1980 Avanti Avanti II

Front Left White 1980 Avanti (Studebaker) Avanti II Car Picture

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Following the collapse of Studebaker car manufacturing on March 5, 1966, it seemed there would be no more Avanti cars. The business was gone. Production halted. However, as he sat in his showroom and admired a 1964 Avanti on display, Studebaker dealer Nate Altman felt inside that a great car was dying and he couldn't let it happen. Altman was to go on with sheer determination to bring the Avanti back to life.

Altman made deal offers to virtually every auto builder he could. No one wanted any part of a Studebaker knock-off. He then suggested to his business partner, Leo Newman, that they set up the business by themselves. There were good reasons for making them think they could do so including the fact the cars were great for low-volume production. Altman and Newman then bought six buildings that were in the Studebaker complex. They also contacted the firm which had supplied the Studebaker Avanti auto bodies to see if it would like to continue manufacturing the body. Molded Fiberglass agreed and announced it had in stock 150 bodies from an order Studebaker never completed. The company seemed solid when, after serious thought, Eugene Hardig, former Studebaker chief engineer, bought into the deal. The Avanti Motor Corporation was founded!

Studebaker agreed to sell its rights and production equipment to the firm. The deal also included the parts and equipment for Studebaker trucks. Altman and Newman announced that the new car would be called the Avanti II. The company went on to hand build around 1500 cars and was said to have made a profit in each year of production.

Avanti Motor Corporation never had a lay-off nor ever a car recalled. Fifty per cent of its customers were previous buyers. Its future was influenced by death of Altman. In 1980, the Newman and Altman families together decided to sell the business to a younger Avanti fan, Steve Blake.

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