View Full Version : tin versus glas and never the twain shall meet

05-22-2008, 10:31 AM
Greetings, SDCrs,

Just reading Russ' post today about two bargain Avanti in Phoenix got me to thinking about how opinions go on this site. Here's an observation and the expectation of more wide-ranging discussion.

Our own JDP is our #1 on-line Stude trader, but he has forever insured his place in SDC forum history with the quip, "Nothing's more expensive than a cheap Avanti."

While this would really apply to any old car, the Avanti has always polarized opinion. A few loved it, most hated it, but no one could be indifferent to the styling. That the mechanics and vehicle dynamics didn't live up to the excitement of the styling reduced its supporters still further.

Here's my observation: Many SDCrs will pay the same or more to buy and even drive a tin car, especially a C/K, in far worse cosmetic condition than the maligned "cheap Avanti" and then feel no compunction about piling on with JDP's truism whenever an Avanti obviously needing work comes up for sale. True or false?

thnx, jack vines


05-22-2008, 10:33 AM
eh, in my case, false. I've seen very few Avantis for sale that I could afford that weren't either major projects or parts cars.


55 Commander Starlight

05-22-2008, 10:35 AM
I think you are a troublemaker;)
That's like asking if you want to go out with the fat sister, or the skinny sister.[:0]
You can't win here with whatever choice you make, so ignore the audience and go do what makes you happy[:p]

quote:Originally posted by PackardV8

Here's my observation: Many SDCrs will pay the same or more to buy and even drive a tin car, especially a C/K, in far worse cosmetic condition than the maligned "cheap Avanti" and then feel no compunction about piling on with JDP's truism whenever an Avanti obviously needing work comes up for sale. True or false?

http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j54/deepnhock/1937CEBearfootingArtwithLabelgif-1.jpg http://www.racingstudebakers.com/avatar_01.jpg http://community.webshots.com/user/deepnhock

05-22-2008, 11:37 AM
Two points (from an admitted Avanti owner):

Yes, it's true that:
Avantis are expensive to restore. They have higher performance engines than most Studes plus disk brakes and many have systems (AC, etc) not found on many other cars of the period. Complexity and modern features come at a price...(Model Ts ..or most trucks...don't have PS, PB, AC..so guess what, you don't have to restore those expensive systems :D Not having anything saved me a fortune on my Bearcat).

Many Avantis have been neglected over the past 45 years.(Their relatively low value hasn't made it financially worthwhile to restore them). So a lot out there are projects. Even great restored cars are cheap compared to other muscle/personal luxury coupes.

Many of their systems aren't THAT much more expensive than their more basic Stude brothers...after all they share many of the same systems.
Restoring a ratty 57 GH to show condition wouldn't be cheap either.

And you don't see people spending stupid money on body rust repairs. I'm not sure if their frames are any worse than any post 53 Stude. How many times do we see people on this forum griping about rusty floors, trunks, front fenders?

So IMHO, JDP's advice is fairly sound...but I don't think he meant it as a cheap shot against Avantis.
The same can be said for restoring ANY car.

PS: If he did mean it as a cheap shot...I'll note he promptly cashed the check I sent him for my new interior kit...:D

63 Avanti R1 2788
1914 Stutz Bearcat
(George Barris replica)

Washington State

05-22-2008, 12:33 PM
I'm on my second 55 Coupe. The first was a C code and it was put together with fiberglass matting and pop riveted coke cans (30 years ago). Now I'm doing a K-code and thanks to Classic Enterprises my doors will stay closed and my seat won't be rockin'. If you love your car, and Avantis need love too, you'll do the right thing.

05-22-2008, 12:40 PM
I like both. An early Avanti II that I saw in '69 while visiting Houston with my family (I was 5) was the first car to really grab my attention and stoke my automotive fires. At some point I'd love to get an Avanti. Make that an Avanti II. I'd probably look at Chevy power and be seduced by a wayward LS2 [}:)].

Tom - Mulberry, FL

1964 Studebaker Daytona - 289 4V, 4-Speed (Cost To Date: $2125.60)

http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i280/Swifster/rollingpi.gif http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i280/Swifster/The%20Daytona%20File/Avatar%20Size/01-01-05TheStartingPoint.jpg http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i280/Swifster/The%20Daytona%20File/Avatar%20Size/07-17-07FrontClipRemoved.jpg http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i280/Swifster/The%20Daytona%20File/Avatar%20Size/04-11-08CoolingFan.jpg

05-22-2008, 01:49 PM
You are correct, the quip was not meant as a cheap shot, just a warning. Again, if you buy a cheap Avanti, needing paint, interior and maybe hog troughs or frame and more, you'll find out for yourself. With decent cars trading in the 10-15K range, the 5K car will end up seeming less a bargain then you thought based on my hard learned lessons. Take the 6K Avanti II as a example and add 3-5K for hog troughs and maybe frame before you even get warm.
I won't even buy a Avanti with a rough interior with all it's warped cardboard panels. There must be dozens of little vinyl bits that are hard to install.


