5. Studebaker Avanti R2
In the early ’60s, Studebaker management decided to invest in a luxury coupe to fight their poor sales. They thought a new, fancy upscale model would attract more customers to Studebaker. In 1962, they presented the sleek, modern-looking Avanti. The innovative design, construction, and technology were impressive, and the car received praise from the motoring press. But the base version wasn’t powerful, so Studebaker introduced its supercharged R2 option delivering 289 HP. The R2 version didn’t come with an automatic transmission or air conditioning. In fact, it only came with a close-ratio manual gearbox. However, they included some performance upgrades, turning the Avanti into a fast machine.
Incredibly, the R2 broke 28 world speed records by achieving top speeds of 170 mph, a big deal in 1963. The R2 could sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 7.3 seconds. Unfortunately, Studebaker had problems with production, so the Avanti was limited in availability, affecting its popularity. Sadly, by 1964 they discontinued this model. Today, most car enthusiasts recognize the Avanti R2 as one of the coolest ’60s cars as well as an early luxury muscle car. During its short production run, Studebaker produced just over 4,600 Avantis and only a handful were R2s.