Items of Interest
The Elusive Year
by Fred K. Fox
On Tuesday, July 2,
l963, the slow moving Studebaker Avanti assembly line in South Bend,
Indiana ground to a halt. It would be 34 days before the line would
again start to move. At the head oh the halted line was R-4835, a
Turquoise R1 with round headlight bezels, a black interior and
automatic transmission. Almost completed, R-4835 sat collecting dust
until Monday, August 5, 1963. Since the Avanti serial number plates
were attached to the frames before the end of the line, the cars in the
line were not always in sequential serial number order. This
discrepancy allowed R-4836 and R-4837 to slip off the line on July 2nd,
while R-4835 remained unfinished.
Nominally, a halt in automobile production in
mid summer indicated that a company was taking time off so it could
make the necessary changes to put next year’s model into production.
For the Avanti, this was only partially true. To better understand the
Avanti’s situation, let’s take a brief look at the car’s history.
The Studebaker Avanti, which was introduced in
April 1962 as a 1963 model, was brought out mainly through the efforts
of Studebaker-Packard president, Sherwood Egbert ---as a high
performance grand touring car that
Studebaker hoped would breath new life into the company’s deteriorating
automobile division. Except for I 959, the automobile division had not
made a profit since 1952. There was strong initial demand for the
Avanti, but production delays - mainly because of the rush to put the
car into production and Studebaker’s inexperience with fiberglass -made
it impossible to promptly fill most of the early orders. Publicity
about these problems hurt the Avanti’s reputation, and by
the time the production problems had been ironed out, most of the early
customer enthusiasm had faded away.
In an effort to attract new
interest to the Avanti, Studebaker instigated several promotional
schemes. Most famous were the various Bonneville speed runs. Another
was the adoption of running changes. At first these running changes
were mandatory, since several design alterations were needed to
overcome the early production problems. Later, it was decided that
running changes were the best way to continually improve the Avanti.
Egbert got so carried away with the running change concept that he and
his sales people decided to discontinue identifying the Avanti by model
year. Printed material announced that “The Avanti is not designated by
model year, but incorporates changes whenever appropriate.” The
decision to abandon model year designations was more than a sales
gimmick. Early Avanti's had a serial number prefix of “63R,” but in
March 1963 the company phased out the “63” and just kept the “R” with
no year identification. The only things left that gave an
indication of the year were the various paint codes. These codes
continued to use “63” for the first two numbers (in August 1963,
“64” paint codes were phased in). Of course, states continued to
register Avanti's according to model year. This was based on when the
car was sold, not when it was produced. For instance, Studebaker
announced that “All new and unused Avanti models, when first sold at
retail and licensed or titled after the October 1 (later changed to
September 1), 1963.
This well known factory photo probably shows
the R-4130 prototype car. It was later converted to R3 power and fitted
with Halibrand “ma g” wheels. Supercharged R2 and R3 models had
identification badges on the sides of the front fenders, while other
models did not.
date, will carry the registration year
designation of 1964.” In the extreme, this meant that the very first
Avanti built, if unsold, could have been registered as a 1964 model.
For this reason, the registration year of an Avanti has little relation
to when the car was built. The concept of basing the registration year
on when a vehicle was sold, instead of when it was built, was used very
effectively by Studebaker for the 2R series truck models of
1949-53.Dealers loved this method. It allowed them to update a slow
moving vehicle and sell it as a current year model, even if it had been
sitting on the lot for over a year. Today, the dating of
window stickers and other legislation has helped protect the consumer
from the updating practice.
Some of the first Avanti running changes
came in the form of new options. Fairly early in the 1963 model year
Avanti Gray was brought in as a new color. In May 1963, an all black
interior with wood grain accent panels, a wood grain Tenite steering
wheel and keystone “S” door panel ornaments were introduced as trim
option 813 BKV. This option, which was announced in Sales Letter No.
158 (dated 5/6/63), has caused considerable confusion since many people
who own early models with 813 BKV interiors think their Avant i's are
models. This confusion exists since most true 1964 Avanti's have solid
color interiors. In contrast, all 1963 Avanti's, except for the ones
with the 813 BKV option, have two-tone interiors that feature the main
color (Elk, Black, Red, Orange or Turquoise) with a Fawn accent color.
For the record, the first production cars with the 813 BKV option were
R-4236 and R-4237. Their final assembly date was May 1, 1963.
Explanations will be given later, but it should be noted now that any
Avanti between R-4236 and R-4834 that has the 813 BKV all black
interior is a 1963 model.
Other running changes made during the 1963
model year included the adoption of a radiator air intake grille and
roof drip moldings. These two improvements were also offered in kit
form for dealer installation on earlier models.
