If bongo solos and Studebakers are your thing, you are guaranteed to enjoy this week's vintage Car and Track road test of the 1969 Avanti II. Even If bongo solos and Studebakers aren't your thing, chances are you will still enjoy Bud Lindemann's review of the second coming of the Avanti.
The Avanti II featured in this week's Car and Track is not actually a Studebaker. Although similar to the Avanti model produced by Studebaker before its demise, as noted by host Bud Lindemann, this is actually a hand crafted and improved version of the car. After the last Studebaker was made on March 16, 1966, Studebaker dealers Nathan Altman and Leo Newman purchased the Avanti name, design, parts and even a part of the South Bend, Indiana plant Studebaker had called home for years.
Using left over Studebaker Lark frames and Chevrolet Corvette engines, the pair began producing the hand built Avanti II in small numbers. As you can see from the Car and Track footage, the fiberglass bodied Avanti IIs weren't slouches in the performance department. Underneath the hood the Avanti II had a Paxton supercharger "coiled like a snake" on top of a 327 cubic inch Corvette engine. Not surprisingly this combination meant the car had "enough wheel spin to lay a mile of rubber". Luckily for us, Car and Track isn't content to make that statement without plenty of video footage.
The hand built Avanti II proves to be an impressive performer throughout Car and Track's testing. Lindemann doesn't hesitate to heap praise upon the car and its manufacturers. What Lindemann does hesitate to do is mention the price. In 1969 an Avanti II would have cost you more than $7,000 dollars. While it doesn't seem like much now, it was more expensive than a Corvette or Jaguar E-type and nearly double the price of a Mustang.