CHASSIS NO: R5299
• American design and performance landmark
• Legendary Paxton-supercharged R2 engine
• Paint and bodywork by Andrew Deason
• Low indicated mileage and excellent colors
‘R2’ 289 cid V-8 engine, single four-barrel carburetor, Paxton centrifugal supercharger, 290 HP, Borg-Warner four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with A-arms and coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs and radius rods, front disc and rear drum hydraulic brakes; wheelbase: 109”
By the close of the 1950s, the Studebaker-Packard Corporation was reeling from falling automobile sales but embarked on a bold campaign to reinvent itself when Sherwood Egbert assumed the company’s presidency in 1961. Immediately, he set to work on two fronts, commissioning Brooks Stevens to update the existing models and enlisting Raymond Loewy Associates to design a sporty new Studebaker with show-car styling and high performance. Fittingly, the new Studebaker was dubbed “Avanti,” meaning “forward” in Italian.
Given the tight timeframe for the project, Studebaker built the Avanti with a no-rust fiberglass body on a shortened Lark frame with handling tweaks. Since Egbert was an aviation enthusiast, the Avanti’s luxurious yet purposeful interior was designed similarly to that of an aircraft cockpit. The Avanti was built to perform with a complete line of high-performance engines ranging from the “R1” 240-horsepower 289 cubic-inch V-8. Famed racer and record holder Andy Granatelli developed several progressively more-powerful versions for Studebaker, including the Paxton-supercharged “R2” with 290 rated horsepower, rare 335-horsepower supercharged “R3,” twin-carb “R4,” and twin-supercharged “R5.” True to form, Granatelli proved the Avanti’s capabilities, setting dozens of speed records at Bonneville in late 1962, including a 158.14-mph flying mile blast with a stock but carefully tuned R2 Avanti.
While the Avanti generated intense demand as originally hoped, relatively few were built before production ended and Studebaker’s ultimate demise came in 1966. Nonetheless, the Avanti was a bold gamble and remains one of the greatest American automobile designs conceived. According to Studebaker marque experts, only 3,834 Avantis were built for 1963. Precious few were built to the high-performance, supercharged ‘R2’ specification of this example. A complete restoration with body-panel alignment and paintwork by Andrew Deason, this 1964 Studebaker Avanti R-2 shows only about 23,600 miles and features a most desirable color combination and a Borg-Warner four-speed manual transmission, plus a well-detailed engine bay, pushbutton AM radio, and slide-out, under-dash storage compartment. Steeped in fascinating design and development history, well-presented and equipped to perform, this R2/four-speed 1963 Studebaker Avanti is a splendid, collector-quality example.