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snopes 17 April 2013 06:38 PM

Studebaker Avanti
Comment: It is said that when the Studebaker
Avanti was introduced for 1963 model, that the car shouldn't be driven
over 120 mph as the rear window would blow out. An acquaintance in the
Avanti club recently posed this to me. Asks I, why would you want to?

BoKu 17 April 2013 07:24 PM

To me, the general shape does suggest that you'd find a low-pressure area in the region of the rear window. However, there's nothing about the shape that would indicate any sort of extreme pressure differential across the membrane of the window. I'd think that usual and customary methods of retaining the window glass would be perfectly sufficient.

That said, I can say that if the molding or adhesive holding the glass in were particularly rotten-looking, I'd be a bit concerned about it. But that would apply to just about any car.

Hero_Mike 17 April 2013 11:28 PM

I imagine that the only way an unmodified 1963 Studebaker Avanti can go 120mph is straight down after falling off a cliff. Blowing out the rear window wouldn't be the first thing to worry about.

(Yes, the Avanti is a "sporty" model, but 120mph is pretty fast for a car from the early 60's - big engines tend not to have the high revs needed for a high top speed. But there's a reason why they don't make Studebakers anymore. They weren't very good or popular, and there wasn't much money for investing in good quality manufacturing or design.)

Atlanta Jake 18 April 2013 01:35 AM

I would put this down to an early type of "viral" marketing. By stating that the rear window would blow out at 120 MPH, Studebaker was implying that the car was capable of this kind of speed, but without actually making the claim.

I work part-time at a world class road racing course, where we host "Vintage" racing at least twice a year. No Avanti that I have seen has looked to be anywhere near that fast... but I confess that I have never actually timed one.

Atlanta Jake

RichardM 18 April 2013 04:37 PM

They were/are apparently pretty quick. See

Uploaded on Jul 26, 2007
Thi is a Studebaker Avanti Promotional film from 1963. The Studebaker Avanti set all kinds of land speed records for a factory stock off the show room floor vehicles. These records remained on the books for many years. Top speed was almost 169 miles per hour. Not bad for something you could buy at your local Studebaker Dealer for 5 grand.

Hero_Mike 18 April 2013 05:03 PM

Like I said, Studebakers aren't sold anymore because they aren't reliable. An Avanti that hit 169mph wasn't likely to be stock, or rather, it wasn't a "random sample" but a "shill" that was modified for testing. Car magazines today still tend to get their cars - including long-term testers - from the manufacturer - which still allows them to modify or pick an exceptional example for testing. (A long-held urban legend is that the early examples of the Renault Alliance - which won many "Car of the Year" awards - were virtually hand-made - and that the regular models made in the plant were, well, disastrously bad.) I believe that consumer advocacy publications like "Consumer Reports" don't get their products from the manufacturer but buy them anonymously.

BoKu 18 April 2013 06:26 PM


Originally Posted by Hero_Mike (Post 1730084)
Like I said, Studebakers aren't sold anymore because they aren't reliable...

In my direct experience, Studebakers were not particularly less or more reliable than any other of their contemporaries.

So far as I understand, Studebakers aren't sold any more because they couldn't establish and maintain a market niche that justified the relatively high per-unit cost inherent in being a relatively low-volume carmaker.

Hero_Mike 18 April 2013 07:34 PM

Which sort-of explains my reasoning. Studebaker, AFAIK, tried to be a full-line car manufacturer with a variety of models, trying to compete with the big boys. They didn't produce any one model in volume, so part of their high cost was downtime while retooling. Making all the different models, constantly retooling, and not specializing is what resulted in the poor build quality. Such was the story around Hamilton, Ontario - my home town - where Studebaker made its "last stand" until 1966. Lots of people worked for that plant and as I was growing up, there was hardly a person who didn't have a parent, relative or neighbor who worked there when it closed.

42liter 23 April 2013 11:02 PM

Studebaker was very far ahead of their time. The Avanti was available with a blown 289. I stated that correctly. It's just coincedence (spelling?)that they had the same CID as the Ford V8. How many other car manufacturers in 1963 offered a supercharged V8 from the factory? All Studebakeers are cool, rare, collectible and bad@$$, so there.

sinkhole 11 September 2013 11:45 PM

Avanti speeds...
Back in 1963 I purchased a brand new 1964 "Transitional" R1 Avanti. Both the R1(normally aspirated), and the R2 (supercharged) shared the 289 CID engines. I can attest to the fact that the R1 Avanti was capable of speeds well over 120 mph... I personally had mine flat out and reached a speed of 140 mph, with no loss of rear windscreen. I'm sure that the R2 models would probably top out at around 160.
They were great automobiles, and were way ahead of their time.

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