View Full Version : Avanti Owner Heart Attack:

12-12-2015, 01:55 AM
Hi all!

Looking for any information (specifically the car's serial number) regarding the smashed Avanti featured on page (186) in Raymond Loewy's 'Industrial Design'. The best image's accompanying description is as follows:

"This snapshot was taken after the owner of an Avanti, driving at high speed on a California freeway, died of a heart attack at the wheel. The car turned over several times, but the built-in roll bar remained intact. The driver had no passengers, but they might well have survived wearing seat belts."

I'm interested in the car's history and its importance in highlighting the effectiveness of the inbuilt roll bar. Any information or potential sources would be great.

Mitch Arbrew
Melbourne, Australia.

12-12-2015, 07:10 AM
Think that car was actually rebuilt. I may have read about it it a later AOA newsletter. It was amazing, I don't think the bucket seats were even skinned up.

12-12-2015, 07:16 AM
I know the article you need, but can't find it yet. Here's a good pic posted by Richard Quinn last March


t walgamuth
12-12-2015, 07:57 AM
Hard to imagine that car was rebuilt!

12-12-2015, 08:10 AM
Hard to imagine that car was rebuilt!

Yeah, I don't believe this is the one that had the article written on it

12-12-2015, 10:45 AM
That wrecked Avanti on page 186 of Indusrial Design was rebuilt using a new donor body previously owned by Chrysler to study assembly techniques. The Avanti was owned by Lloyd Watts of Colorado Springs but unsure if Lloyd had it rebuilt himself.
I recall driving in that car with a couple of Aussie friends back in 1978 & it was in fine condition. Any recorded numbers on the car may be found in a old member roster. Lloyd himself left us a few years ago.

12-12-2015, 10:54 AM
R-4193, It was an R2.

Paul K.
12-12-2015, 11:52 AM
Is the Avanti roll bar solid or tube steel?

Always thought it looked a little lightweight. Proofs in the pudding. They work!

12-12-2015, 02:06 PM
The thing that stood out in the above picture was the completely missing gas tank. Where the heck did that end up? Intact or gasoline spilled out all over the place? They appear to have been quite lucky to avoid a very bad fire situation.

12-12-2015, 02:08 PM
Built just like the frames, in a spot welded hat section.

12-12-2015, 02:24 PM
here's the tale..


stude dude
12-12-2015, 06:14 PM
Hey Mitch, welcome to the forum. That particular Avanti was shown in a more recent Collectible Automobile article on the design of the Avanti. It appears to still be a very nice car.


12-12-2015, 09:20 PM
Lloyd Watts had the car at a SACSDC meeting at a campground in St David, AZ about 20 years ago. He brought those pictures showing the wreck and the rebuild. It was Turquoise with matching interior. As he was leaving, he stood on it so we could hear the windup. What a sound and car!

Lloyd just showed the picture but did not tell us about the rebuild. Lloyd had some very interesting cars: 55 Speedster, 1917 Big Six 7 Passenger Touring, 1930 President Eight, the Avanti, 1950 Commander Convertable and others. Lloyd always said he had a 10 car garage with a house attached.

Sorry, I don't have any other information about the car but I did see many years ago.

Bob Miles
Tucson AZ
Home of Lazarus

12-13-2015, 05:05 AM
Wow I can't believe the wealth of information behind the car! Is there any further information on the car featured in the photo by Richard Quinn last March? The rear end damage on that vehicle is possibly as extensive as the damage suffered by the front of the car featured in the Colorado smash!

Thanks for all the feedback, it's fascinating stuff!

12-13-2015, 08:12 AM
I know the article you need, but can't find it yet. Here's a good pic posted by Richard Quinn last March


What is that, a Dodge station wagon that the Avanti hit in the background?

12-13-2015, 08:42 AM
What is that, a Dodge station wagon that the Avanti hit in the background?

Looks like it to me. http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/showthread.php?87468-Avanti-bodymans-special

12-14-2015, 02:20 PM
Does anyone know where the car is now? I was undergoing my own serious health problems when Lloyd passed. There was a period of time when I lost contact with almost all the local Studebaker people here in Southern Arizona.

Bob Miles
Tucson AZ
Home of Lazarus