Studebaker for 1963
The big news for '63 was the Avanti, which stands for "forward" in Italian. It was
designed by Raymond Loewy and his team. (John Ebstein, Robert Andrews and
Tom Kellogg) As with the Corvette, fiberglass was chosen for the Avanti bodyshell to
minimize both time and tooling costs. Due to a minimized budget an all-new chassis
wasn't possible. Chief engineer Gene Hardig beefed up a Lark convertible frame with
front and rear anti roll bars, rear radius rods and the Bendix front-disc power brake
system. The 289 V-8 was heavily revised to become the "Jet Thrust". The basic R1
featured 3/4-race high-lift cam, dual-breaker distributor, four barrell carb, and dual
exhaust. Andy Granatelli's Paxton Products, then part of Studebaker, added a Paxton
supercharger to create the Avanti R2. They also deviced a trio of bored-out, 304.5
cui extensions: blown R3 with 9.6:1 compression and 335 hp; naturatelly aspirated
R4 with twin four-barrell carbs, 12:1 compression, and 280 hp; and the experimental
R5 with twin blowers (one per cylinder bank), magneto ignition, Bendix fuel injection
and no less than 575 hp. The Avanti imediately generated high exitement and promised
to pack Studebaker showrooms like anything in years. Unfortunately, production was
delayed six months due to misfitting fiberglass. The bodies were supplied by Molded
Fiber Glass Company but due to problems Studebaker had to set up its own fiber
glass production. By the time these and other bugs were fixed, most buyers with
advance orders had canceled theirs. Thus, just 3834 Avantis (including
500 exports) were built for '63.
The '63 Lark from Studebaker was further refined by Brooks Stevens. They got raked
A-pillars, new windshields, a little thinner door- window frames, a finely checked grille,
a stand-up hood ornament and a new Hawk-style dash with round gauges. The dash
also got rocker switches and a vanity glovebox with a pop-up mirror. A new option for
the '63 Lark was disk brakes. Late this model year you could also get the Avanti R1
and R2 engines in your Lark, making it a "Super Lark". An R2 equipped Lark exceeded
130 mph at Bonneville this year. Also new this year, and quite novel for the time , was
the Wagonaire. The Wagonaire boasted a unique rear roof panel that could be slid
forward for unlimited "head-room", which made it perfect for hauling tall loads. It was
offered in Standard, Regal and Daytona trim. Non sliding-roof-panel wagons were still
being offered. To further expand the '63 Lark line Studebaker offered six and V-8
sedans in Standard and the more expensive Custom trim. The latter was priced between
Regal and Daytona. Four-door sedan, two-door sedan, four-door wagon were the
Standard and Regal trim choises while the Custom came only as four-door sedan and
2 door sedan. The Daytonas were offered as four-door wagons, two-door hardtop
coupes and the 2 door convertibles. The Lark Six carried the 112 hp 169.6 cui
overhead-valve inline six. The Lark Eight carried a 180 hp 259.2 cui as standard and
was also offered with the 259.2 engine with a "Power Pack" (195 hp). The "Super
Larks" had a 240 hp 289 cui V-8 (R1) or a 290 hp 289 cui V-8 (R2). The Lark
Cruiser carried a 210 hp 289 cui V-8 as standard and could be equipped with a
225 hp "Power Pack" version as an option.
The '63 Gran Turismo Hawk featured a revised grille similar to Lark's, round parking
lights which were amber due to a new federal law. The dash had a woodgrain trim.
There was a tricolor badge next to Gran Turismo on doors and on grille. The chrome
headlamp rims were eliminated. A new option for the '63 GT Hawk was disk brakes.
Late this model year you could also get the Avanti R1 and R2 engines in your GT
Hawk, making it a "Super Hawk". An R2 equipped GT Hawk exceeded 140 mph at
Bonneville this year. The standard engine for the GT Hawk was the 210 hp 289 cui
V-8. The optional engine was the 225 hp "Power Pack" 289. The "Super Hawks"
had a 240 hp 289 cui V-8 (R1) or a 290 hp 289 cui V-8 (R2).
A total of 74.201 Larks, 4.634 Gran Turismo Hawks and 3834 Avantis were
produced during the model year.
[ 1963 Studebaker Pics ]
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