The Black Hawk Chapter Member Profile

Claudine and Clarence Clark - Black Hawk SDC

The "New" 1963 R-2 Avanti

The order for our Avanti was written February 15, 1963, final assembly was March 8, 1963, and it was delivered on March 29, 1963 to the Chelsea Brake and Alignment Service Company in Chelsea Massachusetts. It was the 2,714th car built out of a total of 3,834 cars in model year 1963. Only 1,552 of these were R-2 models. I do not know how many R-2 models were built with 4-speed transmissions. The total invoice price was $4106.27. I believe this was a wholesale price because the factory invoice shows about a 20% reduction in cost for the base price ($3474) of the car and all the listed options. This car should have been price at a $1000 more from a dealer.

ClarenceAvantiIFront.jpg (12778 bytes)
1963 R-2 Avanti

ClarenceAvantiI.jpg (27388 bytes)

ClarenceAvantiIRear.jpg (11984 bytes)

ClarenceAvantiILeftFront.jpg (17093 bytes)

ClarenceAvantiIDash.jpg (23903 bytes)

ClarenceAvantiIEngine.jpg (27610 bytes)
Supercharged R2

ClarenceAvantiInterior.jpg (14683 bytes)
The "Burnt Orange" interior

It is an R-2 (supercharged) 289cid V8, with a 4-speed T-10 transmission, and a 373:1 twin traction differential. The R-2 engine is factory rated at 289 hp at 4800 rpm. The color is Avanti gold exterior with orange and fawn interior. Additional options include radio, power steering, white wall tires, and front and rear seat belts. Yes, seat belts were an extra cost option in 1963. Power disc brakes and built-in role bar were standard equipment on the Avanti. This was a first for the Automotive Industry in the US. And, of course, loud mufflers were also standard on the Avanti. If you wanted silent mufflers, it cost extra.

At some point in it’s life our Avanti found it’s way to Texas where it lived for an unknown number of years. I have maintenance records from the late 1980’s to 1994 showing that it lived in the Arlington Texas area. At some point, it was purchased by a Colorado Classic car dealer and subsequently sold sight unseen in the summer of 1995 to an individual in southern Indiana. The odometer read ~74,000 miles. It received major restoration work in Indiana. The engine, when rebuilt, was found to still be within factory spec. The hog troughs and frame were good, which suggests a dry environment such as Texas. A note to the non-Studebaker people, Avanti’s have rust free fiberglass bodies.

I purchased the car in the summer of 1998 from Southern Indiana and I am continuing to make minor improvements to it. It is a spectacular car to drive. I hear plenty of interesting comments from people when I drive it or take it to car shows. I have to be careful when I drive it because it is loud, fast and that 160MPH speedometer is a constant temptation. The speed limit on the expressway here is only 65MPH.



1955 Studebaker Commander Two Door Hardtop

Here is the story the Clark's '55 Commander

My first car was a 1955 Studebaker Champion Regal Sedan. This was not the car I wanted. I was in high school, the year was 1963, and I wanted something sporty with "more power". I wanted a hardtop (K body) Commander or President, but my father was wise for his years. He said, "A 6 cylinder will go fast enough for you". And he was right, it would run close to 120 MPH on level ground with the overdrive in, but he never knew that.

All my friends, with the exception of my best friend, drove Fords or Chevrolets. They could almost always beat me from a standing start, but once I got rolling and the Studebaker aerodynamics came into play, I most likely would beat them. They were careful not to let me get them in that kind of a situation a second time.

A couple of months after I bought my Champ, my best friend bought a 1955 Studebaker Commander hardtop with a 259 CID V8 engine, 3 speed with overdrive, and converted floor shift. It was just the car that I dreamed of having. We put that car through teenage hot rod hell together in high school and college and that car took in with minimal complaints.

In 1965 I sold my Champ. In 1967 my friend put his Commander in storage in a one car dirt floor garage in the low area of a river town, and nature began to do its magic on the underside of the car. Twenty years later I got my little Champ back in bad condition. It would be nice to restore it someday, but it would cost to much to do. In 1993 I bought the car that you see here, a 1955 Commander 2 door hard top (K body). In 1995, thirty years after it went into storage, I bought my friends car. Sadly, it is only good for a parts car

The car pictured here, my new Studebaker, is a 1955 Commander two door hardtop (K5 body). It has a 259.2 CID V8 engine with four barrel carburetor, solid valve lifters, three speed transmission with overdrive, and dual exhaust. It is factory rated at 185 brake horsepower. It was made in September of 1955, the delivery destination is unknown. There were 3,296 Commander K5 hardtops produced, and they sold for $2282.

I purchased the car in southwestern Missouri in 1993. It is a solid original car and I try to improve it a little more each year. I have had much fun showing this car at car shows and cruise nights. Many people are now to young to remember Studebaker and I enjoy listening to them try to guess what kind of car it is. It looks to modern to be an OLD car.

If you have Questions with this Home Page


Back to the Black Hawk Chapter SDC Member Profile Page
Back to the Black Hawk Chapter SDC Home Page
Copyright The Black Hawk Chapter SDC 1997, All Rights Reserved