05-23-2008, 10:29 AM
Thanks for the replies.
As Jeff alluded and as I always say: "Your car, your money, your decision," but on this forum we are continually asked for advice. My point was and is to ask if my perception is correct - of those on the forum, many will leap to advocate for investing in saving the rustiest and rattiest of the C/K/GT cars while warning against a similar or less-trashed Avanti.

In the process of finishing a custom C-body and bringing along an Avanti, I would say, other than the AC, which no C/K-body had OEM, an average Avanti can be brought to presentable, drivable condition for the same or less money than an average east-of-the-Mississippi C/K/GT. JMHO, but an R2 Avanti usually costs less to restore than the typical eastern '57-58 GH/'58 PH or '64 Super Hawk.

In the end, as Bob Dylan says, "Nothing was revealed," but I did thing it worth thinking about.

thnx, jack vines


05-23-2008, 02:06 PM
quote:Originally posted by PackardV8

Thanks for the replies.

In the process of finishing a custom C-body and bringing along an Avanti, I would say, other than the AC, which no C/K-body had OEM, an average Avanti can be brought to presentable, drivable condition for the same or less money than an average east-of-the-Mississippi C/K/GT. JMHO, but an R2 Avanti usually costs less to restore than the typical eastern '57-58 GH/'58 PH or '64 Super Hawk.

thnx, jack vines


C/K models did come with factory installed air conditioning. True, it still looks like an add-on/dealer installed unit, but A/C was a factory option on some C/Ks. Even in an Avanti, the A/C is not an integrated unit, but is just like an add-on unit except that the unit is built into the center stack.

Gary L.
Wappinger, NY

SDC member since 1968
Studebaker enthusiast much longer

05-23-2008, 02:52 PM
Hi, Gary,

You are, of course, correct. Packard was the first manufacturer to offer OEM AC, around 1939 and Studebaker was the last. What was it in C/K, around 1959? I've never actually seen AC on a factory build sheet for a C/K, but it did exist on the option sheet. By the time the '62 GTs came along, it was not as unknown. Anyone venture a guess as to the percentage of C/K cars with AC?

Next, someone will take me to task for differentiating GT Hawks from the earlier K-bodies, but to me, they are completely different animals.

thnx, jack vines.


05-23-2008, 03:29 PM
I think 1956-57 was the first year for C-K's with factory air.


05-23-2008, 03:38 PM
Not a great pic, but here's a '58 Golden Hawk with factory (dealer?) air. Yes, it has the power steering pump driven off of the generator.


Matthew Burnette
Hazlehurst, GA

05-23-2008, 04:26 PM
IIRC, the '56 President could theoretically be had with AC, but I've never seen any C/K earlier than '58 with factory AC. Can anyone document a '56 or '57 build sheet with AC?

thnx, jack vines


05-23-2008, 04:35 PM
A quick search found one 56 Golden Hawk with AC was built.
http://www.1956goldenhawk.com/, and I've seen a few 57's.


05-23-2008, 06:01 PM
Hi, JDP,

I will defer to your experience with '57 GH with AC.

I've seen Frank's list showing one '56J with AC built, but as Frank Ambrogio himself says,
quote:While researching those production orders, it became increasingly obvious that they do contain many errors. There were also many items listed which raised some questions. It might have been built just that way, but I'm still waiting for more documentation and confirmation. FWIW, there are a couple of '56J owners with the Packard Caribbean 2x4bbl intakes who will swear the original owner bought it that way.

We've all seen many Studes advertised with "Factory Air" and a quick look makes a dealer-installed or aftermarket unit.

thnx, jack vines.


05-23-2008, 06:08 PM
I can't argue with JP's logic. I paid $3500 for my Avanti because at the time that's all I could earmark for a car. Could I have gotten one that didn't need all the work, absolutely. Would I have spent money on that one anyway? Definitely. If I kept it for 13 years like I have kept my R2 would it need a good re-furbishing?Probably. Would I have ended up spending the same money? More than likely.

