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Cars That Have Disappointed

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Comments

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,851
    I had totally forgotten until just now, but I have an acquaintance who has a bustleback Seville with the Diesel. Hp, you saw his car briefly at the Rockville show, as he was leaving. Probably heard it before you saw it, though!

    My friend loves the thing, and says it's great, but he took it to some place called the "Diesel Doctor", and had a lot of work done on it.

    I always thought it was a shame Olds didn't make a gasoline version of that 4.3/262 V-6, which was their 350 with two cylinders removed. The Olds block was a bit lighter than the Chevy block, and Olds engines tended to have a bit more torque than Chevy engines of similar displacement. Or at least, the 307 had more torque than the 305.

    Those V-6 Diesels also went in the FWD C-bodies, I believe for 1985 only, and there was a year or two, I believe, they offered them in the RWD intermediate G-body. It was really too under-powered to go in the big RWD cars though.
  • wevkwevk Posts: 178
    I recall reading that another source of problems with this engine was sloppy production tolerances. Apparently that's a problem in a high compression diesel.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,168
    edited February 2011
    From most of the comments on the "I spotted A ----" discussion, the Marlin qualifies as a disappointment. But how about the Avanti? It was loved my some, admired by many, and remained in production, in various iterations, long after Studerbaker went under. Yet it never sold well. It wasn't really a success, but was it a disappointment? I think it had some of the qualities of both. Did the Avanti have the potential to save Studebaker, if, say, it had been brilliantly marketed, or did its plastic body and style confine it to a niche market?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,420
    I don't think the Avanti could have saved Studebaker. I don't think God could have saved Studebaker.

    The Avanti was expensive, was not by any means accepted as attractive by everyone (more of a case where the auto press liked it more than the public, which happens more often than you'd think) and for the $$$, rather under-equipped compared to its competition.

    Basically the problem with the Avanti was a microcosm of the problem with Studebaker. Unlike Rambler, they simply could not compete on price with the Big Three---not even close. For a lot less money, you could buy a GM every bit as good, or better.

    When the Corvette first came out, it was also low production and a sales failure---but GM had the resources to quickly fashion it into a winner. Studebaker simply did not have the horsepower to correct Avanti's content and marketing problems.

    It's no co-incidence that every attempt to reproduce the car also failed. How many votes does a car need before it accepts the public's results?

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  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,120
    I've seen some awful interpretations of the Avanti following Studebaker's demise. The worst was an Avanti based on a late GM F-body. Fit and finish was awful and the car's styling was really awkward. It looked as if somebody tried to graft an Avanti front and rear onto a 2000 Camaro.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    edited February 2011
    The first post-Studebaker owner of the Avanti, Nate Altman and his family, built the car for nearly twenty years. The company was sold only after Nate, and later his brother, died. I'm not sure that could be considered a failure. It was a 'kit' car...and sold as such, around 200 a year. I truly cannot remember anything else even remotely like it, business-wise.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,420
    Oh yeah, there was the Gatsby, the Tiffany....there were lots of low-production kit cars (or they would build it for you) that dragged on for years and years. But they were always two steps away from the cliff at any given point in time.

    The only real success in reproducing a defunct production car was the various types of AC Cobra kits.

    One reason for that is that they are often better than the original. Can't say that for the various Avanti rebirths.

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  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    I think comparing the Gatsby and Tiffany to the Avanti II is somewhat of a joke. There is no other car that was a regular part of a manufacturer's lineup that was discontinued, then picked up by an independent builder and with the exception of engine and some minor tweaks, were built with the same chassis and interior parts, largely, as the original, for two decades. After that, a revised chassis was used but the styling remained so very close to the original, right up until the 1991. Sales were high enough to enable the manufacturers to add a convertible and four-door sedan. I could only liken this to somebody continuing to build the Corvette or Mustang if Chevy or Ford discontinued it...not a 'boutique' car like a Clenet or whatever.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,420
    Sure, most of the AC Cobra builders did that, and in aluminum, too (some of them). In fact, some of the reproductions are so good you have to *really* look at them to spot the fakes.

