Back in 1962, when the Ferrari was the car to beat, a man named Raymond Loewy designed a new kind of car, and slapped on an Italian name. Of course, the car was manufactured by Studebaker in Indiana, but the original intent was there to make a car that was better. The more recent Avanti automobile itself was a vehicle made, and sold, in the USA, and was a descendent of the Studebaker Avanti that was first manufactured in 1963, until 1964. The name itself means forward in Italian and the car was created (design wise) in just five weeks by Loewy. The Avanti itself was a sharp new looking concept, however rather than be an expensive new investment all they needed to do was take an old Lark (the lark convertible to be precise) frame and then mount the vehicle on that – then they took a V-8 from stick, modified it and added performance enhancers, and finally sealed the deal by using it in their showrooms. Why would Studebaker do this? Was it greed, to cut costs? Recycling? Neither – it was because Studebaker had run into hard fiscal times and needed something to help the company make it. Ingeniously all these parts proved to be reliable and well built, detracting nothing from the vehicle line’s quality. The care was by far, with the enhanced engine, more powerful than the Mustang at the time, and remained so until Ford upgraded their engines to the 302 cu2.

Avanti Front View

Unfortunately for the car, the problems Studebaker had resulted in the shutdown and decommissioning of the plant that produced the vehicle, leading to its untimely demise. The other plant Studebaker owned was still producing their other car lines, however nothing quite lived up to the Avanti. The Avanti name was then bought by a man named Nate Altman, along with his business associate Leo Newman – but they bought more than just that. They bought the body molds, they bought the parts, they bought the toolds, and the South bend factory (well a part of it) so that the Avanti would stay in production. Production continued by what can only be called extreme detail, as each one was hand built by the employees until 1987 – each batch was very small and throughout the years the engines were updated – but the main frame and basis remained the same. In 1987 they changed frames to a GM frame – but changed to another in 1989. In 1991 production went to a standstill, then to finish off Avanti a fire started and burned what was left of their manufacturing capabilities – in the American Market.

Avanti Rear View

However, the Avanti is still in production, in Mexico. 150 are created each year using the same hand-building methods of the U.S. plant and in 2004 they switched from the GM chassis/engine combination to a more updated Ford chassis/engine combo. Two models are currently offered, the Avanti Coupe and the Avanti Convert.

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