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Lot 33
1963 Studebaker Avanti


From the Pugsley Collection


• Raymond Loewy masterpiece; unrestored and well-preserved
• Factory supercharged V-8 engine
• First year, early production; iconic styling; lovingly cared for
• Full complement of gauges; excellent color and trim selection

289 cid Paxton supercharged OHV V-8 engine, 289 HP, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, power-assisted front disc brakes and rear drum brakes; wheelbase: 109”

In the early 1960s, Studebaker’s President Sherwood Egbert was desperate for something that would draw attention to one of America’s last true independent automakers. His idea was to create a fiberglass bodied sports coupe to compete with Corvette. While the last truly new car from Studebaker had been the compact Lark, and in its first two years strong sales had pumped some much-needed cash into the company coffers; when competing compacts from the big three arrived, the Lark was all but forgotten. Studebaker did have a performance model with the Gran Turismos, and they were a force to be reckoned with on the street or the strip, but still, outdated styling limited this early muscle-car’s appeal. To come up with this new car, Egbert sent Raymond Loewy’s design team to Palm Springs, California where they held up in a house to concentrate on this new car. A month and a half later, a masterpiece on wheels had been created, the Avanti. It was one of the first cars to use the “Coke bottle” curve other muscle cars would employ in the late 1960s. On the ground, its design presented a smooth wedge-like silhouette. Under the hood was Studebaker’s well-proven 289 cubic-inch V-8. In its base “R1” configuration, with a single four-barrel carburetor it was rated at a respectable 240 HP. Studebaker might have been a little independent company from South Bend, but they understood performance and, with the R2 set-up which added a Paxton Supercharger to the mix, the advertised horsepower was increased to 289, but some pundits of the day said that was a bit on the conservative side. Avanti quickly proved itself the President of Paxton Products, Andy Granatelli, who took a specially prepared Avanti to the Bonneville Salt Flats where he proceeded to break 29 USAC land-speed records which were dutifully recorded, and several are still standing to this day. He extolled the handling and control features of the Avanti and backed up his praise when he took three passengers including members of the press with him on a test run, exceeding 170 mph! (To be fair, the Granatelli Avanti was fitted with the R# 400 HP, naturally aspirated engine which had limited availability). Even with the beautiful design, powerful engine, excellent engineering, and record-setting performance, Studebaker’s automotive concerns could not be saved. However, Avanti was just too beautiful of a car to simply go away and over the past 50+ years there have been several who have tried to keep this iconic design alive.

We are pleased to present this original early production Studebaker Avanti. It retains its factory installed Paxton Supercharger backed up by the four-speed transmission and is a well-appointed car. Mr. Pugsley acquired this car in the Spring of 2009 and has added approximately 100 miles to the odometer in the past decade. At the time of cataloguing, the car was showing just under 33,500 miles which have been represented as from-new. This virtually untouched example is finished in the exclusive Avanti White color and fitted with the red leather interior. It is equipped with its 6,000 RPM tachometer and original 140 MPH speedometer as well as its accessory AM push-button radio, heater-defroster, and power-operated windows. A true survivor, it is one that is quite capable to garner multiple preservation awards and admiring looks. This car can also serve as an historical pattern car that others can use to determine authenticity for avid restorers. The consignor did paint the wheels red to give them just a little “pop” but has left the rest of the car in the same condition as when it was acquired. With the originality of this car combined with interest in these original Avanti coupes, this car is a great fit for many enthusiast garages.

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