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R3 Price?


mfg
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Definite maybe.

If true why didn't partners Newman and Altman put that engine in the II's.

Possibly due to the lack of block and head castings and I'll bet the complete SBC went for much less than that in the mid-60's

Edited by Avanti83
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There were only about 120-130 R3/R4 blocks made (they were specially selected standard blocks bored out), but the main reason Nate Altman went with another engine was the Studebaker foundry had closed down and no more Stude V8 blocks were available or going to be available. Studebaker itself recognized that when they transitioned to the McKinnon engines.

I'm not aware of any connection between Avanti Motors and Paxton...maybe there was some but it must not have amounted to anything of substance. Nate Altman was more interested in making the Avanti a gentleman's grand touring machine. Paxton and the Granatellis were all about performance. There seems to be a divergence of intentions there.

While Nate Altman did have one (maybe two) Avanti II's built with a Paxton supercharger, it seems to have gone nowhere. Allegedly one was built for Robert Morrison of MFG and Altman didn't like it. A car magazine tested a II with a Paxton (maybe the same car), but it did not perform well or up to expectations. The article did say the car was well out of tune. I don't remember whether the car was a 4-speed or automatic, but if someone tried to drive a PowerShift and not know about the second gear start they wouldn't find the performance earth shattering from a standing start.

Avanti Motors had the advantage of choosing an engine that was already engineered to fit the chassis by Studebaker. There were a few issues specific to the Avanti that required attention but the main engineering already had been done. Studebaker had the mountings already figured out and Borg Warner already had the bell housing engineered for their PowerShift transmission as they supplied transmissions for Checker with GM engines. MFG was happy to provide leftover Avanti bodies that were otherwise a complete financial loss to them. Avanti Motors got the pick of trained and willing employees that were otherwise unemployed after Studebaker closed the plant.

Nate Altman really did get the Avanti II in production for a pittance compared to the normal manner of design, engineering and testing. He was one smart guy...the right idea at the right place and time.

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I remember seeing the Avanti II in 1970 at the Studebaker dealer where I had my 63 R1 repaired. Nemeth Brothers in Irvington, NJ sold a quite a few of them. Some of the color combinations were pretty wild. My favorite was canary yellow with a white interior -- including white shag rugs!

The solution they came up with to make the 327 fit under the hood was a poor one. It ruined the stance of the car in my opinion. I own a 69. and don't like the way it sits on the ground. However, there is no getting around the fact that the Chevy 327 Engine can run cirles around and R1 and even an R2.

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R3 engine assembly for $1350, add $200 for the supercharger

My info differs from yours...but not by all that much...You're 'right on the nose' with that supercharger cost. Anyone else have any other opinions on this 'crate engine' price?

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Back in the day it was a very high price...looking back...it would be money in the bank to have stored and sell it now. The last real, genuine crate R3 I know is out there was sold a couple of years ago for $25k. Not a bad return on the investment but a long time to wait for it.

Ultimately, though...Avantis haven't proven to be the best financial investments over time. They have everything going for them...exclusivity...design pedigree...performance potential...pretty much everything but free market value. Only a special few can pull in the big bucks. It's somewhat similar to Corvettes...most really don't go for that much comparatively, but look at the special versions like the L88. There's also a far bigger market for Corvettes as well. It all has to be taken in perspective.

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The solution they came up with to make the 327 fit under the hood was a poor one. It ruined the stance of the car in my opinion. I own a 69. and don't like the way it sits on the ground. However, there is no getting around the fact that the Chevy 327 Engine can run circles around and R1 and even an R2.

Since Avanti Motors was pretty much started on a shoestring, the solution taken was likely far less easier and less expensive than coming up with a new mounting system to lower the engine profile, which may have required re-engineering the steering as lowering the engine may have impinged on the steering components.

The somewhat lighter Chevy engine and raising the front end slightly helped the front weight bias slightly and possibly helping with handling, with the possible offset of reducing engine cooling efficiency with the air intake further from the ground surface and allowing somewhat increased turbulence under the car. All that's probably more theoretical than real, though.

Besides...Nate Altman was on record as saying he never liked the rake anyway and since it was his money and reputation on the line he got his way.

Edited by Gunslinger
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I would just say that I disagree with Nate! To me, the rather extreme rake of a Studebaker Avanti makes it look 'badass'!! As much as I'd like to own one of the original nine factory 'R3' Avantis.....the one thing that I strongly dislike about them is that Studebaker eliminated much of the rake to get the engine under the hood....not to mention that large open area above the front tires....Not good!!

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The rake or lack of it is not set in stone. It's fairly straightforward to adjust as it's a body orientation modification, not a chassis issue. Changing the number of body shims at the appropriate places adds or subtracts to the amount of rake.

When my '70 was rebuilt, it regained a bit of rake when the shims and insulators were installed...a bit less rake than a Stude Avanti but not as level as a II would have left South Bend with. New coil springs and leaf springs may something to do with that as well.

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