April 2nd, Egbert flew out to Palm
Springs to view the final clay model and the final drawings. With
only a few minor changes, he toasted the new car with a soft
drink, and said, "Let's go!"
The 1/8 scale clay was
shipped back to South Bend Indiana for Robert Doehler and the
Studebaker styling crew to work on. The two-seater design became a
four seater. The windsheild pillar was made more upright when
Egbert bumped his head while getting into the seating buck. The
"Coke bottle" shape was moderated. The assymetrical hood bump was
borrowed from some of Loewys early sketches for the Avanti. The
taillights were modified to make them easier to produce, and the
quad-headlights were changed to single headlights to reduce cost.
By April 27th, the full-sized clay was done.
Studebaker's budgets limited
the performance/suspension options. The frame for the Lark
convertible was chosen and beefed up to support the Avanti's
fiberglass body. For performance, the front coil springs from the
Lark heavy duty police package and rear leaf springs from the Lark
station wagon were chosen with heavy duty shock absorbers added as
well. The Avanti was the first American car to feature disc
brakes. It used Bendix units made under license from Dunlop, the
same brakes that Jaguar had been using for years.
The top of the line
Studebaker 289 made only 225 Horsepower. It was tuned up to
deliver 240 horsepower. Fortunately, Studebaker had just acquired
Paxton, and with it came an a belt-driven centrifugal supercharger
good for 300 horsepower and Paxton President Andy Granatelli, who
had a few ideas on how to promote the Avanti's performance image.
Many names were considered
for the Avanti including revivals of the name Packard and
Pierce-Arrow. No one knows who first came up with the name Avanti.
Some credit the D'Arcy Advertising Agency and some credit Sherwood
Egbert. Whoever thought of the name, it was Raymond Loewy who
designed the final Avanti script nameplate.
The prototype was ready in
just under a year and was unveiled on April 26th 1962.