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Help find Mary Anne's Avanti


63Stude

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We are looking for gold '63 Studebaker Avanti with R1 engine (non-supercharged), floor-shift automatic, power steering, radio, rear seat speaker, and beige vinyl (correct name "Elk") bucket-seat interior. The car is serial no. 63R-2837 and engine no. is R-2069. The car was the first Avanti sold in North Dakota--through Wavra Motors in Grand Forks. The only other Avanti sold at Wavra survives.

The car was purchased new by Mary Anne McElroy, a 20-year old student at the University of North Dakota. She was photographed getting the keys, standing in front of the car, in the "Studebaker News" which was the dealer organ, in the May '63 issue. We were able to ascertain the serial number through a review of production/shipping and sales paperwork at the Studebaker National Museum in South Bend.

Mary Anne found me through the net and has asked my help in locating her car. There is no record of the car surviving on any internet roster of Avantis by serial number. I am working with the Studebaker Drivers' Club and Avanti Owners' Association International to publicize the search as well. There was a similar Avanti in Bismarck, ND some fifteen or so years ago, but we've ascertained that is a higher serial no. car than Mary Anne's.

We thought we would post on this forum as well.

The car was traded in at Wilcox and Malm Oldsmobile in Grand Forks, ND in 1966.

The following thread on the Studebaker Drivers' Club forum shows the May '63 "Studebaker News" photo of Mary Anne and the car, about halfways down:

http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/showthread.php?48218-Small-world-time...&highlight=small+world+time

If you any information on a car that sounds like this one, please post here and let me know. Thanks!

Wish us luck!

Thanks,

Bill Pressler

Kent, OH

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I just browsed my Avanti owners rosters from 1966 thru 2010 and can find no trace of R2837 for all 45 years? I noted 2838 and 2839 appear a few times in some years but R2837 seems to be a mystery car.

Another thing, I seldom see any Avanti's listed for the state of North Dakota.

Wish I could help your hunt, you might check international rosters, it may have gone over seas?

Stude8

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  • 10 months later...

Hi

I am the current owner of the Avanti that you have been looking for. Serial # 63R 2837.

I have owned the car since 1998, I purchased it from a fellow named Lenny Puma, in California and had it shipped to Ocala, FL, where I live. Unfortunately it is nothing like Mary Anne remembers it. At the time of my purchase, the car was minus the engine and transmission, and some years back been painted white. . The interior was in dire need of re-upholstery, and the frame had some rust issues as well.

I have had the car stored since my purchase until last year, when I started a body off re-build of the entire car, but will not be installing an original Studebaker engine. as I have an LT1 Trans Am engine from a 94 Firebird already to drop in. I have been collecting parts through the years, and will be installing an original Avanti A/C unit in the dash as well as Factory power windows.

I guess the silver lining in this story is that the car STILL does exist !!

If anyone needs to know more about the car, you can reach me through this forum or you can e-mail me directly at DFRL54@aol.com

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Not enough words to describe how grateful I am to everyone in the search for "my" Avanti. Big thanks to Dave who (finally) clued us in as to its whereabouts, and to Richared and Bill who keep me informed. No worries, Dave - even though I wouldn't recognize it, I'm sure it wouldn't recognize me either after all these years! Looking forward to updates and photos as it regains its place in the sun.

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Dear Mary Anne,

Wonderful story! I was just about to write some comment after reading the first three posts here about how incredible it would be to own a new Avanti when a 20-year-old college student....and how selling it three years later pretty much would be the end of the story.

Hard to believe these guys came through. Quite the magic trick, 63Stude, stude8 and Davanti63!

Anyway, glad to see it have a happy ending.

----Jeff

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Glad to help, Mary Anne...this type of thing is fascinating to me and we are so lucky in the Studebaker hobby to have so much production and sales paperwork extant at the Studebaker National Museum.

You and Jerry should maybe think a little about coming to South Bend for the 50th International Studebaker Drivers' Club Meet this summer. God-willing, I'll be there!

Bill

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I just browsed my Avanti owners rosters from 1966 thru 2010 and can find no trace of R2837 for all 45 years? I noted 2838 and 2839 appear a few times in some years but R2837 seems to be a mystery car.

Another thing, I seldom see any Avanti's listed for the state of North Dakota.

Wish I could help your hunt, you might check international rosters, it may have gone over seas?

Stude8

Where would I find the Avanti owner roster. My wife owns 63R 4336. It would be interesting to know it.s history.

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Curt, google Avanti Owners' Association International and a roster of serial numbers should come up. Also, the Studebaker National Museum has a file cabinet, by serial number, of names and addresses of the original owners, although they'll charge somewhere between $25 and $30 to send you a copy--still, pretty neat and I don't think any other make of car has anything like that. If your car was bought new in Sept. '63 or later, the Studebaker National Museum also has a secondary card that shows the original buyer's occupation and what he traded in. That might be another hour's labor at $25, but again, pretty darn neat. Of course, they also have the build sheets for the cars--$45.

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Curt, looking quickly (I'm supposed to be working!), I couldn't find a roster on the Avanti Owners' Association International site. I'd recommend you post on the Studebaker Drivers' Club forum AND the Avanti Owners' Association International site about your serial number. And again, keep in the mind the Studebaker National Museum (they have a website; look at their "Archives" section for information) for build sheet and how to obtain one or both 'retail sales cards' for your car. Good luck!

Bill

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Thanks for your help Bill. My wife contacted Andrew Beckman at the Studebaker National Museum. he is checking it out for her. It has under 50K miles. The original interior is near flawless.

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I am so envious! It looks just like my old car. Tell your wife I hope to see her driving it somewhere sometime - and I'll keep looking for a twin!

Mary Anne

YES! that is what I was thinking when I read your initial description. I went to check the s/n. If you are ever in the St. Paul Mpls area stop by and check it out.

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YES! that is what I was thinking when I read your initial description. I went to check the s/n. If you are ever in the St. Paul Mpls area stop by and check it out.

I'd also ask Andy Beckman (I know him) to compare the destination on the Production Order (e.g., build sheet) to that of the Drive-Away shipper forum to make sure there wasn't a dealer-trade involved (which did happen then). For example, the production order of a '64 convertible sold at my hometown dealer in Pennsylvania said "Buffalo, NY", but the car was dealer-traded.

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