Here is another Hooniverse Fastback Friday, and today I thought it would be ideal to compare two very exciting Sports Cars, marketed by two very different companies for 1963. The 1963 Chevrolet Corvette was designed by Larry Shinoda under the direction of Billy Mitchell over at GM, and is one of the most breathtaking designs ever to come out of the General. The 1963 Studebaker Avanti design came about under the direction of Raymond Lowey, and is equally breathtaking, for different reasons. One was from the prominent car maker of the decade, while one was a quick “Hail Mary” desperation move in order to buy more time. Which one of these beauties would you like to call your own.
The 1963 Corvette was the first year for a dedicated coupe model and it featured a distinctive tapering rear deck with, for 1963 only, a split rear window. Both the Coupe and the Roadster featured hidden headlamps, non-functional hood vents, and an independent rear suspension. Although some people within the GM hierarchy didn’t like the distinctive split rear window, Mitchell thought it was a key part of the entire design. It was modified for the subsequent versions where the split window became a single pane of glass.
Here is a 1963 Corvette currently for sale on Autotrader Classics. It shows 46,000 miles, and comes equipped with the 327 CID V-8 producing 250hp, matched to an M20 4-Speed Manual Transmission. It looks like it rolls on vintage Bias Ply tires, and a new set of “Knock Off” wheel covers.
The White exterior compliments the Buckskin interior, and it looks rather classy. Asking price for this Corvette is $58,000 which doesn’t sound off base. See the listing here.
Designed by Raymond Loewy’s team of Tom Kellogg, Bob Andrews and John Ebstein on a 40-day crash program, the Avanti featured a radical fiberglass body design mounted on a modified Studebaker Lark Daytona 109-inch convertible chassis with a modified 289 Hawk engine. The car was fitted with front disc-brakes which were British Dunlop designed units, made under license by Bendix, and a Paxton supercharger was offered as an option. All of the original Studebaker Avanti models were built in 1962 and 1963 as 63 and 64 model years. Fewer that 6,000 were ever produced, which is in stark contrast to the Corvette, which produced over 23,600 units for 1963 alone. This design did live on with various entrepreneurs producing the iconic coupes through 2006.
Here is a 1963 Avanti Coupe showing only 29,000 miles. The car is finished in its original Black paint (no respray here), and has factory Power Steering, Power Brakes (remember, these are front discs!), and factory A/C! The tan leather interior looks spectacular, and you can fit two more passengers in the rear, unlike the Corvette.
The engine is a 289 CID V-8 that is said to produce 240HP, with a three speed Automatic. Asking price for this car is a reasonable $24,500. See the listing here.