In JP's case, fast turnover dictates the buy. I manage a new car dealership. Give me a good $3500 used car that's relatively clean and I can turn it for a $3000 retail profit or a fast $1,000 wholesale deal versus trading a $20,000 BMW and sitting with it to make $1500 hoping it makes it off the lot without a service light coming on. Same premise. $1500 Lark that needs attention but will sell quickly for $6,000 or a $6000 Avanti that will take 10K to bring $13,000?

But let's assume that the buyer is not looking to turn it over and chooses carefully. Is the car really more to restore than a comparable vehicle, say a Hawk GT. Would you not agree that a rusted 6K hawk may not be the bargain it appeared to be. It's not fair to compare it to a 6 cylinder cruiser and while the beautiful 53 Coupes may be simpler mechanically I will leave it to the forum to tell me if there is a cheap one out there to buy in the first place and in the long run will it cost less to restore than almost any Avanti?

In defense of the Avanti from a hobbyists view and not strictly for resale. In most cases there's less chrome to deal with, mechanical parts except for blowers and R2 specific pieces might be a little more expensive but with options like the Turner system for brakes on Avantis and other Studes you could call the brakes a wash. The interior, well I did mine myself. It needed EVERYTHING, $2,000 for the pieces and lots of sticky fingers from gluing things together but I did it, including the seats. Paint and body about $6,000 total with me dis-assembling the car and putting it back together. I spent about $2,000 for the missing supercharger and mounting pieces, rebuild of the blower core and 3725S Carter carb. I found everything, except the interior, quite simple and straightforward. And, having done the interior once I could easily do another without too much difficulty. I had the rear glass in and out a couple of times and the windshield took no more than an hour to pop back in.

Now, I'm sure I'm well into the 40K range as far as money SPENT, I love when someone says they have 40K INVESTED in their car, but I've owned the car since 1995 and continue to play with it. most of the mechanical bits are new or rebuilt and I buy spares whenever the opportunity presents itself. And, if I were to have left it alone and not tried to personalize it as much as I have it would have saved me probably $12-15K ( the 700R4 learning curve was steep and expensive and the Nimesh blower and HO pulleys were certainly not a necessity ).

I actually think the right cheap Avanti could be one of the great automotive bargains. An Avanti II with a solid frame, presentable paint and a driver quality interior for around $10-12K could be a fun ride with just maintenance costs to worry about. Check the frame and underbody supports, remove the stainless trim on the A pillars to check the window frame and you should be good to go. Since Avanti II's could be custom ordered you don't have to do the interior, if needed, with "correct" materials or colors. The Chevy motor? Nothing in the automotive world could be cheaper to rebuild.

Now, being in the Northeast, a restored metal car may need to be re-restored in the course of ownership. I've seen plenty of expensive paint jobs with the beginnings of rust bubbling through their sanded smooth paint surfaces. At least I know that as long as I keep my hog troughs clean and treated, my frame free of mud build up that my car could sit in the rain for a month and not have to worry about the quarters rusting ( it doesn't though ).

I drive my car a lot, drag race the car, and push it har

05-23-2008, 06:56 PM
As a postscipt and to address Jack's original question a little better than my rambling reply. Visiting this forum over the years I think there are Stude people and Avanti people much like there are Chevy people and Corvette people. A passion for one does not necessarily mean there will be desire for the other.


05-23-2008, 07:30 PM
12K for a Avanti does not fit my cheap Avanti profile. That's about right for a decent car.


05-23-2008, 07:34 PM
I was figuring inflation (G)

05-23-2008, 08:09 PM
Let's make the cut off and under 8K with exception for the occasional real bargain car as a "cheap Avanti":)


05-23-2008, 09:12 PM
Just so you know I agree with you completely on the "cheap Avanti.." but to relate to Jack's question. What would you consider a cheap Hawk GT? And if you were to restore that Hawk would it be more or less expensive than a comparably priced Avanti. Never mind that the value of the Hawk will be greater than the Avanti. I think what Jack was questioning is why faced with a comparison like that this forum would rally behind the potential Hawk purchase and discourage the Avanti purchase. Just for discussion

Did I get that right, Jack?


05-23-2008, 09:57 PM
Exactly right, Ernie. ;)

thnx, jack vines


05-23-2008, 09:59 PM
Again, a cheap GT Hawk is a different animal. 4-5K will buy you a rust free GT, needing paint and interior and no frame or hog trough rust issues. The GT's interior is half the money, and other parts are cheaper too. Trust me, if I could make as much money buying cheap Avanti's as I do cheap GT's they'd be lined up in my driveway.:)
I'm doing a Avanti right now that I bought for 12K that's likely to be a break even project, so even decent Avanti's may not be on the menu for me at least.