Studebaker Avanti R2
Once highly successful and popular, Studebaker is now a long forgotten American brand. Studebaker closed their doors in 1966 after suffering poor sales for over a decade. They just couldn’t keep up Detroit’s Big Three: General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. However, just before this legendary brand left the market, they produced an interesting and treasured luxury model with muscle car credentials – the Studebaker Avanti R2.
In the early 60s, Studebaker management decided to invest in the luxury coupe to fight poor sales. They thought a new, fancy upscale model would attract customers and turn the attention of the automotive public back to Studebaker. So, in 1962, they introduced the new, sleek and modern looking Avanti. The innovative design, construction, and technology were interesting, so the motoring press praised the car.
But the base version was not powerful, so Studebaker introduced the supercharged R2 option, which delivered 289 HP. However, the R2 version didn’t come with an automatic transmission. It was only available with a close ratio manual gearbox. Also, air conditioning was not available. However, they included lots of performance upgrades, turning the Avanti into a fast machine.
In fact, the R2 model broke 28 world speed records. It could achieve a top speed of 170 mph, which was a big deal in 1963. Amazingly, the R2 could sprint to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds. But unfortunately, Studebaker had problems with the production. So, the Avanti was limited in availability, which affected its popularity. So, by 1964, they discontinued it.
Today, car fans recognize the Avanti R2 as one of the earliest classic luxury muscle cars. During its short production run, Studebaker produced just over 4,600 Studebaker Avantis. And, only a handful of those were the incredible R2.