AVANTI MOTORS – A SHORT HISTORY
1852 Studebaker Brothers built high-quality horse drawn wagons for farmers
1889 President Harrison ordered Studebaker carriages for the White House
1902 Studebaker entered the auto market by building an electric car
1904 Studebaker started building gasoline cars
1949 Raymond was on the cover ofTimeMagazine, heralded as the “Father of Industrial Design”
1961 Raymond Loewy designed the Avanti
1962 Studebaker, in Indiana, introduced the first Avanti, first production car in US with disc brakes
1962 The winner of the Indy 500, Roger Ward, received cash and an Avanti
1963 Studebaker ceased auto production in the US and moved to Canada
1964 Nate Altman and Leo Newman, former Studebaker dealers, bought the rights to
the Avanti (molds, parts, drawings)
1965 Avanti Motors started production using a GM engine and transmission
1970 (Studebaker bought by American Motors)
1976 Nate Altman passed away, his brother Arnold then ran the company
1982 Arnold, age 63, was approached about selling the company
1982 Stephen Blake, a DC real estate developer and Avanti aficionado, bought the company from Arnold. He introduced the Avanti II (with a new bumper that matched the body color)
1986 Blake ceased production to concentrate on real estate
1987 Michael Kelly bought the company, moved production to Ohio, and added a convertible
1989 John Cafaro bought the company, stopped production on the two-door and convertible, and produced a four-door model. The public was underwhelmed
1991 Production stopped
1997 The movie GATTACA, a sci-fi thriller set in the near future, in scenes with cars, used mostly Avantis in to give the movie a futuristic look. This triggered a renewed interest in the Avanti
1997 Jim Bunting, a former ad exec and Avanti owner, contracted with Tom Kellogg (the youngest member of Loewy’s design team) to update the Avanti look. Three experimental cars were built by hand.
1999 Michael Kelly, a hotel owner, bought the company again and moved it to GA where he lived. He went back to the two-door model using the AVX design and a Ford chassis and drivetrain.
2006 Production was moved to Mexico in an effort to cut costs. The owner’s Cancun Mexico hotels were destroyed by hurricane Wilma (category 5) and his revenue stream ceased. Avanti production then also ceased.
Avanti Motors will reawaken the Avanti III as an all-electric, hand-built luxury car.
The clean, windswept lines of the Avanti III will envelop a powerful, quiet electric powertrain.