    I wouldn't diss the Gatsby of Tiffany or Clenet too much, as they will bring double the money of an Avanti II. So their owners do have some bragging rights, even though the cars sort of horrify me.

    The Avanti II was the answer to a question that nobody asked, it seems.

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  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    You seem unable to address the fact that for twenty years, the builders subsequent to Studebaker made a profit on the car. This, to me, is utterly amazing...while keeping up with safety standards.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,420
    edited February 2011
    it's just a little asterisk in automotive history to me.

    I think of the Avanti II as a hobby well done, not as a serious manufacturer, and basically an automotive dead end. Sort of like those many types of Ford Model A manufacturers. Some of those guys went a decade or more.

    The Avanti should have been retired as a champion, not dragged along for another 20 years or whatever.

    MODERATOR

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,168
    edited February 2011
    I noticed you correctly used a lower case "c" in champion, when referring to this Studebaker.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    edited February 2011
    I always thought it was utterly amazing that the Newman and Altman families were able to get financing in South Bend to continue to build the Avanti, shortly after the huge collapse of Studebaker in the United States, and that Studebaker allowed it to be built. I mean, Avanti II's were being built while Studebaker was still assembling in Canada. It was built in an original Studebaker building, with Studebaker former employees, and they subsequently hired on Gene Hardig, Stude's former VP of Engineering, after his tasks of shutting down South Bend Engineering for Studebaker and engineering the use of GM engines in the '65 and '66 Canadian-built Studebakers were complete.

    Nate Altman, the "ringleader", was a Packard dealer who didn't sell Studebakers until '59. He has been oft-quoted that he loved the Avanti so much, he couldn't stand to see it go away. He approached Morris Markin, president of Checker, about building the Avanti and Markin said "how do you expect me to sell such an ugly car?" This p*ssed off Altman who said later in an interview, "Can you believe he said that? He builds the Checker Marathon!" Hence, he decided to build the Avanti himself.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,420
    edited February 2011
    it may have been amazing, but it wasn't so smart. And I hope no one starts building Checkers again either.

    I mean, look at the Avanti II or a hypothetical replica Checker from a purely pragmatic point of view. These are very old-fashioned cars. Very few people want to spend new-car money on a replica throwback to the 1960s. They either want the latest and greatest, or they want the *real thing*.

    The pragmatism really stands out when you consider that they could have bought a real Avanti for the price of the fake one!

    I mean, now really. Is there a better recipe for failure?

    Madness is not uncommon when men become intoxicated with the allure of automobiles.

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,851
    I mean, look at the Avanti II or a hypothetical replica Checker from a purely pragmatic point of view. These are very old-fashioned cars. Very few people want to spend new-car money on a replica throwback to the 1960s. They either want the latest and greatest, or they want the *real thing*.

    I remember around 1990, there was a company that took old 60's GM intermediate convertibles, refurbished them, upgraded them to disc brakes and dual master cylinders, put in a good sound system, and replaced the engine with a generic Chevy 350, which I think was the 200 hp TBI unit, and a 4-speed automatic (THM700R4 I think) They'd also put musclecar badges on them, so that Tempest convertible now sported GTO badges, the Chevelle became an SS, the Cutlass a 4-4-2, etc.

    I think they sold them for around $25,000. Actually, for something that combines a lot of the advantages with a new car with the style and charm of an old car, it doesn't seem like a huge amount...although that $25K is probably more like $40K+ today. And I think they even had a 1 year/12,000 mile powertrain warranty.

    However, the venture wasn't too successful, and I don't think it lasted long. Overwhelmingly, people either wanted their new cars to be truly NEW, or if they wanted an older car, they wanted the real thing.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,420
    Perhaps it was an idea before its time. Nowadays, people are upgrading classic cars. These are ofen called "pro touring" cars, and they make a lot of sense.

    The marketplace in America is fickle and it is very saturated. Brand loyalty hardly exists anymore.

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