A dealer in North Carolina has a stunning 1983 Avanti II restomod on sale for $49,000. Streetside Classics notes that the car was updated by FantomWorks, a Virginia auto restoration shop, and featured on their Velocity Channel show.
The Avanti (the name means "forward" in Italian) was shaped by famed designer Raymond Loewy and sold by Studebaker in 1963 and 1964. It was the last new car that storied brand ever introduced. As Brett Berk wrote for The Drive, base cars (called the R1) featured 240-horsepower naturally aspirated V8s. Two supercharged variants were also available—the R2 with 290 hp and R3 with 335 hp.
Promotional materials called the coupe “America’s Only Four-Passenger Performance Car.” At 16-feet long, Avantis were relatively compact for their day. They were one of the first cars to feature front disc brakes, which, when combined with a standard roll bar and padded dash, made them relatively safe. (Not that "60s-Safe" was a thing.)
A 1963 Avanti R3 set 29 speed records at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats. This included a top-speed run of almost 169 miles per hour. It was the fastest production car you buy at the time, beating not only every other American offering but also European marques like Ferrari and Porsche.
The Avanti II was created in 1965 when two former dealers, Leo Newman and Nathan Altman, bought the rights to the car from cash-strapped Studebaker. They slightly redesigned it to accept easily maintained Chevrolet V8s and hand-produced it under the name Avanti Motor Corporation. This second run of Avantis lasted until 1982, when a range of subsequent buyers stepped in, as the The New York Times details. The Avanti nameplate actually survived all the way to 2006, though final cars were based on Ford parts.
Despite its speed, looks, and practicality, the Avanti never sold well. Studebaker made less than 6,000 originals. Newman and Altman crafted another 2,251, and later owners assembled a few hundred more.
J.D. Power's NADA Guide lists 1983 Avanti IIs in excellent condition as worth $28,600. So, a buyer would have to value the modifications and basic-cable fame of the North Carolina restomod at more than $20,000. That's a stretch, but not a huge one.
Streetside Classics notes the car now comes with performance enhancements such as a 375 hp crate motor, fully independent suspension, and four-wheel disc brakes. Plus, comfort and luxury touches like a full custom interior with leather seats, birdseye maple trim, a modernized stereo and power-steering with tilt adjustment have been added.
Corvettes, Mustangs, and Camaros are all great American classics. But sometimes it's nice to drive something a little different.