In April 1963, the
engineering department instructed the production department to assemble
an Avanti with no interior trim, no headlights and no parking lights.
This odd car, serial number R-4130, came off the assembly line on April
18, 1963. It was shipped to engineering where the engineering and
styling departments used it as a guinea pig for a whole series of
proposed running changes. It was fitted with a pre-production 813 BKV
interior, thick front seat backs, round console knobs, new grooved
rubber sill plates, louvered interior air vent openings, tilt steering
wheel, grille, drip moldings, square headlight enclosures (usually
called “square headlights”), revised parking lights with single clear
lenses and amber bulbs, revised battery location that allowed the use
of a standard sized battery, plus many other minor items. This car,
which still survives, was used for 1964 publicity shots, converted to
R3 power by the Granatellis and used by Egbert. Robert Doehler handled
most of the styling changes made on R-4130.
The 813 BKV interior
option, drip moldings and grille were, as indicated, quickly put into
production, but the other items were shelved until the July shutdown.
The Avanti assembly line stoppage between July
2, 1963 and August 5,
1963 allowed dealers time to sell some of the stockpile of excess
Avanti's. It also gave the production department a chance to phase in
more of the changes that had been tried Out on R-4130. When most
automobile companies make significant styling changes, they instigate
the changes on a certain car and then continue them on every car
made after that.
Not so with the Avanti. Since Studebaker was using the “running change”
method of development, the production department, even with the line
shut down for over a month, felt no need to instigate all the new
changes on any particular car. Sitting at the head of the halted line
was our friend R-4 835. Since this Avanti was almost completed, it was
not a candidate for revisions. Further down the line was R-4878. This
car still lacked its console controls, so it became the first car to be
fitted with round control knobs (R-4875 also received the new knobs,
but it was evidently further down the line). Next was R-4879. This car
lacked its interior hardware and exterior emblems, so it received the
new interior door handles, new door lock levers, new sill plates, new
quarter window latches, new hinged trunk hatch lid, new silver “S” hood
ornament and new “Supercharged Avanti” fender emblems.
Studebaker Designer Bob Doehler called this interior keystone door
panel emblem “Pirate’s Buckle.” First introduced on the 813 BKV
option, it was later made standard on all models.
following is a list of the upcoming bimonthly feature articles. Photo
submissions should avoid showing non-authentic items.
COMMANDERS FEBRUARY 1988
STUDEBAKER OCTOBER 1988
welcome clear and sharp photos of authentic cars or trucks that you
currently own or once owned that match any of the upcoming feature
articles. The company making our color separations will now accept
color transparencies for our covers, but 8”Xl0” (or 8”X12’) color
prints are still preferred since they give us a better idea
of what the final
product will look like. Technical articles or short interesting stones
(typed pages are appreciated!) are also welcome. Please read over
carefully the Feature Article News” in the April 1985 Turning Wheels
(pages 3 and 13-14) before making a photo submission. If you do not
have the April issue, write Fred K. Fox for instructions. Send all
contributions to Fred K. Fox 13150 El Capitan Way, Delhi, CA 95315.
As mentioned in the
main article, numerous changes were made during the transition from
1963 to 1964 Avanti's. Many of the serial numbers at which these
were made are given in the December 1963 Avanti Parts Catalog. Possibly
not all the numbers are exactly correct. If any reader owns or knows of
any Avanti that disproves any of the following numbers, I would
appreciate hearing from him or her. It should be rioted that when the
Parts Catalog says “after serial number _______,“ the change started
with the number listed, not one after It. We know that many items, such
as square headlights”
(see box), wore only
intermittently produced.. during the first I ow days after they were
introduced. because of this, cars with higher serial numbers than the
ones listed may have been fitted with the older items. Late 1963 and
early 1964 models with the 813 BKV option had many of the wood grain
items. The serial numbers of many of those 813 BKV cars were less than
the starling “wood grain” serial numbers listed here. This is because
the numbers listed are for standard equipment items, not optional
items. This list, since it concerns 1964 models, does not include the
running changes made during the early part of the 1963 model year.
