1963 Studebaker Avanti R1 - Reader Ride

By: Michael Pink, Photography by: Alastair Brook

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Michael Pink's '63 Avant R1

This is a 1963 four-speed manual R1 Avanti which I’ve had for 10 years. It has single four-barrel carburettor and is rated at about 280hp. It’s pretty much the base model.
A mate bought it in from Texas where it had been sitting for 15 years. but he didn’t do much with it and it sat in his shed for about 5 years. I’m the sixth owner and I’ve been able to track it back to the third owner in the US.

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My dad has Studebakers and I was brought up with them and always thought they were pretty cool looking. Then a friend took me for a ride in a supercharged Avanti and scared the bejesus out of me. After that I had to have one.

I got it for a good price, got it roadworthy, and drove it for a few years. In 2011, I decided to drive to a Studebaker meet in Perth (from Victoria) but when we pulled the motor out we found I wouldn’t have made to Adelaide. So the car has been rebuilt mechanically.

studebaker-avanti-onroad-rear.jpgFront and rear styling sure are talking points

The paint is as I bought it, and it’s held up pretty well considering how long it sat in sheds. It was last painted in 1971 and was originally gold but I’m not a fan of gold. I’ve re-upholstered and rewired it and the only thing I haven’t touched is the external cosmetics. Apart from the tinted glass. which I did to hide the upholstery before I did the interior, the car is pretty much stock.

studebaker-avanti-engine-bay-2.jpgStudebaker V8s were super-tough motors with forged cranks and rods and generous-size bearings

What I like most about Avantis is they are different. I can go to a car show and I’m generally the only one there with an Avanti. Most people have no idea what it is. I think there are only 50-60 on the road in Australia and I drive mine regularly, it’s not a trailer queen. I’d sell a kidney before I’d part with it.

 

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