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For me, it's the Stude. I remember when they came out. I lusted after one then and I still do. I worked, for a summer, as a lot boy at a Stude dealership, here in SoCal and drooled over them and the Hawks. Both cars can be quite reliable, enough so that they could be daily drivers

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My knowledge, interest in both cars limited, but a friend's dad was sales mgr. at our city's Studebaker store, so we remember when the Avanti debuted. I heard since, tho' can't vouch for this bit's veracity, that because of a strike in the plant that made the Avanti's fiberglass body, the workers had nothing to do but polish the body dies, which is why Avantis are and were so much smoother than period Corvettes.

Never had to ask anyone which car to prefer, or purchase, these being personal decisions akin to which song should i like or woman clicks for me. But since the GMobile's just another boat, the more rationally sized, sportier Avanti gets my nod.

My interests are primarily prewar, anyway, and some of us are still trying to wrap our minds around anything 25 years old being an "antique."

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My knowledge, interest in both cars limited, but a friend's dad was sales mgr. at our city's Studebaker store, so we remember when the Avanti debuted. I heard since, tho' can't vouch for this bit's veracity, that because of a strike in the plant that made the Avanti's fiberglass body, the workers had nothing to do but polish the body dies, which is why Avantis are and were so much smoother than period Corvettes.

Never had to ask anyone which car to prefer, or purchase, these being personal decisions akin to which song should i like or woman clicks for me. But since the GMobile's just another boat, the more rationally sized, sportier Avanti gets my nod.

My interests are primarily prewar, anyway, and some of us are still trying to wrap our minds around anything 25 years old being an "antique."

I am just curious to here of peoples opinions.

I agree, 25 years doesn't seem to be much but in our disposable society where people get rid of cars every 3-6 years I guess 25 is a lot for a car.

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History will PROVE the Buick is the winner. MORE style engineers pick the Buick, and many say it is one of the best ever. That's not just my opinion.

They have two different looks, the stance of the Avanti is not good, IMO. The top is to TALL also. It has some good features for sure, but it's hard to find a single negative with the Buick.

Regarding RELIABLE, I would say the Stude isn't driven as much, so hard to say, IMO

I have never owned either.

Dale in Indy

Edited by smithbrother (see edit history)
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I don't know why, but the Avanti has never appealed to me, and I love Studebakers. I've owned Larks and bullet noses, my dad owned 53 & 56, and I love the history of the company. BUT, the Avanti went in a direction I didn't care for. I am also not a fan of any of the Hawks - I just thought the styling a bit too finny & chrome laden. The Riviera, on the other hand - I love the styling on the 63-65. What a beautiful form - yeah, it's a big car, but a big car that can flat out move and is loaded with quality. I'm firmly in the Buick camp on this one.

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Personally, I like both, but I'd take the Riv. Never have had a Stude, but the Riv., can be a very reliable car, though I like the second gen. Riv. better than the first. I know that I'm likely in a minority group on that one.

It would be very cool to have one of each!

Keith

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When the Avanti came out, I really liked it. The style, the "advance" features of the (European orientation) disc brakes. The fact that the Granitelli Bros had taken them to Bonneville and set some speed records with them. But it seemed, too, that there was no real availbility of parts or "casting meat" to enlarge the engine to more than about 304.5cid . . . which limited its "muscle" image a good bit, compared to other cars.

The "aircraft inspired" instrument cluster is VERY similar to what 2nd Gen Camaros have in them, plus the sporty buckets and console. But, like the Camaros or Mustangs, you could get one with a normal Studebaker 289 V-8 and Borg-Warner automatic . . . or the requisite optional 4-speed manual transmission. At the time, the fact the Stude V-8 dated from the earlier 1950s was not a consideration.

When I finally got to sit in one, in the later 1970s, which belonged to one of our customers (the car had been in their barn for a while), my desire for one diminished. It was a much more "basic" vehicle than other brands of vehicles. Plus, the steering wheel, like the '62 era Corvettes, was too close to the seat cushion for my thighs to slide under, getting in and out . . . the reason I got a tilt steering wheel on my '77 Camaro.

Another issue was the acoustical foam headliner, similar to what Chrysler used on some models back then . . . which was crystalizing at that time. At a time when restoration parts/items would be "unobtainium", it caused me to not want one quite as much as I used to, at that time. Never had driven one, though, then or now.

