1963 Studebaker Avanti R4 - Reader Ride

By: Brendan Collier, Photography by: Alistair Brook

Presented by

studebaker avanti front studebaker avanti front
studebaker avanti rear studebaker avanti rear
studebaker avanti side 2 studebaker avanti side 2
studebaker avanti 2 studebaker avanti 2
studebaker avanti wheel studebaker avanti wheel
studebaker avanti sticker studebaker avanti sticker
studebaker avanti sticker 2 studebaker avanti sticker 2
studebaker avanti sticker 3 studebaker avanti sticker 3
studebaker avanti mirror studebaker avanti mirror
studebaker avanti engine bay 1 studebaker avanti engine bay 1
studebaker avanti engine bay 2 studebaker avanti engine bay 2
brendan collier brendan collier

Brendan Collier's '63 Avanti R4

 

1963 Studebaker Avanti R4

I was looking for something rarer than Ford, Chev or Holden. I had a Golden Hawk at the time and this Avanti was for sale and because it had one of only about 10 R4 engines ever built, I decided to buy it. The car was in Western Australia and it cost around $50,000 four years ago.

It had originally been owned by a Singaporean from new. He had sent it back to America around 1966 where it had the R4 engine retro-fitted by Paxton Products then it was sent back to Singapore. R4 engines were specially built for racing by Paxton, Studebaker had already closed down by ‘66.

studebaker-avanti-2.jpg

A British engineer purchased the car in the 70s to send back to England but first it went to Australia to get converted to right-hand drive. While it was here it was bought by a Studebaker club member then was eventually sold to a West Australian collector who had it for about 30 years.

R4 engines are normally aspirated with twin, four-barrel Carter AFB carbies and 12:1 compression and produced around 300hp. They had special blocks with a larger bores because the heads were specially built with bigger valves and larger ports and they can’t be fitted to earlier engines.

studebaker-avanti-side.jpg

It’s got three-speed auto – similar to the early Ford FMX gearbox design – made for Studebaker by Borg-Warner, and a Dana differential. The Dayton wires were a factory dealer option. It originally had air-conditioning but that was removed when it was converted to right-hand drive.

The shape of the Avanti is what attracted me to it but I also liked the history behind it and the fact that six blokes went to the desert for six weeks and came up with the Avanti concept, which had a lot of European styling influences. The problem was Studebaker had to use existing engines and components. But it’s a piece of art and this engine is very rare.

brendan-collier.jpg

 

Sign up to our free weekly newsletter for more unique car reviews and features plus see the latest unique and classic cars for sale.

Subscribe to Unique Cars magazine
- Print edition
- Digital edition