Starting with Serial Number
Red & black carpet
switched to all black
Turquoise & black
carpet switched to all black
Orange & black
carpet switched to all black
Drip moldings adopted
Fawn & black
carpet switched to all black
instrument panel adopted
Wood grained automatic
transmission shift plate adopted
non-automatic transmission shift plate adopted
New console package
compartment lid adopted
Wood grained air
conditioning backing plate adopted
Round console knobs
New straight inside
door handles adopted
More rounded inside
door lock handles adopted
Rear quarter window
latch backing plate adopted
Door sill plate design
changed from round circles to straight lines R-4879
emblem changed from “Supercharged” to
Hood emblem “5”
changed from gold to silver
Hinged trunk hatch lid
New parking light
lenses with clear lens and amber bulb adopted R-4892
Hood support moved
from left to right
increased in size
Long battery replaced
by standard size battery
Vent intake added to
raised part of cowl
Kick panel vent intake
covers changed from mesh to
plastic louvers wire
Extra rear window
molding hold-down clips adopted
Manifold pressure gage
face colors reduced
Thick cushions on the
backs of the front seats adopted
(1) Drip molding and
grille kits were made available for dealer installation on
models, so their existence on early cars is not something out of the
(2) We know that
R-4875 also has round knobs.
proposed changes, such as the square head light enclosures, and the new
battery space, would have to be adopted on fiberglass bodies that were
not yet completed. The first body to receive these changes ended up
mounted on the chassis with serial number R4892. (There is a slim
possibility that R-4876 was also produced with some of the body
changes.) R-4892 got the new square headlights, revised parking lights,
altered battery space, right hood support, larger hood insulator, extra
cowl vent, louvered interior vents and improved for the second time
rear window hold down clips.
Since Studebaker never made an effort to
keep its bodies in sequential order when they were mounted on the
chassis, an interesting thing happened when production resumed in
August 1963. First, R-4835 rolled off the line on the 5th. On the 8th,
R-4878 and R-4879 with their trim changes came off the line. The next
day R-4892, the first square headlight car, was completed. But because
of the mixed up bodies, it was not followed by a square headlight car.
Between August 9th and August 20th, square and round headlight cars
were mixed as they came off the line. After August 20th, no more round
headlight Avanti's were produced. (Sec the “Square Headlight
box ) more details.) Sales Letter #170 (dated 8/21/63) indicated that
“Round Headlights” could be ordered as a no charge option. After
considerable research, it is this writer’s opinion that any round
headlight orders and there could only have been a few made after August
20, 1963 were filled from the large supply of stockpiled round
headlight Avanti's already assembled. Production orders indicate that
some round headlight models produced in the summer of 1963 had options
added or deleted after they came off the line. These changes were made
to make the cars fit dealer orders. With the adoption of the square
headlights, Studebaker had a hard time selling the remaining round
headlight models they had in stock. This is undoubtedly why they
offered the round headlight “Option.” Many of the last round headlight
models produced were not shipped from South Bend until late 1963 or
early 1964. For instance, R4878, the first car with round console
knobs, was not shipped (mm South Bend until January 22, 1964, almost
one month after the last Studebaker Avanti was produced. Most of these
late round headlight cars were eventually sold at. highly discounted
The only significant change on R-4130 that was still left for adoption
was the thick front seat backs. These, in somewhat different form than
on R4130, were put into production on R-5361, a car that was completed
on September 30, 1963. R-5361 was also the first car painted Avanti
Maroon. Before being sold, it was used as a display car in the
Administration Building’s lobby. The last Studebaker Avanti, a white
R3, was completed on December 26, 1963. This car, which survives in
excellent original condition, was serial number R-5643.
Now to the problem. Although Studebaker
decided in March 1963 to discontinue model year identification of the
Avanti, some type of year identification had to be established.
Certainly the haphazard state registration method based on sale date
was and is unacceptable. Studebaker dealers, used car dealers,
Studebaker record keepers and most of all, Studebaker enthusiasts
wanted some way, based on serial numbers, to differentiate a 1963
Avanti from a 1964 Avanti. American automobile tradition, especially in
the 1950s and 1960s, demanded that every car have a given model year
identification. For the Studebaker Avanti, there are three possible
positions that can be taken.
Position 1 This position is based on the
contention that the production halt between July 2, 1963 and August 5,
1963 was the breaking point between 1963 and 1964 models. Since most of
the “running changes” were adopted after this break and the break was
during the traditional model change over period, this choice has a
strong following. It was the one chosen by SASCO (Studebaker Automobile
Sales Corporation) in 1968 when they prepared their detailed production
figure tables. They listed 1964 Avanti production as 809. By
subtracting 809 cars from the serial number of the last Avanti built,
we come up with our old friend R-4835 being the first 1964 Avanti
built. As explained, R-4835 was the first car finished on August 5,
1963, the day production was resumed after the summer break. A slight
flaw in this method shows up when it is noted that the SASCO people
forgot to delete the two serial numbers after R-4835 (R-4836 and
R-4837). These are the two out of sequence cars that slipped off the
line on July 2, 1963. This means that actual production after the
summer break was 807 cars. The 807 figure is more accurate, but the 809
figure is acceptable since it starts at a definite serial number
(R-4835) and continues without interruption. The 809 number has been
printed in many publications and is the figure used in the production
table and other boxes in this article. Cars R-4836 and R-4837 (the ones
finished on July 2, 1963) were not shipped from South Bend until
January 1964, so there is nothing wrong in including them in the 1964
The interior of a “thin seat” 1964 Avanti. thick seat backs were the
last major Studebaker Avanti addition.