As neat as the Avanti was, the original version, I would much prefer the Buick Riviera as being a more "substantial" design of vehicle. Considering that the Riviera's competition was the Thunderbird, and I like those Thunderbirds, the size and glamour of the Riviera would have me leaning in that direction.

Reliability? I'd call that a draw. All had carburetors, ignition points, and other things which were normal maintanance items for that era of vehicles.

When first-gen Avanti IIs were in production, THAT would be a different situation. With THAT car, I could have probably specified a tilt steering column, plus my own choice of interior appointments, fabrics, leathers, and such. The basic design would have started to become somewhat antiquated by then, BUT I could at least cover it in fancier clothes than what Studebaker used. I might have also liked, at that time, a Chrysler small block and Torqueflite in the mix, though, rather than the generic Chevy 350.

There is a Studebaker "collector" nearby. One of his sons was in junior college when I was. He had an Avanti with dual 108" whip antennas on the back. To me, it wasn't the height of the top that was the main awkward look, but the "bubble" of the rear window and how it blended down to the deck lid. With the rear suspension "raised", as he had his done (with air shocks), it made the bubble look larger than it was. One of those styling "deals" where the color of the paint can make things look good, great, or mediocre.

All in all, the Riviera would probably be the one I'd take. I wouldn't have to 'splain what kind of car it was at weekend cruises, for one thing. A more substantial vehicle, too, with all due respect.

Just some thoughts,

NTX5467

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This is the first time I have seen these 2 cars brought together this way. Yes, I can see that they were contemporaries and selling in the personal luxury category. They weren't too far apart in price either.

But really they were completely different in personality and so were their customers. In other words I don't see an Avanti buyer seriously considering a Riviera and I can't see a Riviera buyer in an Avanti.

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My prejudice is obvious here but in my opinion the the Riviera wins hands down. Its styling is at the top of my list while I have never cared for the looks of the Avanti. I have to say though, if a supercharged R2 with a four-speed was dropped in my lap I wouldn't kick it to the curb...

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Guest my3buicks

I think a question you need to ask is what kind of driving experience you want - I think comparing the two are like comparing apples and oranges as far as ride, drive, handling, etc.

Both are nice looking cars, but the beautiful lines of the Riv win in my book - I would also prefer the luxury, and size of the Riv better.

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I think a question you need to ask is what kind of driving experience you want - I think comparing the two are like comparing apples and oranges as far as ride, drive, handling, etc.

You're exactly right Keith. I own a '65 Corvette and love to drive it, the power, the excitement, the attention it gets. All of that is fun for about 75-100 miles.:o

I also own an '81 Olds Regency. It gets a few looks, rides great, is quiet, roomy, and I can drive it to California!:eek::)

Yep, it's all in what your perspective is! ;)

Wayne

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I would rather own the Buick and especially the 65 because it's more like the concept version with the hideaway headlamps.

Engineering wise and to wrench on it, the Buick hands down, especially the later two years with ST 400 automatic. If you want to make it handle- you can, or you can drive all day to the moon.

Looks wise, the Avanti is a combination of styling combinations that do not come together and some of the styling cues don't even stand on their own (like the front end).

This comparison is really not a comparison at all because Avanti was marketed and started out as a Sports/Grand Touring car and the Riviera is a Personal Luxury designed vehicle.----two different types of buyers that never see eye to eye.

You might as well have the discussion; What kind of car to you prefer? Sports/Grand touring or Personal luxury ???

D.

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As a 34 year owner of my '64 Riviera. we can take the old Packard ad to heart; "Ask the Man Who Owns One."

Whats that Avanti, a 4.6 liter? And who needs a hog trough? Or an early Borg Warner transmission? Then there is that Ajax frame....

I'd really rather have a Buick.

Bernie

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Depends...if you want a quiet, comfortable driver the Riviera is the way to go. If you want a car that will polarize the general public as you drive down the street an Avanti especially in turquoise will stop traffic.

I've spent considerable time owning both and I don't think it's a fair comparison. I think the Avanti is more comparable to an early Corvette in driving experience; hot and noisy but fun.

