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Avanti: The Complete Story Paperback – April 1, 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Hull was born and raised in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He became enamored with the Avanti upon viewing it in 1962 at the ripe old age of 11. The Avanti and its history has become his lifetime avocation. The author was employed by Avanti Motor Corporation in Villa Rica Georgia from November of 1999 to July of 2001. He is a member of the Society of Automotive Historians, the Avanti Owners Association International Inc. and the Studebaker Drivers Club.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Enthusiast Books (April 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1583882138
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583882139
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.4 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #935,281 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A suggestion....
Any future editions of this book should be renamed "Avanti The Manufacturing Story".
Hull brings together the various lives of the Avanti, a story that spans no less than five decades, four production factories and enough owners and principals to fill several of the fiberglass luxury cars.

The book traces the history of the Raymond Lowey designed coupe from its inception as a potential savior /image car for the venerable Studebaker company to its latest incarnation as a Mustang re-clothed in body panels that manage to be both retro and futuristic at the same time.

Hull knows his subject well as a one time CFO for the latest resurrection effort and as the editor of the Avanti club magazine. He does a commendable job in putting the pieces together. Minor criticisms include not using many direct quotes from important figures. Hull paraphrases a magazine interview (which he references) with #3 Avanti owner Stephen Blake and a panel discussion by owner #4, Mike Kelly. Why not use the men's own words?

My biggest complaint is what you won't find here... details of the cars themselves.
Aside from a nice production total which finally answers who made how many, and where, most technical details: engines, performance specifications and importantly, prices are missing. A few answers are tucked away in ads and company literature pieces that have been reproduced (often too small) but I think he could have made a stronger effort to help the reader place the Avanti in the general automotive world. Later versions are noting as being produced on Monte Carlo, Caprice, Firebird and Mustang chassis. I would have like to learn how those were accomplished. Did the factory arrange to buy chassis and drivetrains...
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Format: Paperback
I currently own two Avantis, an original 1963 Studebaker, and a 1975 Avanti II built by Nathan Altman's Avanti Motor Corporation. I am also a member of the Avanti Owners Association. So needless to say, I have quite an interest in these cars. I've always found the Avanti to be a fascinating automobile (which is why I bought this book, sight unseen). It was a last-ditch attempt by the financially struggling Studebaker corporation to build an exciting, high performance vehicle that would lure buyers into showrooms. The car, despite being a lash up of existing parts that Studebaker had in its inventory (there was no money to develop something completely new), offered real performance, being faster than anything on the road at the time except the Corvette Stingray and Jaguar E Type (apart from super expensive exotic cars that no one but the really wealthy could afford). It also offered safety features like a padded dash, roll bar, and standard front disk brakes (the first ever in an American production car). All this was presented to the public in a uniquely styled vehicle that still looks modern almost half a century later.

The car might have succeeded in its purpose too but for various production bottlenecks that created long delays after the car was introduced to the public. This resulted in many impatient buyers canceling their orders. Then, when Studebaker CEO Sherwood Egbert, who was the driving force behind the car's creation, had to step down as he battled terminal cancer, the car lost its chief advocate in a company whose board was already looking at divesting itself of its ailing automotive division. Thus, after only just over 4600 vehicles were made, the Avanti was out of production, and that should have been it.
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"The Complete Story" may be a bit misleading if you're an Avanti fan looking for the complete story. If the photos were removed from the 126 page book, the reader would be left with about 35 pages of text to tell the complete 45 year story. Not that the pictures aren't interesting, many are quite nice, rare, and unusual. Avanti fans will enjoy them. The text, however, tends to ramble in places, lacks insight into important aspects of the Avanti's history, and leaves the reader, at least this one, wanting more. Perhaps, "Avanti A Brief Overview With Pictures" would have been a better title. That said, it was probably worh the Amazon price. I would have been disappointed if I had paid the suggested retail price.
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John Hull is an Avanti afficionado who was intimately involved with one of the most recent efforts to revive this marque. The numerous color photos of the various incarnations of this Raymond Loewy design will appeal to the Avanti enthusiast as well as to anyone who wants to "see" the evolution of this sleek, 'glas-bodied classic. The text is both accurate and concise, presenting a balanced view of the history of the car that has far outlived its parent company, the Studebaker Corporation.

Each successive chapter discusses the evolution of the Avanti beginning with its Studebaker origins, through the stewardship by Newman & Altman, Kelly, Cafaro, Bunting, and Seaton - culminating with the 2006 transition to Cancun, Mexico and the arrest of Mike Kelly on Federal charges related to his hotel businesses.

The production data from 1962-2007 is the most comprehensive and accurate compilation ever offered. Overall, this is an excellent overview of the fascinating history of this American classic.
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