Thick seat backs were the last major Studebaker Avanti addition.
Upper Left: This is the interior view of an
interesting 1964 Avanti owned by member David Ridge of Hawesville,
Kentucky .It is R-4875. Although it has the 1963 style two tone Deluxe
interior, it has wood grain panels and round knobs on the console
controls. It was the next to last Avanti built with the non-pleated
Deluxe interior. The round console knobs on this car prove that this
feature existed at least three cars before the Parts Catalog said they
were introduced! The inside door handles and door lock levers are the
1963 style. David has owned this car since new.
Upper Right: An engine shot of David Ridge’s
R2 Avanti (R-4875). This early 1964 model has round headlights, thus it
has the left hood support and long battery. The radiator cap, as David
noted, is different from the original “eared” style.
Our front cover brings back memories of 1964. Sliding into the space
between the 9162 Lark Daytona convertible and the 1952 Buick sedan is
the Kaiser family’s prize winning “thick seat” 1964 Tourquoise R2
Avanti (r-5392). Also parked at Rich’s Drive-in in Brentwood,
is a 1964 Corvette and a number of Circa 1964 trucks. In the passenger
seat of the Avanti is long time SDC member Steve Kaiser of Oakley,
California. The Roller skating carhop near the Buick is Steve’s wife
Sara. The Daytona also belongs to the Kaiser family. Special thanks to
Steve Kaisetr for making the arrangements for this nostalgic photo.
The back cover car is a Gold 1964 R1 Avanti (R-5311) that is part of
the Fox family collection in Delhi, California.
Right: Avanti view of the Kaiser family’s 1964 Avanti (R-5392).
The production orders in South Bend do
not indicate which cars were fitted with ‘square head lights” and the
later style parking light lenses. —Actually, all Studebaker Avanti's
round head-lights, but the later ones with square headlight
usually called “square headlight” models. Square headlight models also
normally came with a right side hood support, normal size battery and a
full size hood insulator. The 1963-64 Avanti Parts Catalog indicates
that square headlight models started with serial number R-4892. If one
counts from [1-4892 to the last Avanti built, one arrives at 752
Avanti's built with square headlights. The problem is that although
R-4892 does have square headlights, many Avanti's built after it have
round headlights. By contacting several Avanti owners between R-4892
and R-501 0, we have been able to come very close to determining which
cars were fitted with square headlights. Body numbers are no help, but
two other items do help. From R-4892 to R-4948, all cars that were
fitted with square head lights used the 1964 production order item
numbers and 1964 paint codes, while the round head light models in that
range used 1963 numbers and codes. After U4948, 1964 numbers arid codes
were used for all Avanti's. Since we know that some round head light
models wore built alter [1—4948, another method of differentiation was
needed. The answer was found in the line number” printed on the
production orders. The first group of 15 square headlight models
(intermittently - between serial numbers 4892 and 4973) were all built
for car shows and other special purposes. Except for the Sears Allstate
cross-country car (R-4938, line #218), all these square headlight
models had line numbers from 3992 to 4005. Round headlight models built
during the same period had smaller line numbers. From contacting
various Avanti owners, we feel the switch from round to square
headlights on regular production models was made between line number
3982 (serial number 4996—a round headlight model) and line number 3990
(serial number 5004 — originally a square headlight model). Hoping that
the person in charge liked working by tens, we will guess that the
change was made at line number 3990 (serial number 5004). The following
list is based on this estimation. If the estimation is correct, then we
can say that there where 655 1964 Studebaker Avanti's built with square
headlights (this figure does not include the prototype). If anyone has
information that conflicts with the list, please contact Fred K. Fox
(13150 El Capitan Way, Delhi, CA 95315).
of Square Headlight Studebaker Avanti's
R-4892 Photo Publicity Car
Paris Show Car
Oregon Show Car
Sears Allstate cross-country car
San Francisco Show Car
Los Angeles Show Car
Texas Show Car
Kansas City Show Car
Atlanta Show Car
Press Review Car
Devon, PA Show Car
Allison Park, PA Show Car
New Jersey Show Car
Chicago Show Car
“To Engineering” (2)
Regular Production (3) 3990
R-5005-R5643 All Square Headlights
(1) R-4892, according to the Parts Catalog, was the first
production Avanti to have square headlights. This car which was one of
the special publicity cars belongs to Minot Percy of Marblehead,
Massachusetts. We have confirmed that it does have square headlights.
