kick-off parade. Many parents and adult family members came out to cheer on their children.  I was on my way to the main concession stand with 50 cents in my pocket to buy a treat (it was always stocked with the best variety of candy, and fresh buttered pop-corn). I knew the Avanti II was being built, but I was surprised to see it was a Studebaker.  It was gold. I got to walk around it and study it. Very nice. Even now I can still taste the Bubbs Daddy grape bubble gum, smell the fresh popcorn, and see that Avanti. After I walked back home, I later went back outside to see it again, but it was gone.  I didn't get to see it drive away.

Edited by Mark L
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R3 Forward & Mark L.....Great stories!!.. Like several others, both were bit hard by the Avanti bug at a young age...A positive impression that has stuck with us Avanti fans throughout our lives!

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