The Studebaker Avanti was one of Raymond Lowey’s more radical designs of the early sixties and quickly became one of the most sought after cars in the United States.  These hard top vintage performance cars had a fairly modest price tag but a sizzling top speed of over 130mph.  So their popularity was hardly surprising.

The Paxton supercharged V8 engine was a monster with incredible acceleration that could see the car race from a standing start to 60mph in just 7.5 seconds.  But for those motorists on the long straight highways of America the way the car could move effortlessly through the gears to over 100mph was the biggest wow factor of all.  The Studebaker Avanti definitely deserved its reputation for speed.

1963 Studebaker Avanti
1963 Studebaker Avanti

But the top end wasn’t the only great thing about this car. It simply looked stunning. In an age of gorgeous automobiles the Studebaker Avanti was up there with the best. The glass fibre body was finished to an eye popping standard. And the interior matched the exterior with the comfortable seats combining with the smooth ride to make long journeys a joy.

The instruments included the unique feature of a panel above the windscreen that housed the heating and lighting switches. The other instruments were housed on the beautifully styled dash and the radio was equipped with twin speakers. A fault with many stylish looking cars at the time was restricted vision but the Avanti managed to employ good looks with all round visibility.

There was a great deal of luggage space but, as you would expect with this car, what there was was stylishly presented. The trunk could be opened by the driver via a switch but there was also an inspection panel that could be opened to take out small pieces of luggage without getting out of the car. Cool or what?

Vintage Performance Cars – Studebaker Avanti Specification

Cost – $5408 (£3283)

Engine – Eight cylinders (V8), 4720cc, pushrod operated valves, 250bhp at 5000rpm, 9 to 1 compression ratio, four choke carter carburettor. Paxton centrifugal supercharger

Suspension – Helical springs, unequal wishbones and anti-roll bars (front); semi-elliptic (rear) with torque and anti-roll bars. Telescopic hydraulic dampers.

Transmission – Borg and Beck single plate heave duty clutch. All synchronised four speed gearbox, twin traction differential.

Chassis – Channel section steel side members with cross members, power assisted cam and roller sleeving. Dunlop Bendix disc brakes (front), drums (rear). Bolt on disc wheels.

Dimension – Overall length 16′, height 4’6″, width 5’10″. Wheelbase 9’1″. Ground clearance 7″. Weight 30cwt, turning circle 36.5′. 21 galleon fuel tank.

Performance – Maximum speed 133mph. Speed in gears; 1st – 42mph, 2nd – 60mph, 3rd – 88mph. Acceleration: 0-30mph 2.2 seconds, 0-40mph 3.3 seconds, 0-50mph 5.5 seconds, 0-60mph 7.5 seconds, 0-70mph 10 seconds, 0-80mph 12.2 seconds, 0-90mph 15.2 seconds, 0-100mph 17.9 seconds, 0-110mph 22 seconds.

Fuel Consumption – 10-12 mpg in traffic, 17mpg crusing.

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