Studebaker Avantis are not troublesome or complicated and once the appropriate refurbishing is done they are easy vehicles to own. They have their quiks but ae long as someone knowledgeable is working on them they are "set it and forget it". They are prone to water leaks, though.

However, as you move to the newer Avanti II and later models with more luxury equipment things like sunroofs, power windows they start to get troublesome. Sourcing parts for later cars is both easy with the Chevy Engine and Trans and difficult due to a variety of vendors used to supply accessories. Along with the variety of vendors came inconsistent quality. I had an '88 Avanti and build quality on the inside wasn't much better than a kit car assembled in someones garage.

Reliability on 50 year old cars depends more on what has been done and by whom rather than the initial design. Once I 'straightened' things out on my Rivieras and Avantis they were both extremely reliable.

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I concur, the Avanti was aimed more at the Corvette market than the T-bird/Riviera market. I believe the FIRST gen Avanti II might have closed that gap, some. As the First Gen Avanti II production was later ended, restarted, etc., I suspect the vendor issues mentioned would become much more operative than for the First Gen Avanti IIs.

In more recent times, with the broad expansion of modern amenities and accessories in the Street Rod market, I suspect that an Avanti II (or even Avanti "I") with these upgrades might be a better-to-drive vehicles. The many sound insulation materials. The "universal" power window and lock units. Electronic cruise controls. And some engine upgrades in the way of TBI fuel injection and electronic ignitions. All, if done correctly, which would not significantly harm the originality of the vehicle's timeless look. Some of these same things might be done to the Riviera, too.

Every vehicle has their quirks, as mentioned. Even Studebaker, Chevy, Ford, Chrysler, Buick, Olds, Pontiac, Cadillac, or Lincolns. Then figure in the particular model year of the vehicle and the quirks can expand in numbers. Usually, though almost every car built was meant to be trouble-free . . . to a point . . . depending upon which decade it was built in. Usually, though, more maintanenance is needed than almost ANY newer vehicle, which some newer owners don't seem to understand. Back then, "cars" were not just "cars", but statements of a particular owner's taste and orientation . . . in addition to similar statements and orientations of the particular manufacturer. MUCH more important to have a mechanic who knew what he was looking at AND knew how to work on them!

The one thing that struck me as "counterculture" about the Avanti, back then, was the lack of a grille between the headlights. Just looked a little goofy to me, back then, in spite of the neat things which might have been under the hood. But, as I'd later find out, that probably also decreased the aerodynamic drag, which possibly helped Andy G. get his Avantis to the speeds necessary to be competitive in the Bonneville Salt Flats speed contests . . . even on Sears tires.

Enjoy!

NTX5467

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I

The one thing that struck me as "counterculture" about the Avanti, back then, was the lack of a grille between the headlights. Just looked a little goofy to me, back then, in spite of the neat things which might have been under the hood. But, as I'd later find out, that probably also decreased the aerodynamic drag, which possibly helped Andy G. get his Avantis to the speeds necessary to be competitive in the Bonneville Salt Flats speed contests . . . even on Sears tires.

Enjoy!

NTX5467

Front and tail to the body don't match, especially as noted the front. Another car with a similar front also misses the mark, but at least has a smoother look because the headlamps lie flat when not in use.

http://www.avantisource.com/Picture007.jpg

and

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c9/MHV_VW-Porsche_914-6.jpg

Both of these car exhibit the something missing in the front end treatment look.

D.

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regarding the 914 - something missing in the engine bay look too - VW engine fooled no one

Well is it a VW engine?? The joint venture was produced in Germany as a VW and was the replacement for the Type 34. Designed by Porsche, produced by VW- with the exception of the 914-6. Both models sold as a Porsche in U.S. A.

All air cooled VW's trace their engine heritage back to Porsche and in particular to Franz Reimspiess. The first Porsches even used VW engine cases bought from VW before they went to three piece cases.

Nothing a miss here----all part of the family.:D

D.

Edited by helfen (see edit history)
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I would go Avanti. I guess I shouldn't mention that I cannibalized a Golden Hawk for my 53 Stude Starlight hardtop? I think it is still prowling somewhere around Cuba Mo with the dash, and a Daytona Lark 4 speed and twin traction dif.

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Well is it a VW engine?? The joint venture was produced in Germany as a VW and was the replacement for the Type 34. Designed by Porsche, produced by VW- with the exception of the 914-6. Both models sold as a Porsche in U.S. A.

