AMT Studebaker Avanti

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Do you think any of those differences would show on a 1/25th scale model car ?

The FIRST series of Avanti II were supposedly on Studebaker frames. I've never seen one of these cars, so I don't know. I DO know that the tooling and presses to make pressed-steel factory-style frames are huge, heavy and expensive. When Stude folded, it's difficult to imagine a low-volume producer acquiring this stuff. Maybe the cars were built on stockpiled chassis....I just don't know.

The SECOND series of Avanti II were built on GM frames and running gear (El Camino, Monte Carlo and Caprice). To do an accurate rendition of one of these, you'd need the appropriate frame and guts.

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In 1961, in deep financial trouble, Studebaker's new chief executive was desperate to bring the company around and knew that they needed something dramatic and powerful to pull themselves up and back to greatness. By then, the automaker was already fifty years old and was one of the oldest car builders in the United States. The venerable giant had been losing out to Ford and Chevrolet for years and by 1961, Studebaker was hovering on insolvency.

From desperation can come greatness. The Avanti was introduced in April of 1962 at the New York auto show. The fiberglass-bodied luxury car was an immediate sensation, the four-seat personal luxury car had a price tag more than double the Chevrolet Corvette and competed with the then-new Buick Riviera at $4,445. The Avanti was very well-received, however, and the few Studebaker dealerships still remaining were flooded with orders for the car.

Egbert hoped to produce 20,000 of the cars that first year (1962, model year 1963) in the three variations offered - a base V8 in 289 cubic inches, and a Paxton supercharged R2 or R3 model. Many collectors say that the Avanti was not just a personal luxury car, but was the first of the pony cars that would dominate the blue collar muscle car scene a few years later.

Production hit continual delays, mostly due to the fiberglass fabricator chosen to do the job and their inability to keep up with demand. Delays cost Studebaker orders and customers and ultimately limited 1963-64 model year production to only 4,600 units. Production was halted and not long after, Studebaker closed its doors. Conspiracies immediately popped up, a sort of "Who Killed the Avanti?" circulation of half-truths and speculation similar to the Who Killed the Electric Car? conspiracy surrounding the Chevrolet EV1. In the end, the truth is simple: Studebaker, in their hurry to begin making the Avanti, trusted the fiberglass fabrication to a company in Ohio that was completely unprepared to meet the expected demand. Production delays, however, did not really kill the Avanti.

Rights to the design were sold to two Studebaker dealerships who went into limited production of what are now known as the "Avanti II," which used the same Lark-based frame and chassis elements, but incorporated General Motors engines and drive trains meant for the Corvette. These post-Studebaker Avantis were produced in small quantities through the 1970s and into the early 1980s. A new owner of the franchise, Stephen Blake, then produced an updated 20th anniversary car for 1983 and introduced a convertible.

Blake failed to make a go of it and sold the company to an ethanol developer named Michael E. Kelly, who resumed production in 1987 and built cars until 1991 using GM platforms for the underpinnings. It wasn't profitable, however, and Kelly closed down production. He started it up again in 2001 under a new design, being built in Villa Rica, Georgia and then moving to Cancun, Mexico. Using a Pontiac Firebird as the platform and later a Ford Mustang chassis, Kelly built cars until 2007. Then the U.S. Justice Department stepped in, charging Kelly with real estate and financial fraud and seizing his assets.

Now, the Avanti name, designs and rights are once again going up for sale. Restitution efforts against Mr. Kelly include selling off these rights as well as the avid collector's entire collection of classic cars.

Purists look to the 1963-64 models as the best of breed. Others prefer the newer upgrades made by successive builders. Regardless, the Avanti remains a true classic of American auto design. It's both timeless and undeniably classic. It's checkered past and whispered mythology only enhance its longevity. Probably its most powerful feature is the fact that it's beauty is as relevant today as it was fifty years ago. Very few cars can lay claim to this kind of timelessness.

