Wednesday, February 22, 2012

1963 Studebaker Avanti

The Avanti finally hits the showrooms during fall 1962. Studebaker’s president Sherwood Egbert had planned to sell 20,000 of this new car before the end of the year, but the company will not come anywhere near this goal. True, the public has shown a great interest for the car, all the more after its potent demonstration of speed at Bonneville, but Studebaker struggles to fulfil the orders it has recorded: the fibreglass panels it receives from its contractor Molded Fiberglass Products (the same company that provides Chevrolet with the Corvette bodies) often do not respect the standards and simply don’t fit onto the car’s structure.

Studebaker Avanti
With limited resources, Studebaker has succeeded in presenting a brand new car, its first in ten years. A wedge-shaped coupe made of fibreglass, it has been designed by Raymond Loewy. Studebaker having only a limited choice of engines, the Avanti is powered by the largest 4.7-litre one, optionally boosted by a Paxton supercharger. All Avantis also receive bucket seats with a console-mounted gearshift, and front disk brakes - a first in the United States - provided by Bendix, under licence from Dunlop. During the summer of 1962, a supercharged Avanti has broken twenty-nine U.S. stock car records, including a speed of 271 kph on one kilometre. Despite heavy advertising of the car’s feats, sales remain below expectations due to production problems.
● Introduction: April 1962. Construction: body on separate chassis. Engine: water-cooled V-8, 4.7-litre, 240 hp, mounted at the front. Optional engine: supercharged V-8, 4.7-litre, 289 hp. Transmission: to the rear wheels through a three-speed manual gearbox. Four-speed manual and three-speed automatic gearboxes optional. Suspension: independent at the front, rigid axle at the rear. Brakes: hydraulic, to disk on front wheels, drums on rear wheels. Servo optional. Length: 488 cm. Top speed: 225 kph. Range: two-door sport coupe.

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