1964 Avanti R-5083 / R2, 4 speed


1964 Studebaker Avanti R2, serial R5083. Pete Rutledge of Woodbridge, VA (member of AOAI and SDC (Potomac Chapter) and previous owner of 3 other Avantis), purchased the car from Beth in Smiths Creek, MI, on September 8, 2018, becoming its 4th owner. Beth had inherited the car from her cousin Gary and in May 2017 removed it from more than 30 years in a storage unit. Beth’s cousin purchased the car in 1980 from its original owners, Jack and Betty, in Livonia, MI. The original owners purchased the car new from the “Studebaker Fort Wayne” dealership in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

In 2017 Beth and her husband put time and money into the car to get it in running condition again after lying dormant for more than 30 years. After having it appraised, they listed it on Cars.com in November 2017. They got many calls from potentially interested buyers all around the country. Pete Rutledge and his wife, however, were the first people to actually go and see the car in Michigan. On the phone, Beth was honest about the car’s condition, including the need for torque box (“hog trough”) and rear cross-member repair, which probably discouraged the other potential buyers.

This Avanti is special because it is a 1964 model (1 of 809 Studebaker Avantis), an R2 (1 of 281 ’64 models), a 4-speed (1 of 95 ’64 R2s) with heavy-duty suspension (1 of 24 4-speed ’64 R2s) and 4.09:1 Twin Traction rear axle (1 of 7 4-speed ’64 R2s), and it is turquoise exterior (1 of 16 4-speed ’64 R2s) and turquoise interior (1 of 12 4-speed ’64 R2s). All in all, R5083 is probably 1 of 1. It is also a low-mileage car, with just under 43K miles at the time of this last purchase.

Incidentally, R5083’s younger fraternal “twin,” R5084, currently in Michigan, is red but has all of the same factory options and was originally shipped by Studebaker to the same “Studebaker Fort Wayne” dealership. Evidently, some people (the dealer and buyers) had a desire for the quintessential Avanti “stoplight racer.”

/Pete Rutledge

First Light after 30 years