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“Fancy, hand-worked iron trim, the kind of courting buggy any boy and girl would be proud to be seen in.”

Longstreet, Stephen. A Century on Wheels: The Story of Studebaker. New York: Henry Holt and Company. p. 121. 1st edn., 1952

LazystudeFor 22 years Peter Sant, 77 years-young has had the pleasure of two loves in his life. His wife of 56 years, Marna and his 1963 Studebaker Avanti (KOOL R2).

Peter’s interest in Studebaker’s began with his first car, a 1948 Studebaker Champ. He began drag racing in his teens and raced a 1951 Studebaker Commander Starlight Coup (according to Peter quite fast at the time) at Cayuga. He went to work at the Studebaker plant in Hamilton Ont. straight out of high school, from 1956-58. Peter also served 4 years in the RCAF reserve as a motor mechanic.

The 1963 Studebaker Avanti (KOOL R2) was purchased in Rochester NY and driven home by Peter with his wife. It was noted how hot the interior of the car became due to the fibreglass body absorbing too much heat on long trips. The only major modification made to the car was the addition of air-conditioning.

avantiad(KOOL R2) has a 289 cu.in. V8 with a Paxton supercharger that delivers 8.8 lbs of boost and develops 315 hp. 13.726 seconds at 101.8mph in the quarter-mile at Pure Stock Muscle Car Drag Races in Stanton Michigan. The original curb weight of the vehicle was listed as 3,095 lbs. Now Peter’s weighs in at 3810 lbs including driver.

Peter became member of the Studebaker Drivers Club in 1985 and the Canadian Avanti Owners Association in 1993. He was appointed to the SDC tech adviser seven years ago and appointed as tech adviser to the CAOA 6 years ago.

“America’s Only 4 Passenger High-Performance Personal Car!”was a personal luxury coupe built by the Studebaker Corporation from June 1962 until December 1963 in South Bend Indiana. A total of less than 6000 cars were produced. The Studebaker Avanti is considered to be “one of the more significant milestones of the postwar industry”.

Avanti, meaning “Forward” in Italian. Avanti used Bendix disc brakes on its front wheels. They were the first caliper discs on an American production car. List price was $4,445 (USD). Production Avantis broke 29 speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats in the spring and summer of 1962. In 1964 Sherwood Egbert (President of Studebaker Corporation) powerd a modified, R3-powered Avanti through the flying-mile record at 168 mph (271 km/h). The South Bend plant ceased production on December 20, 1963 and the last Studebaker automobile rolled off the Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, assembly line on March 16, 1966.

 

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story and photographs by Bill Samuel

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