(2) R-4973 was the last special square headlight model built. It
is now owned by member Dennis Day of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
(3) If our estimate is correct, this is the first regular
(produced for sale directly to a retail customer) production square
headlight model built. It was purchased new by member Bea Hartigan of
Huntington, New York. Shortly after purchase, the car was damaged in
the front. When Bea had it repaired, she chose to have it rebuilt with
round headlight panels and trim. Since she is the original owner, we
were fortunately able to get correct information about the headlight
history of this car.
(4) Starting with serial number R-5006, a whole new range of much
smaller (starting with number 173) line numbers were used. The Allstate
car, although built earlier, was assigned one of these smaller line
Note: Sales Letter No. 170 (dated August 21,
1963) indicates that round headlights could still be ordered, but it is
estimated that after August 20,1963, any orders for round headlights
were filled from the large stockpile of round headlight cars already
Position 2 This position is the “silent” one
taken by the production department in August 1963. Although Egbert had
them do away with the “63” from the serial numbers, the production
department continued to use 1963 Studebaker production order item
numbers and, as mentioned, 1963 Avanti paint code numbers. When
production resumed on August 5, 1963, they initially let the round
headlight models go by with the 1963 production order item numbers and
paint codes, but— up to serial number R-4948 — they assigned all square
headlight models that came down the line the new 1964 Studebaker
production order item numbers (for instance, Twin Traction was “50” in
1963 and “77” in 1964) and 1964 Avanti paint codes. After R-4948, both
square and round headlight models were assigned the 1964 item numbers
and paint codes. Altogether, 696 Studebaker Avanti's were produced with
the 1964 item numbers and paint codes. A major problem with this method
is that it does not provide a definite serial number starting point.
From serial number R-4892 to R-4948 (August 9, 1963 to August 15,1963)
cars were produced with both 1963 and 1964 item numbers and paint codes.
A “square” headlight.
Position 3 This position is the simplest, but
the least accepted. It assumes that the only 1964 Avanti's are those
that came from the factory with square headlights. These
were the same models that could use a standard size battery, had a
right side hood support, and used the one-piece clear parking light
lenses. A total of about 655 Studebaker Avanti's were built with square
headlights (see the “Square Headlight Enclosures” box for more
details). A weak point with this position is that quite a number of
round headlight models have been converted to square headlights. This
happened mainly because round headlight repair panels and trim became
unavailable shortly after Studebaker Avanti production ended. It should
be noted that only the square headlight Avanti's were assigned the
S.A.E. “64” identification on their headlight and parking light
Well, how many 1964 Avanti's were built? Were
there 809,807,696 or 655? At this time, the 809 figure has the greatest
following. If any number less than 809 is accepted, people who own
transition cars would have to start calling them 1963 models. This
would meet with strong resistance since it has been an assumption of
long standing that these cars were 1964 models. Even now, it is
difficult to convince some owners of true 1963 Avanti's which
originally sold in the 1964 model year and registered as ‘64s that
their Avanti's are really 1963 models.
Other dividing points between
1963 and 1964 Avanti production have been suggested, but evidence is
lacking to support their adoption.
Of course, Sherwood Egbert, if he
was here to tell his story, would explain that all this discussion is
purely academic, for there were neither 1963 models nor 1964 models.
There were only Studebaker Avanti's and they were designed to be
Much of the serial number information
presented in this article was unearthed by George Krem, Jr., our
current national president. George has spent many years analyzing
Studebaker production orders. He has been an Avanti fan since the day
car was introduced, and over the years he and his father have owned
several different Avanti's. They currently own two of the nine R3
Starting with the 1963 model year, the U. S.
government required that all American built cars sold in the United
States befitted with amber parking lights/front direction signal
lights. Studebaker, in 1963, met this regulation by using amber lenses
with clear bulbs. For the 1964 model year, they switched and began
using clear lenses and amber bulbs. On Avanti's, this started with the
square headlight models.
In April 1964, over three months after the
last Studebaker Avanti was produced, the company announced they were
switching back to amber lenses and clear bulbs. According to Studebaker
Service Letter J-1964-7, dated April 9,1964, the Canadian plant was
making the switch back on Lark- type vehicles because some states (New
York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, California and the District
of Columbia) were occasionally expressing dissatisfaction with the
Besides switching to amber lenses for 1964
Studebaker, In April 1964, also offered amber lenses for domestic 1964
square headlight Avanti's. These lenses, part #1360697, were listed in
the December 1963 Avanti Parts Catalog, but except for possible
installation on a few export models, there is no evidence that any 1964
square headlight Avanti's sold in the U.S. came from the factory with
amber lenses. —This fact has been examined closely by George Krem and
myself. We have found no proof that any square headlight Studebaker
Avanti sold in the U. S., including the last two built, came from the
factory with amber parking light lenses.