The history of the Avanti, along with select originals and restorations, can be fully appreciated at the Studebaker National Museum in South Bend, Indiana through October 5th. The museum has published a book to accompany the exhibit, both titled Studebaker's Last Dance.

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Posted · Report post

better model builders

the Avanti was designed by Raymond Loewy.

he also designed the '53 Starlite coupe.

he ranks up there with Virgil Exner at Chrysler and

Brooks Stevens who designed the Excalibur and was

an industrial designer with many product designs that

became iconic in 40's and 50's America.

the Avanti's one interesting feature was a Paxton

supercharger.

be interesting to see if that's included in kit

have a nice day!

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the Avanti's one interesting feature was a Paxton supercharger. be interesting to see if that's included in kit


It is.

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Probably the only Studebaker V-8 engine available for early rod builders.

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Probably the only Studebaker V-8 engine available for early rod builders.

The AMT '53 Stude also has a stock V8.

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It is:

StudebakerAvantiinstructions1-vi.jpg

Things to know about the Avanti engine and the instructions in every release that I've seen - here's a couple pictures of the real thing:

2559239_1669_full.jpg

R3Eniginesideview.jpg

Notice that you can't see the distributor because of the polished guard that also covers the spark plug wires. That was standard on the Avanti along with the polished valve covers, etc. The odd thing is that the guard has always been included in the kit but they've never shown you the right way to use it - now they don't even show it. The actual distributor should only be used if you don't use the guard. It's an either/or thing. Bonus: your engine is detailed without having to install spark plug wires! The finished engine should look something like this:

studebakers006.jpg

BTW, Round2 if you're listening, this is totally unforgivable since Round2 is home-based in South Bend, IN which is the city where the Avanti (and other Studebakers) were built. Probably half the people walking down the street could tell them that it's wrong. I'll be in South Bend at the beginning of August for the Studebaker Drivers Club International Meet when SB will be flooded with Avantis and other Studes. I'm sure anybody would love to open their hood so Round2 could take a look!

The twin Paxton option represents the engine from Due Cento which was Andy Granitelli's Bonneville record car. This what that one should look like:

pj230211g.jpg

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Was the hood bulge necessary for power brake booster clearance? The twin supercharged version was referred to as the R5, correct?

I was looking at the Due Cento last night online, and 625+ horsepower was very impressive for 1963. :o

Lots of possibilities for this kit. :wub:

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Great reference pix. I will certainly save these. Many thanks.

Also notice the Ford alternator, and remember that the "polished guard" on the plug wires is electro-magnetic RF (radio frequency) radiation-shielding to prevent radio interference, similar to what is on the same period Corvettes and un-necessary on a steel-bodied car.

Casey, it sure looks like you're right in thinking the hood bulge is there to clear the brake unit, but there's really no good engineering reason (or obvious one, anyway) why the unit couldn't have been located lower. Interesting question.

Edited by Ace-Garageguy

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Posted · Report post

The hood bulge was nothing but a styling element.

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The hood bulge was nothing but a styling element.

True that. That's the Loewy-down. ;)

B)

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Just grabbed one of these kits at HobbyTown USA today.

I have to say, it looks tremendous considering this thing is such an old kit. Very little flash - in fact, it is a very cleanly molded kit. I'll get some pictures up later.

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Was the hood bulge necessary for power brake booster clearance? The twin supercharged version was referred to as the R5, correct?

I was looking at the Due Cento last night online, and 625+ horsepower was very impressive for 1963. :o

Lots of possibilities for this kit. :wub:

The twin supercharged engine is often referred to as the R-5 since it's rumored that a version of it was going to be put into (limited) production and it would be the next in the numbered series of R engines. Of course, it never even got close to production and only one was ever completed so it never officially became an R-5.

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The hood bulge was nothing but a styling element.

I like asymmetrical styling, so I had to wonder. I now see how the instrument cluster hood was part of that styling element, too:

I think this ^^^ is the Aurora version?

