There’s a special place in automotive heaven for Nate Altman, a South Bend, Indiana Studebaker dealer. It was Altman, his brother Arnold, and their partner Leo Newman that bought the rights and tooling and part of the Studebaker factory in South Bend so they could keep the Avanti in production after Studebaker killed the car in late 1963, when it stopped building cars in their hometown. Studebaker would continue to lose money building Larks in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and eventually completely folded in 1966. Unlike Studebaker, however, Altman’s Avanti Motor Corporation, was profitable, building up to 200 Avanti IIs a year, each of them custom ordered. Nate Altman died in 1976 and his brother sold the company in 1982. While the number of cars they produced is statistically insignificant, what the Altmans and Newman did to keep a landmark car in production (and the memory of Studebaker, a historic automobile company, alive) will be a part of automotive history forever.
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