Quite a number of 1964 square
headlight Avanti's now have amber lenses. This is generally because
broken clear lenses were replaced with amber lenses supplied by
Studebaker or Avanti Motors (the Avanti II used amber lenses). There is
a very slim chance that a few dealers who still had Avanti's in their
show- rooms in April 1964 switched them to amber lenses. If this
happened, it is possible that somebody could have purchased a new
square headlight style 1964 Avanti with amber parking light lenses. Is
any reader aware of this happening?
Thanks to members Dave Thibeault and Dick
Quinn for providing in
formation about Service Letter J-1964-7.
Model RQ Specifications
Model Symbol R
Body Symbol Q
Horsepower 240 @ 5000
rpm 289 @ 4800 rpm 335* @ 5350
rpm 280 @ 5000 rpm
Carburetors (Carter AFB)
* With optional dual valve springs and a high-output pulley set, R3
power increased to 400 gross brake horsepower at 6000 rpm.
Shipping Weight (R1) 3140
Black block, heads, pan, pulleys,
and steering units with
breather caps (with STP
dip stick handle. The fan was
Starting serial number:
automatic transmission dip
Ending serial number:
yellow. Stainless steel was
shielding, the air cleaner
Studebaker Avanti serial number plates
are housing and R2 carb
air inlet. Most, if not all,
mounted on tile right frame side rail in front of
superchargers were orange from the factory
#1 body hold down
rebuilt by Paxton. Many 1964
the factory with a black
All Studebaker Avanti's were assembled
“Studebaker” battery with red caps. A
by the battery, an air
on the air cleaner canister
Avanti's had a silver and black
on the right valve
These engines had a red block,
and a chrome valve lifter cover
Avanti engine numbers were stamped on a boss (valley plate). The
R3 carburetor pressure box
at the top side, front end of the cylinder
block, was natural metal color. All other parts
next to the left front corner of the valve
lifter the same colors as on R1
& R2 engines.
cover (valley plate).
Avanti Black (1)
Avanti Red (2)
Avanti Maroon (3)
(1) Avanti Black
in 1964 was a “Special Order” color that cost an extra $35.50. Only 32
1964 Avanti's were painted Avanti Black.
(2) Avanti Red,
according to sales letter No. 174, was to be discontinued on October 1,
1963, but a few Avanti's that were assembled after that date were
painted Avanti Red.
Maroon was not introduced until September 30,1963.
Note: Early 1964 models with 1963 production
order item numbers used 1963 paint codes that included a “63” instead
of a “64.”
Black, White, Turquoise
Black, White, Gold, Gray,
Smoked Elk vinyl,
843 Black, White,
Metallic Red vinyl,
853 Black, White, Red,
Metallic Red vinyl was
supposed to be discontinued on October 1,1963, but a few Avanti's
assembled after that date were filled with Metallic Red vinyl.
Claret vinyl was
introduced in late August 1963.
Most 1964 Avanti's had
pleated Regal vinyl, mono-color interiors, black carpets, and wood
grained consoles and instrument panels. As in 1963, the headliner was
white, although the headliner material was different from that used on
early Avanti's. The roll bar cover, on most 64 models, matched the
of the seat upholstery. Some early 1964 models that did not have the
813 BKV option were fitted with 7 Deluxe and 9 __ Regal 1963 interiors.
R1 Unsupercharged 289
R2 Supercharged 289
See the conclusion of the main article for a thorough discussion of the
production. The 809 figure is the most accepted figure, although only
produced after the summer shut down. Studebaker’s production department
assigned 1964 production order item numbers and paint codes to 696
figure breakdowns courtesy of George Krem.
R3 & R4 Models
One of the great mystiques that surround the
Studebaker Avanti story is the super high performance R3 and R4 models
developed by the Granatelli brothers. The supercharged R3 model was
supposed to be released very early in Avanti production, but none were
actually produced until the 1964 model year. Although many after market
R3 Avanti's exist, only nine were assembled by the factory. There were
no dual carb R4 Avanti's produced by the factory. The factory also
produced one 1964 R3 Commander and one 1964 R4 Daytona. R3 Avanti's
capable, with the right final drive ratio, of exceeding 170 mph. To
this day, they are still the fastest true production cars ever marketed
by an American automobile manufacturer. Those who would like a detailed
report on R3 Avanti's should hunt up the December 1986 issue of Special
For identification, it should be remembered
Avanti engines had their carburetor enclosed in a pressure box, while
R2 engines had an exposed sealed carburetor that had its air ducted
into the top. Both R2 and R3 models were super - charged, while R1 and
R4 models were UN-supper - charged.
