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The Studebaker Avanti
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Image by sneetchbeach
The Avanti was originally produced by Studebaker in South bend, Indiana. Although they were not a huge company by Detroit standards, Studebaker had long been in the transportation business. They even built some of the original Conestoga covered wagons used to settle the West. The concept for the ’63 Studebaker Avanti was conceived by Sherwood Egbert, the president of Studebaker, who took over the company in February of 1961. He felt that an exiting and daring line of cars would help Studebaker’s struggling automotive division. What the dynamic Studebaker president wanted was a sports car or powerful ‘Grand touring car that was futuristic’. Something to really catch the public’s attention. He hired a famous industrial designer of the day, Raymond Loewy, who assembled a styling team in his Palm Springs home. In a week they had finished a 1/8 scale clay model. In April of ’61 a full sized clay model had been completed, taking only 5 weeks. The mock up featured a smooth grille-less nose, contoured hood, fenders that flowed back to a Coke bottle shaped body, and ended in a fastback truncated rear. It speaks of cars that only now are showing the same styling themes, taking their cue from aerodynamic knowledge unknown in the early sixties. Contoured leather bucket seats, big round dials sitting in a hooded instrument panel, a leather padded roll bar, all speak of sporting elegance in the Avanti interior. The sleek body was made of fiberglass.

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