|I have wanted
an Avanti since 1963. Yes, for 40 years!
I can guarantee you that this
is no "Mid Life Crisis"!
I have "documentation" since
1976 showing my interest in Avanti's!
|After 40 years
of wanting an Avanti, I got one!
If you believe in destiny, it
came true for me.
Avanti Motors made an
additional 3,473 Avanti's after Studebaker stopped building the
The total build was only
|But I did not
want "ANY" Avanti.
I could not afford "Any"
Avanti, but I told myself that I would like a convertible.
That would limit it to one
of only 228 cars built!
|Then I decided
that if I had to have a convertible, it had to be a RED Avanti.
Now that cut my choices down to
1 of only 50 cars built.
Standing next to the Avanti
is Sandy, my wife, not Vanna White.
further minimize the chances of finding my dream car, I limited my choice
to the 1989 model.
This was the only year the
convertible had the ground effects package.
"requirement" was that the red 1989 convertible Avanti had to have tan or
beige interior! Black interior would be too hot.
Based on conversations I had
with the factory approximately 14 years ago, there were 12 cars built,
which met my requirements.
What are the chances of finding
that 1 in 12 car!
|In 1995 I found
one. It had only 14,000 miles. It was like new.
Could not afford it.
Was my dream of owning the
car of my dreams completely over?
At the time, it seemed so.
|Then in 1996
the wife, daughter and son-in-law visited Palm Springs.
As we drove down the boulevard
I noticed a Red Avanti convertible. I went into the business where
the car was parked.
I yelled out "Is the owner
of the Avanti here?".
raised his hand and stated that it belong to him.
I express my love for the car
and asked if it was for sale. His answer was that it was not for
sale, but if he decided to sell he would call me. Sure.
Then much to my surprise he
tossed me the keys and stated that I was welcome to take it for a drive!
Are AVANTI owners great?
since that weekend in 1996 in Palm Springs, I have gone to Google and done
a search for "1989 Red Avanti Convertible"!
Over the years I must have
searched Google at least 500 times. I felt pretty safe that this was
just a hobby. I was pretending like I would someday find one!
I would never actually find the car of my dreams. This was JUST a
way to spend a few minutes every week.
||What was the
chance of finding a "1 of 12 cars built", which was for sale, that was in
a reasonable condition, and at a price I could afford?
NO CHANCE EVER, RIGHT!
Then it happened. On May 1st, 2003, I turned 55! Older then
the hills. Signed up to retire from Hughes Aircraft/Boeing
Satellites. I got the "Studebaker/Avanti" gene from my Dad.
Also got the "Work in Aerospace until you retire" recessive gene from him.
Then on May 12th I sit down at the computer and, again, played that stupid
Google search game. I entered "Red 1989 convertible Avanti".
Then there is a hit.
What do I do now? I
found one! It can't be. This is just a game. That's all
it was suppose to be. A childhood dream. JUST A GAME! I
did not want to find one, because that would cause me to make a decision.
A decision I never thought I would have to make. The realization
that this is only a dream, or did I want to actually make it a reality!
For 40 years I have told myself I have wanted one. Can I now tell
myself that it was merely a stupid on going day dreaming waste of time?
I call the owner, Rusty, to discuss the car. I will ask him the
mileage of the car. That will surely relieve me of having to make a
decision. Damn him! He stated that it only had 9,100 miles.
My excuses for "NOT TAKING ACTION" were disappearing! THERE WHERE NO
EXCUSES FOR NOT PURCHASING THIS AVANTI!
It was RED!
It was a 1989!
It was LOW mileage!
It was like new!
I never asked Rusty to send
pictures. He seemed honest and trustworthy. I just had the
feeling that this car was mine, and meant to be. He was clear and
concise regarding the condition of the car. It had always been in an
"environmentally controlled" location. It had never been driven in
the rain! Damn him! I had NO excuses. I kept telling
myself that this was no Mid Life Crisis (or Late Life Crisis), as I have
thought of buying an Avanti since I was 15 years old. We bought one
way tickets to fly to Phoenix on a holiday weekend. No tickets to
fly home. No car rental. No room reservations. What do I
do if the car is not the right car?
