Open from Tuesday till Saturday from 10am to 5pm. Sundays and holidays closed. Monday strictly by appointment.
The Studebaker Avanti was manufactured between June 1962 and December 1963. The automaker marketed the Avanti as "America's Only 4 Passenger High-Performance Personal Car."
Described as "one of the more significant milestones of the postwar industry", the car offered combined safety and high-speed performance.
Subsequent to Studebaker's discontinuation of the model, a series of five owner arrangements continued manufacture and marketing of the Avanti.
The Avanti was developed at the direction of Studebaker president, Sherwood Egbert. "The car's design theme is the result of sketches Egbert "doodled" on a jet-plane flight west from Chicago 37 days after becoming president of Studebaker in February 1961." Designed by Raymond Loewy's team of Tom Kellogg, Bob Andrews, and John Ebstein on a 40-day crash program, the Avanti featured a radical fiberglass body mounted on a modified Studebaker Lark Daytona 109-inch convertible chassis and powered by a modified 289 Hawk engine.
In eight days the stylists finished a "clay scale model with two different sides: one a two-place sports car, the other a four-seat GT coupe." Tom Kellogg, a young California stylist hired for this project by Loewy, "felt it should be a four-seat coupe." "Loewy envisioned a low-slung, long-hood/short-deck semi-fastback coupe with a grilleless nose and a wasp-waisted curvature to the rear fenders, suggesting a supersonic aircraft."
The Avanti featured front disc-brakes that were British Dunlop designed units, made under license by Bendix,"the first American production model to offer them." It was one of the first bottom breather designs where air enters from under the front of the vehicle rather than via a conventional grille, a design feature much more common after the 1980s. A Paxton supercharger was offered as an option.
The Avanti was publicly introduced on April 26, 1962, "simultaneously at the New York International Automobile Show and at the Annual Shareholders' Meeting.". Roger Ward, winner of the 1962 Indianapolis 500, received a Studebaker Avanti as part of his prize package, "thus becoming the first private owner of an Avanti."
After the closure of Studebaker's factory on December 20, 1963, Competition Press reported: "Avantis will no longer be manufactured and contrary to the report that there are thousands gathering dust in South Bend warehouses, Studebaker has only five Avantis left. Dealers have about 2,500, and 1600 have been sold since its introduction." This contrasted with Chevrolet which produced 23,631 Corvette sports cars in 1963. According to the book My Father The Car written about Stu Chapman, Studebaker Corporation's Advertising & Public Relations Department head in Canada, Studebaker seriously considered re-introducing the Avanti into Studebaker showrooms in 1965/66 after production resumed in 1965 via Studebaker-Packard dealership owners Newman & Altman.
The Avanti name, tooling and plant space were sold to two South Bend, Indiana, Studebaker dealers, Nate Altman and Leo Newman, the first of a succession of entrepreneurs to manufacture small numbers of Avanti replica and new design cars until 2006.