Eyeballed my first Studebaker Avanti at my first Indianapolis 500 in 1962. The car was just about to be produced and was the “ceremonial” pace car for that year’s race, won by Roger Ward. A Studebaker Lark convertible was the “official” pace car.
This car looked futuristic, and still looks contemporary. Its fastback styling, edgy nose and tail and sporty dimensions made it a head turner. If only Studebaker hadn’t gone bankrupt just a few years later. But now collectors can get their own 1:43 scale resin version from Automodello, which continues to turn out some of the more rare and unusual classic cars, and in a variety of scales.
Studebaker needed what is now known as a Halo Car, one that exudes creativity and set the tone for the company. Chevy had its Corvette, and Ford its Thunderbird at the time. Avanti was Studebaker’s sports coupe, designed by a crew led by famed designer Raymond Loewy. Supposedly they had 40 days to crank out the concept and thus Avanti was born.
But Studebaker was desperate. After about 110 years in business, first as a wagon maker and after the early 1900s a car and truck maker, its sales were sagging. It had merged with Packard in the mid-1950s, but that didn’t help much and by 1962 the South Bend, Ind.-based company needed a big shot in the arm, or showroom. Continue reading Die-Cast: Automodello 1:43 1963 Studebaker Avanti→
I daydream a lot about “if money was no object” and I had a place to store them (like Jay Leno’s Garage) what five cars would I own. Of course I’d want more but in this blog entry decided to stick with five. So here you go.
I admit this is an emotional pick because I had one of these. It was my first entry into restoring cars and turned out to be a disaster. The engine blew up on me, there were holes in the floor pan and the back sail panels were mostly Bondo. I call it my $1,500 lesson. Ouch. But more on the car.
The AMX was built by American Motors from 1968-1970. Since it was a two-seater the only other car like it was the Corvette. This was one of AMC’s entries in the muscle car era although also classified sports car and touring car. It was available with a massive 390 V8 and one version pumped out and incredible 420 hp! I picked this year because I had one and it was the last and was built in small numbers, around 2,000 making it the most collectible of the AMX’s. A really good one right now would go for around 25 grand.
1963 split-window Corvette
I love all Corvettes so it was tough to narrow it down to just one. I picked the ’63 because these are rare finds now since they only made them that one year. Legend has it that Corvette chief engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov never liked the split rear window because it blocked rear vision, but Bill Mitchell thought it to be a key part of the entire design. In the end Duntov won out and it was gone the next year. This was also the first year when they began designating them Sting Rays. According to Hagerty’s price guide, a split-window Z06 (big tank) with the 327cid/360hp F1 L84 will dent you for $335,000. But wait, money is no object, right?
1969 Camero SS
This was the last year of the first-generation Cameros. Remember, Ford had already beaten Chevy to the gun with the Mustang. Chrysler and AMC also fielded entries. I picked the SS version because of the power option, an 8-cyl. 396cid/375hp 4bbl L89. Wheeee, that’s a lot of juice under the hood. Parts for 1967-69 Camaros are limited only by the restorer’s checkbook. But then again, who cares in this case. The one I would have is currently valued at 107 grand. This of course for your insurance.
1962-63 Studebaker Avanti
Studebaker positioned this as “America’s Only 4 Passenger High-Performance Personal Car!”. It sure was. Equiped with it’s 289 cid/240 hp V8, it was a screamer. A Paxton supercharger was offered as an option and many of these Avantis went on to break Bonneville speed records. Twenty nine of them with the fastest with a Paxton almost 200 mph while a stock one 168 mph!
Maybe it’s because I like the underdogs I like this car but it’s bold new styling was not enough to save Studebaker as it shut down its South Bend, IN plant in 1963. I also like the rarity. The ’62 model had about 1,200 come off the line while the ’63 had slightly less than 4,600. With these low numbers I thought the Avanti would command a six figure price, instead found them around $20,000 (for insurance purposes) and the supercharged ones around $60,000.
1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S N.A.R.T. Spider
I struggled for the last spot for a while because there are lots of cars I would have, if I could. This time I decided to hit it out of the park with one of the rarest of the rare Ferraris, a 275 GTB/4*S N.A.R.T. Spider, one of only ten made. This is not the same model that appeared in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. That was a 250 GT California. Why this? It’s a Ferrari and just recently set an auction world-record for a non-race car going for…wait for it…$27.5 in Los Angeles this past August!
I know there are lots of more expensive cars I could have put on the list but these are the cars I had an a certain coolness factor. What is your top five car list? Let’s start the discussion.