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The only release of the Avanti I have that omits the racing parts on the instruction sheet is the Modern Classics and even it has the Slicks and Dual Paxton option. I haven't opened the plastic package to see it the parts are there. The rest all list it as 3 in 1 on their instruction sheets. Those kits are the Grand Turismo Avanti, Reggie Jackson, Prestige and Millennuim versions.

Does the Reggie Jackson/Matchbox era kit include the five-slot Halibrand wheels?

I'm not quite sure which parts were omitted after the original issue, but according to Round2's page, this reissue features:

  • All Original Parts Restored
  • Build Stock, Custom or Slat Flats Racer
  • Retooled Optional Halibrand Factory Mag Wheels
  • Four Different Wheel Options
  • Steerable Front Wheels
  • Opening Doors
  • Expanded Original Decal Sheet
  • Vintage Box Art Packaging

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Does the Reggie Jackson/Matchbox era kit include the five-slot Halibrand wheels?

I built that one as a kid...IIRC, it only had the stock wheelcovers. I don't have the later Presige or Millenium Series reissues, so I don't know about them.

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First, Manuel, great picture of the R5 engine - best one I've seen.

Second, (I'm doing this from memory insteead of having the kit in front of me, so take this with a grain of salt), most recent reissues had all the Bonneville parts except for the Halibrand wheels, the original decal sheet, and one very small radiator filler that replaces the coolant overflow container when building the Bonneville version. We can guess that the first two are covered in the new kit, but if they get the filler tube back, I'll be really impressed.

Best regards...TIM

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if they get the filler tube back, I'll be really impressed.

Great info, Tim, thanks.

I will LYK on the filler tube in the retro reissue when it arrives. ^_^

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Does the Reggie Jackson/Matchbox era kit include the five-slot Halibrand wheels?

I'm not quite sure which parts were omitted after the original issue, but according to Round2's page, this reissue features:

  • All Original Parts Restored
  • Build Stock, Custom or Slat Flats Racer
  • Retooled Optional Halibrand Factory Mag Wheels
  • Four Different Wheel Options
  • Steerable Front Wheels
  • Opening Doors
  • Expanded Original Decal Sheet
  • Vintage Box Art Packaging

Hi Casey

In answer to your question, No - The Jackson Kit was the least optioned with mostly only Stock parts included. But this turned into more Fun than I thought it might. Turns out there were (as far as the Kits I have on hand) 4 different Chrome Trees :blink:

My earliest Kit is Kit # 2364-200 and the Five Slots weren't offered but five spoked Wheels were.

7-23-2012Avanti2364-200.jpg

Next up was the Modern Classic release there the Spoked Wheels were replaced by the Slotted Wheels. Oh and look in the lower left to the right of the Steering Wheel - The Knock Offs have been deleated!

7-23-2012ModernClassics.jpg

On too the Reggie Jackson tree looks like a Fire Extinguisher has become your optional equipment :wacko:

7-23-2012Avanti-Jackson.jpg

The last two releases I have are the Prestige and Millennium Kits which in my "collection" are the first to share a tree and the missing Knock Offs have been returned.

7-23-2012MillPrest.jpg

Edited by Crazy Ed

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Posted · Report post

That's interesting!

B)

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I just bought the new Avanti.

I have to say the new Halibrand wheels are better than the originals.They're on their own seperate chrome tree.

Yes, the racing radiator filler is in the new kit.

It has the new parts pack Firestone thin white walls and Goodyear Blue Streak Special Stock Car tires.

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This kit is another Must Have-type of kit. Hopefully those opening doors just close nicely too. :rolleyes: I know that in AMT '57 Fairlane, they didn't.

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My local hobby lobby is going to stock this kit. I will be getting everyone that they have.

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As promised last week, here are the contents (not trying to cut out Casey's pics, but I felt bad not getting to this until today):

IMG_5147.jpg

IMG_5148.jpg

IMG_5151.jpg

IMG_5158.jpg

I am pleasantly surprised how nice the parts look considering the age of the kit and how many times it has been released.

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