All air cooled VW's trace their engine heritage back to Porsche and in particular to Franz Reimspiess. The first Porsches even used VW engine cases bought from VW before they went to three piece cases.

Nothing a miss here----all part of the family.:D

D.

I understand the company linkage, but I think you also know that the 914 (yes 914-6 is a different animal) and later the 924's underwhelming reception had a lot to do with poor power for the price point.

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Well is it a VW engine?? The joint venture was produced in Germany as a VW and was the replacement for the Type 34. Designed by Porsche, produced by VW- with the exception of the 914-6. Both models sold as a Porsche in U.S. A.

All air cooled VW's trace their engine heritage back to Porsche and in particular to Franz Reimspiess. The first Porsches even used VW engine cases bought from VW before they went to three piece cases.

Nothing a miss here----all part of the family.:D

D.

Not sure how this conversation got into this thread. But maybe I can clarify.

In 1968 VW brought out their most luxurious model yet, the 1700cc 411. It was meant to compete for sales with BMW and Opel and even the smaller Mercedes. It had a brand new, fuel injection, 1700cc 4 cylinder engine.

This engine was later enlarged to 1800cc. It was adapted to the Type 2 or VW bus, and was also used in the Porsche 914.

Final versions used in the bus were 2000cc air cooled and last of all, a 2000cc water cooled.

I have also heard that VW developed the 914, or had it developed by Porsche, as a super duper Karmann Ghia type VW. When top brass turned it down for production Porsche took it over and produced it as a Porsche, using motors and parts bought from VW.

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Not sure how this conversation got into this thread. But maybe I can clarify.

In 1968 VW brought out their most luxurious model yet, the 1700cc 411. It was meant to compete for sales with BMW and Opel and even the smaller Mercedes. It had a brand new, fuel injection, 1700cc 4 cylinder engine.

This engine was later enlarged to 1800cc. It was adapted to the Type 2 or VW bus, and was also used in the Porsche 914.

Final versions used in the bus were 2000cc air cooled and last of all, a 2000cc water cooled.

I have also heard that VW developed the 914, or had it developed by Porsche, as a super duper Karmann Ghia type VW. When top brass turned it down for production Porsche took it over and produced it as a Porsche, using motors and parts bought from VW.

This got started because I compared the 914's plain no grille front end with turn signals in the ends of the front fenders to the Avanti.

D.

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Something else to consider is the Avanti is a timeless design and has been reproduced in various forms over the years, much the same as Cobras and Auburn speedsters. Is there any second generation Rivs out there? An original 63-64 Avanti is a car to behold. They don't have the value of a Cobra or Auburn, but a good investment none the less. One day the market just might takeoff on these cars.

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I stumbled (quite literally) onto a copy of Hemmings "Classic Car" magazine. It has a red Avanti on the cover, with "Buying Tips to owning this post-war gem" by the picture. Inside, it's a quite in-depth article. Many pictures and production figures. August 2009 Issue.

The article mentions that although the Riviera and T-bird were the Avanti's main competitors, the Avanti was considered to be the only true luxury high performance GT American car of the time, with four interior seating positions. The pictures of the interior show that it was quite nice for when it was built!

Enjoy!

NTX5467

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Once you get a supercharged Avanti over 3000 RPM and the blower takes over you will have no question which one you want to have. All aspirated engines reach a point where they can't suck in more fuel at atmospheric pressure alone, at that point the Avanti supercharger pushes more air and fuel into the manifold and the show really comes to life.

Stude8

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Riviera all the way. I think you would have a greater choice of cars when buying and the prices are very reasonable for nice examples.

These are awesome driving machines with quality that was at the top back in the 60s.

Admittedly I do not know anything about the Avanti support group but can vouch for Riviera owners support through the Riviera Owners Association. They are at the top as far as comaraderie and tech support as is the Buick Club of America IMO. Trying the best I can not to be biased. ;)

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While I like the Avanti and I'm hoping to own at least a few various Studebakers in the future, I'd still choose the first gen Riv over the Avanti, given the choice.

No offense to Avanti, the first gen Riv is just more in line with my tastes in automobiles..

Edited by Kingoftheroad (see edit history)
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