Here is a list of the nine
production R3 Avanti's. Serial
The engine compartment
of R-5546. This car is owned by George Krem Jr., president of SDC.
George and his father also own R-5642. Only nine production Avanti's
were produced with R3 engines.
line Studebaker color catalog PD 64-10, 81/4” (161/2”) X 11 1/2”,
(Canadian version was also PD 64-10, but it had thinner paper.)
line Studebaker color catalog PD.-64-11, 6 1/2’ X 4”, 12 pages
line Studebaker color and black and white catalog PD 64-55, 6 1/2’ X
(This is like PD.-64-11, but with an extra cover sheet that
Color and Upholstery Selector plus Features and Facts. This gold 1963
was updated with 1964 inserts.
Owner’s Guide. No year is given. The 1964 version is white with blue
red print on the cover. *
Accessories. No year is given. The 1964 version is white with blue and
on the cover. *
Chassis and Body Parts Catalog. Dated December 1963.
Workshop Manual. The 1963 manual was used for 1964.
Sales and Service Letters.
Avanti Order Guide, PD-64-02.
Factory Advertised Delivered Prices, PD 64-67
10. The big 1964
Different.., by Design show - room book only has one page (6/1) on
* Unlike the 1963
Owner’s Guide and Accessories brochures, these items had no year
printed on them. They were the product of Egbert’s “no model year”
promotion. As mentioned in the main article, the factory ended up in
August 1963 with a large stockpile of unsold 1963 Avanti's. Rather than
supply them with the dated 1963 Owner’s Guide and Accessories
brochures, they shipped them with the undated 1964 items listed here.
Because of this, the 1964 Owner’s Guide and Accessories brochures
included photos of both 1963 and 1964 models. Interestingly, 1964
Avanti Owner’s Guides were also provided—with some addendum information
— to owners of early Avanti Is. Egbert had no idea that his “no model
year” approach would help save Nate Altman a few printing bucks.
Studebaker — The
Complete Story, pages 3 17-325.
Studebaker: The Postwar Year, pages 132-143.
Century, pages 164-167, 176 -179 and 181.
literature reprints), pages 10-13 and 68-81.
(Raymond Loewy’s book), pages 86 and 180-1 96.
Autos, Jan-Feb 1976 (#32), pages • 12-21 and 60 - 61.
Autos, December 1986 (#96), pages 30-37. (R3 report and
(AOAI publication), Summer 1983 (#52), pages 7-9 (report on the
1964 prototype, R 4130).
Avanti Newsletter#1 3
(Good photos of many of the running changes)
February 1981 (Vol. 13, No. 2), pages 6-13 (1964
Motor Trend, October
1963, pages 30+31 (1964 Studebaker introduction—same
reprinted in February 1987 TW
Motor Trend, November
:1963, pages 94-97 (1964 Studebaker introduction—same
article reprinted in February 1981 TW)
Hot Rod, November1963,
page .104 (report on the Sears Allstate cross-country Avanti)
Dozens of other
articles have been written about the Studebaker Avanti, but most
only cover the 1963 models. The ones that are specifically on ‘64s
only cover the
The purpose of
this section is to review any new material that has been discovered
which affects the information presented in earlier Feature Articles.
Contributions to this section should be sent to Fred K. Fox, 13150 El
Capitan Way, Delhi, CA 95315.
February 1987 Feature
Article: 1960-64 Champ
Member David R.
Harriman of Venice, Florida has provided a lot of new information on
prewar Studebaker commercial vehicle sliding rear windows. Although
Ford trucks and Canadian Mercury trucks had sliding rear windows before
the Studebaker Champ, David has provided information that proves that
Studebaker had commercial vehicle sliding rear windows before the
1940-47 Fords mentioned in the August issue of this column. David
provided the following information:
1935 Studebaker Truck
cab: Plate glass sliding rear
1939 Parts Book
Special Equipment for
J5, KS & L5 Coupe-Express:
1939 Truck Salesman’s
Book (dated Dec. 15, 1938)
Optional rear sliding
interesting! Have any of these prewar Studebaker sliding rear windows
survived? Member Don Ellwyn of Port Coquitlam, British Columbia also
wrote in explaining the fact that sliding rear windows were an option
for 1937-39 Coupe-Express models.
