Last post on Dec 13, 2013 at 2:42 AM
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Classic Cars, Coupe, Convertible, Truck, Sedan, Wagon
#1822 of 2188 Re: Record price set for an R2 Avanti at Barrett-Jackson [fintail]
Jan 25, 2013 (7:27 am)
In late '80 or early '81, with my first 'real' job, I had to travel to Kalamazoo to surprise-audit some of our stores. Back then, in that town, you saw Checkers with vinyl tops, whitewalls and wire wheelcovers driving around.
Sadly, I've never ridden in one. I'd like to fix that someday.
Speaking of Checker, I recall reading an article about Nate Altman, the Studebaker dealer who revived Avanti in South Bend. Before he decided to get financing himself, he approached the President of Checker, Morris Markin, about Checker building the Avanti on their line. Markin said, "How can you expect us to build a car as ugly as the Avanti?".
Altman was incensed...in the article he said, "Can you believe that? They build the Checker Marathon!".
And the rest is history, for both companies.
#1823 of 2188 Re: Record price set for an R2 Avanti at Barrett-Jackson [lemko]
Jan 25, 2013 (8:53 am)
I remember riding in Checker cabs when I was a little kid visiting my grandmother in Chicago. (She was the only one in the family who would call a cab because she was the only adult who did not drive.) They had small fold able "jump" seats on the floor as seen below. I liked riding in my own seat. That would probably be illegal today as so many things are.
#1824 of 2188 Re: Record price set for an R2 Avanti at Barrett-Jackson [jljac]
Jan 25, 2013 (12:23 pm)
Cool; I've always heard they had jump seats but I've never seen one.
I remember a bit of an oddball guy in our town having a big-bumper, russet-colored Checker Marathon. I spoke to him at Lloyd Lee's Arco station about it, and he said he picked it up at the factory in Kalamazoo. I saw him driving it around town a few times more, then maybe five years later saw it on the "make me an offer" used-car lot of the Pontiac dealer. I don't know what happened to it afterwards.
#1825 of 2188 Re: Record price set for an R2 Avanti at Barrett-Jackson [fintail]
Jan 25, 2013 (1:00 pm)
I wonder how much more than that it cost to restore.
In re-reading the description, it was about a ten-year-old restoration, although was freshened up, so to speak, to 'present well' for the auction, whatever precisely that means.
I just love that particular car.
I wouldn't say you couldn't give me a Mustang or Camaro, but you could...upon which I'd promptly sell it and buy something a little more unique.
#1826 of 2188 Re: Record price set for an R2 Avanti at Barrett-Jackson [uplanderguy]
Jan 25, 2013 (1:23 pm)
I have nothing against Mustangs or Camaros either, but I too prefer something uncommon. I don't like pulling up beside myself at a light or a show.
#1827 of 2188 Re: Record price set for an R2 Avanti at Barrett-Jackson [fintail]
Jan 25, 2013 (2:05 pm)
You've probably experienced this too, but I loved at a local cruise-in a couple years ago, two guys just kept coming back and back to my white sunroof Lark Daytona. Just kept saying, "I've never seen one". That's neat. Generalizing is bad, I know, but I've met more than one '57 Chevy or GTO owner who've either said, or stopped just short of saying, "why would you want one of those?". Dolts!
#1828 of 2188 Re: Record price set for an R2 Avanti at Barrett-Jackson [uplanderguy]
Jan 25, 2013 (6:42 pm)
At the local MBCA show last year, an old lady was really taken by my car, probably because of the color and its relative oddity. I usually get old timers talking to me about it, those who remember the cars from back in the day, and haven't seen one in a long time. I've been the only fintail at every local annual MB show I've attended.
I've had curious questions about my car, most of those in normal cars haven't seen something like mine, I think the fins catch their eye. They are usually shocked about the fuel injection.
#1829 of 2188 Re: Record price set for an R2 Avanti at Barrett-Jackson [fintail]
Jan 26, 2013 (3:14 am)
I didn't know fintails were fuel-injected, that is indeed neat.
What exactly is the official model number of a fintail? I'll have to ask my old dealer friend if he sold any at his place.
He said they'd get Benz owners from 15 or 25 miles away as they had a good reputation for Benz service--their head mechanic went to South Bend to take Benz classes and was an excellent mechanic (I still see this guy once or twice a year, too--the mechanic). It was a small little dealer in a small, non-suburb town, but the family owned the place for forty-two years--'26 to '68.
#1830 of 2188 Re: Record price set for an R2 Avanti at Barrett-Jackson [uplanderguy]
Jan 26, 2013 (7:39 am)
I guess it is on topic, as Stude dealers also sold fintails for a few years
Most fintails don't have FI, but those with an "SE" badge do, those being the higher models. Fintails are on platforms W110 (190/190D/200/200D/230), W111 (220, 220S, 220SE, 230S), and W112 (300SE). W110 cars are the ones with 2 big round headlights, W111-112 cars will have quad lights or flush Euro units, W112 cars were top of the line models with air suspension. The W111 cars were introduced in 1959, with W110 and W112 cars in 1961. In 1965, the W112 was phased out, the 190 became the 200, 220 series carb cars became 230 cars, and the higher models were moved to the new W108 platform. The coupes starting in 1961 are also W111/112 cars and are considered part of the fintail family - even though they have only little bumps for fins, MB realizing by 1961 that the fin fad had passed. But they kept them on sedans until the very end. Highline fintail sedan production ended in the summer of 1965, lowline cars were made until January 1968, coupes until 1971.
I suspect these cars sold more in small towns than MB does today - as the target market was different. These were mostly not luxurious or flashy cars, tending to attract engineers, doctors, professors, tech buffs, etc - and they weren't terribly expensive.
#1831 of 2188 Re: Record price set for an R2 Avanti at Barrett-Jackson [fintail]
Jan 27, 2013 (3:53 am)
Thanks for the details; I think best thing is to send him a pic! I'll find one online.
He kids me that I know more about Studes than he does, yet he'll correct me on something once in a while and he's right!
He told me once he and his wife brought 'an expensive' (?) M-B back for a customer, from the docks at NYC and it had a column-mounted 4-speed automatic that ended up being troublesome. He also told me he either drove or rode in a gullwing at a dealer show at Seven Springs, PA, and his Dad had a 180 (black with red interior) that he very much enjoyed. I have a pic of it here.
When I was at the archives of the Studebaker National Museum a couple years back, they had very detailed records of retail sale information from Sept. '63 'til the end. I was surprised to see two or three cards showing M-B's traded on new Studes at his dealership in that time period. Back then, I think folks bought the dealership as much as the car.
My friend told me eventually M-B pulled their franchise for low volume, which is understandable in a town that size that had every single other domestic franchise.
I do remember a 190 convertible driven by our high school nurse who was an older lady but quite a character. He did sell her and her husband that car and serviced it. It was a grayish-blue, not unlike your fintail now that I think about it.
Sorry for the lack of detail in my descriptions of the cars...years passing and relaying info others told me might not make them very accurate!