I had put myself into the
position of "HAVING TO BUY THE CAR TO RETURN HOME!
About 50 miles out from Phoenix it hit me. I am crazy! I have
surely gone loony! Flying to see an Avanti, with a cashiers check in
hand. I repeatedly asked myself questions about "Why didn't I have
Rusty send me pictures". Maybe it is my newly acquired age that is
causing me to lose all logical thought patterns. I am in the
airplane and completely ashamed of myself. I actually started
shaking, thinking about my complete loss of sanity. Everything my
Father did always seemed logical and well thought-out. I always
respected my Father, although I have never told him, for his stable, non
emotional decision process. I am asking myself, "Why can't I be more
like Dad". He would never do this. He is too smart to put
himself in this stupid position.
We land, knowing that
I am a complete idiot!
Rusty was at the airport with the car. It was perfect! It was
EXACTLY the car I had been dreaming of during all those Google searches.
It was like waking up from a great dream. The car was right there in
front of me!
|On the way home
from Phoenix, we went through Palm Springs.
This is the house where Raymond
Loewy designed the car over 40 years ago.
The owner did give me
permission to park in the front yard (front gravel),
||At the airport
I knew that if I said no to buying the Avanti, I would never buy one.
It would take another 20 years of looking. Would I actually be
interested in purchasing one at 75 years of age. I finally had to
face reality. I said yes, and we bought the car.
|It is amazing
to me that a car designed in the early 60's can still look modern today.
Does the fact that I want to
park one of the last built Avanti's on the property where it was first
designed confirm my insanity?
|The clay model
of the Avanti in the back yard of the same home. (1962?)
One of the original
||My reasons for
wanting the Avanti are numerous.
1) I believed the car was
beautiful 40 years ago and remains so today.
2) While driving the car, it
reminds me of my Dad and his liking of Studebakers and Packard's.
3) The car is my reminder of
how fast life flies by and how quickly things change.
4) The car is a huge tribute
to Raymond Loewy. Probably the best Industrial Designer of the 20th
century. Loewy contributions were on par with Frank Lloyd Wright's
contributions as an architect during the 20th Century.
5) And finally, at 55 years
old, the car seems to make me feel like 15 again! I need that!
|Here is my
Father, Jean, Sandy and I.
It may have been my
imagination, but my Dad's eyes seemed to be pleased with our new purchase.
Just a courtesy? I hope not. I am not going to ask.
|This car will
be our daughters problem. She knows that I will keep it until the
day I die.
getting rid of it will be her problem some day. Maybe our Grandson,
Jacob, might own it someday.
Did Jacob get the
Studebaker/Avanti gene passed from my dad, to myself, to our daughter, to
|We had 9,903
miles on the car when we arrived in Palm Springs.
||The history of
the car is as follows:
1) In 1989 the Avanti was
purchased by the opera singer, Enzo Stuarti.
2) In 1990 Wayne Francisco
added this car to his collection. It was registered as non
operational at this time.
3) In 1999 Rusty Oft
purchased and street registered the car with approximately 7,000 miles.
Rusty put less than 2,000 miles on the car during his 4 years of
4) On May 23rd, 2003, I
purchased the car with only 9,127 miles on the car!
Father look great in the Avanti!
If I could find another Avanti
for him, I wonder if he would be interested?
Should I start doing more
I think not. That
could be dangerous!
|But now I have
a new problem.
I find myself letting the
answering machine screen my calls. Why?
What do I do if Dad calls
and wants to borrow the car?
After everything he has done
for me (and that includes the recessive Studebaker/Avanti
gene) how could I say no!
|I now have the
answer if he calls. It will be "SURE DAD, BUT DO YOU MIND IF I RIDE
He used that
line with me 39 years ago, when I wanted to drive the Packard. It
only seems fair.
|Is this the
Grandson which will own the car someday.
He seems to love it today.
Will he love it in 20 or 30 years?
I think so.
Well now, I better go.
Time to work on my "Living Trust".
At least I know where the
car is going!