JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- More than 200 cars were on display at the Jacksonville Landing last Saturday at the 26th Annual Rollin' on the River Car, Truck and Motorcycle Show.

Among the eye catchers was Joel Daniel's 1988 Avanti convertible. The Avanti was originally built by Studebaker from 1962-1964.

Although Studebaker went under, the beauty and engineering behind the Avanti prompted Nathan Altmen and Leo Newman to buy the rights to manufacture the car. Newman died in 1980 and the family soon sold Avanti Motor Corporation to Stephen Blake in 1982, according to

Blake went to work upgrading the Avanti's appearance with integrated resin bumpers. But he couldn't make a go of it, entering bankruptcy in 1986.

Next up was Michel Kelly, who purchased the assets. Daniel's Avanti, was produced around the time of the company changing hands again, with John Cafraro purchasing the company in September of 1988. Variations of the Avanti continued through 2007, according to Wikipedia, when the last car rolled off the line in Cancun, Mexico.

In a 1984 road test, Road & Track gave that year's model a generally good review saying, "It's heartening to see that a good design can be artfully updated without resorting to the usual electronic/plastic gadgetry."

Daniel has been quite happy with his Avanti. It's got about 85,000 miles on it and has been on road trips to such places as Kansas City, Kan., and South Bend, Ind.; which is the city where the original Stuebaker Avanti was manufactured.

Proceeds from last Saturday's Rollin' on River show benefited Ronald McDonald House.


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