In the last column, we mentioned that
member Richard Hunt reported owning 1928 Chevrolet Model LO truck with
a sliding rear window. Richard purchased the truck from the original
owner in 1938 and knows that the sliding window has been in it since
new. The ‘28’s screen side body was built for Chevrolet by Hercules
(evidently a body company and not the engine manufacturer). Dick’s
sliding window is in an oak frame with a felt weatherstrip and slides
between two flanges. A piece of spring steel is used to hold it in
place and keep it from rattling. Although the definitions are a little
vague, Dick is fairly certain that the parts for this early sliding
window are listed in a 1929 Chevrolet parts book. Well, we now have the
Champ’s sliding rear window predated by 32 years. Can we take it back
April 1987 Feature
Article: 1962 GT Hawks
Proof of a set
of factory installed narrow whitewall tires on a 1962 Studebaker has
been discovered! While looking over some 1962 production orders, George
Krem came upon a 1962 Lark V8 Daytona hardtop (serial #62V42444) that
was fitted at the factory with special order “narrow band” 6.70X15
Firestone 500 whitewall tires. These are the same tires that were
optional on the Avanti. The car’s final assembly date was June 8, 1962.
George only spotted the one car, although possibly others were shipped
with the same kind of tires. He found no Hawks with the option.
kudos to Larry Swanson, our esteemed editor. Last month’s issue marked
Larry’s 15th year as editor of Turning Wheels. Few people have the
fortitude and dedication it takes to stick with a club publication for
Larry’s first issue came out in September
covers, it only had 20 pages. The most interesting feature in the issue
was a group of pictures by Steve Jones of some of the styling study
hulks in the Studebaker “graveyard.” Among the cars for sale in
September 1972 were a nice 1953 commander Starliner for $1600 and an
“immaculate” 1963 R2 Avanti for $3200.
Our Club’s first publication,
The Presidential News- letter, was edited by Harry Barnes. Volume 1,
Number 1 of The Presidential Newsletter was published during the summer
of 1963. Other national SDC editors before Larry were Karl Haas, (Gary
Cameron and Ed Flaherty.
French, a former Southern California Studebaker dealership and a long
time west coast SASCO / Avanti Parts / Studebaker Parts associated
parts out let has been purchased by Studebaker's West, a well known
Redwood City, California Studebaker parts and repair service shop.
Frost and French’s complete inventory is being moved north to Redwood
City. Studebaker's West is owned by Herman and Carl Thorns, two long
time SDC members. Studebaker's West’s address is 335A Convention Way,
Redwood City, California 94063 - (415) 366-8787.
Frost and French
was in the Studebaker business for 63 years. For many years, the
company was run by Bob Moss and Walter Bibens. Many thanks to the
former owners for their dedicated service to SDC members, and good luck
to Studebaker's West in their expanded business.
Member Roy Nagel has
sent us information about a very special SAE (Society of Automotive
Engineers) session coming up on October 21, 1987 at the Hyatt Regency
Hotel in Dearborn, Michigan. Designers of some of the most significant
cars of the past half century have been invited to speak at the
session. Among those who will be taking part are Zora Arkus - Duntov,
father of the Corvette; Alex Tremulis, Tucker designer; Eugene T.
Gregorie, stylist on the original Lincoln Continental project; Gordon
M. Buehrig, creator of the 1936-37 “coffin nose” Cord design; and most
important to us, Robert Bourke, Loewy’s chief designer on the 1953
Studebaker Starliner and Starlight project. Probably never again will
such an esteemed list of automotive designers gather together at one
time. Today’s “used soap bar” school of design leaves little room for
the creative genius that produced the distinctive automobiles of
The session planners hope to have cars on hand
that represent the best
efforts of each designer. For more information, call Cathy Joyce at
Zavitz, in a July issue of Old Cars Weekly, corrected most of the
errors made in his April 16, 1987 article.
Oldsmobile is making a
lot of hoopla this year about being 90 years old. Studebaker passed
that milestone in 1942. Because of the war, no fuss was made about it.
A booklet was printed in 1940 that recognized Studebaker’s 88th year.
Studebaker anniversaries were also celebrated in 1902, 1927 and 1952.
This article, which includes some nice photos of member Bill Cheek’s
1961 Hawk, puts too much emphasis on the “gran turismo” advertising
theme used in 1961. The dash plaque that was fitted to some 1961 Hawks
did not include the words “Gran Turismo” and except for the plaque,
their is fl() difference between 1961 Hawks with the plaque and ones
without it. Whether a car had a plaque or not depended on whether the
dealer bothered to order one or not. Also, the exact number of plaques
distributed has not been determined. The first true Studebaker Gran
Turismo Hawk was the Brooks Stevens designed model that was introduced
for the 1962 model year.