Pick of the Week: 1963 Studebaker Avanti R1

 The styling for the 1963 Studebaker Avanti was striking but controversial

The styling for the 1963 Studebaker Avanti was striking but controversial

One of the most unusual standout designs during the early 1960s was that of the Studebaker Avanti, a “personal luxury” coupe that debuted in April 1962. Created by a team assembled by famed industrial designer Raymond Loewy, the fiberglass-bodied Avanti was true to its name as an avant garde original.

As usual, Studebaker was ahead of the styling curve and the Avanti became something of a “love it or loathe it” piece of automotive quirkiness. The timing was not great, as the Avanti appeared on the scene at the same time as another fiberglass original, the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray, which stole much of the popular thunder.

Today’s Pick of the Week is an apparently restored 1963 Studebaker Avanti R1 being sold by a private owner in San Diego. Although appreciated as collector cars, Avantis have never commanded big-dollar sales, and this one is offered at what seems like a bargain price of $25,000 or best offer.

The Avanti’s interior looks immaculate
The Avanti’s interior looks immaculate

The seller’s description is brief and lacking in details, but the car is described as Avanti Red in color with a black vinyl interior, air conditioning, electric windows and other convenience features.

The photos show what appears to be an original Studebaker 289 V8 engine, coupled with an automatic transmission and Twin Traction limited-slip rear. The photos of the interior are very impressive.

This was the original year of the Avanti, when they really looked their best. I particularly like the piece of mid-century chrome flair on the hood, which became a signature styling cue.

Although a handsome Studebaker Avanti would make a good Pick of the Week any time, it’s also a nod to this week’s ClassicCars.com poll results, which found that most people would choose Studebaker as the defunct automaker they would most like to see come back to life.

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