Good News:During its 40-year history, Avanti Motor Corporation has designed and built an eclectic collection of motor vehicles, but there's been nothing like its latest, the '04 Studebaker XUV. Using the trademark Studebaker name, which was acquired by Avanti, the XUV (Xtreme Utility Vehicle) appears Hummer-like from the cowl rearward and Ford Super Duty-like in the snout.
While we don't have a lot of information to share with you regarding the XUV, we can tell you that it rides atop a slightly modified Ford Super Duty frame and is powered by either a 310hp, Ford 6.8L Triton V-10 or a 325hp, 6.0L Ford Power Stroke diesel. The V-10 can be equipped with an optional Powerdyne Centrifugal supercharger, which raises its output to 425 hp. Ford's new TorqShift five-speed automatic transmission is available with both engines, as is Ford's standard two-speed
T-case, also taken directly from the Super Duty. Why use the Super Duty platform and drivetrain? Simple: it makes sense. Avanti doesn't have to spend millions in R&D costs to develop a new chassis and drivetrain for the XUV; instead, it relies on the proven and reliable Super Duty components. Additionally, the drivetrain and chassis can be serviced at any Ford dealer, which is a huge factor given the lack of Avanti dealers across the country.
Avanti expects to manufacture 1,000-plus XUVs at the company's facility in Villa Rica, Georgia, and has priced the big SUV at $75,000.
Avanti Studebaker XUVSpecificationsVehicle: Studebaker XUV
Wheelbase: 134 inches
Length/Height/Width: 216 inches/80 inches/80 inches
Ground clearance: 12 inches
Curb weight: 5,900 pounds
Standard features: Power sliding rear roof; in-dash CD player; solar-tinted window glass; four-wheel ABS brake system; driver and passenger airbags; locking tailgate; side intrusion door beams; stainless steel exhaust.
Engine/transmission/transfer case: 6.8L Ford Triton V-10 or 6.0L Ford Power Stroke Diesel V-8/five-speed TorqShift automatic with OD/two-speed shift-on-the-fly.
Horsepower/torque: 6.8L V-10: 310 hp/425 lb-ft; 6.0L V-8 diesel: 325 hp/560 lb-ft
Wheels/tires: 18-inch alloy/35x12.50R18
Towing capacity: 12,900 pounds
Optional equipment: GPS navigation system; Powerdyne supercharger for V-10 engine; TV/DVD player; moonroof; third-row seating; heated seats; front-mounted winch; brushguards; side step bars; roof rack; rear video back-up monitor in rearview mirror.
BAd News:General Motors Files Suit Against Avanti Motors, Claims the Studebaker XUV Is a Replica of the Hummer H2Just when Avanti Motor Corporation was gearing up to roll out the Studebaker XUV, the General slapped it with a lawsuit, claiming, among other things, the XUV is a Hummer H2 knock-off. Jay Cooney, spokesman for Detroit-based General Motors, stated, "We're not going to allow a company like Avanti to come in and essentially copy the H2's exterior. That's exactly why we have infringement and trademark laws in this country." Cooney went on to say, "It's a knock-off. Their vehicle is a copy of our vehicle."
It will take the courts some time to sort out this mess, but the Studebaker XUV and the Hummer H2 share this description: a boxy body, slab side styling, slat-like windows, big wheels, and an overall appearance that's not all that far removed from the original AM Hummer military truck.
For its part, Avanti chairman and CEO Michael E. Kelly said, "There will not be any confusion on the part of the car-buying public. Put both vehicles side by side and there's no question that the Studebaker XUV is distinctly different."
Kelly went on to say, "The XUV is based on original concepts and designs developed by Avanti Motor Corporation. The Studebaker XUV has a completely different body style from the front end to the rear gate, and it has sliding side rear doors and a sliding rear roof, the same as the '63 Studebaker Wagonaire. The XUV shares absolutely no components or styling with the H2."
At press time, the matter of whether or not the XUV infringes on the H2's styling is winding its way through the judicial process. It's safe to say we haven't heard the last on this subject. One thing is certain: the publicity being generated by the GM-versus-Avanti court battle is more than Avanti could have ever hoped for; all of that free advertising is certain to sell a lot of XUVs - unless the General prevails in court and Studebaker XUV # 0001 never makes it off the assembly line.
CORR NewsThe CORR Lucas Oil Series celebrated its fifth anniversary (2002 season) by announcing that drivers shared more than $676,000 in purse and bonus awards. The big money winner last year was four-time Pro-2 champion Scott Taylor, whose sponsorship awards from Ford Motor Company, BFGoodrich tires, and Precision Gear, combined with CORR prize money, netted him $109,193 for the season. Given CORR's extreme popularity, the stadium series is poised to eclipse 2002's prize money, thanks to an increasing amount of series sponsors and continued record spectator attendance. For 2003, major sponsors for the CORR Lucas Oil Series include: The Speed Channel; Ford Trucks; BFGoodrich; Precision Gear; KC HiLites; Goodyear Tire; K&N; Kumho Tires; DynoMax Performance Exhaust; Rancho Suspension; Skyjacker Suspensions; Hydra-Matic Transmissions; and Trailmaster Suspensions.
As you're reading this, the CORR series is off to a terrific 2003 season, having opened with a race in Dresser, Wisconsin. OFF-ROAD magazine will bring you race coverage of the entire CORR series this year. If you've never seen CORR trucks, you'll be amazed at the wheel-to-wheel, slam-bang, high-flyin' action. Check our Calendar department for the entire CORR 2003 schedule, or visit www.corracing.com for more information.
Be There: CoolRide 2003CoolRide is a trail ride that takes place over a three-day period on the incredible trails of Paragon Adventure Park near Hazelton, Pennsylvania. As with its inaugural event in 2001, CoolRide 2003 will provide professional trail guides to maximize safety and enjoyment. With the family oriented atmosphere, CoolRide is sure to be a great event for enthusiasts of all ages, and children are encouraged to attend with their families.
This year, OFF-ROAD magazine is a major sponsor of CoolRide. The event begins on Friday, August 8, with staging, all-day wheeling, a welcome dinner, and a raffle; Saturday features trail rides, dinner, an awards ceremony, and a raffle; Sunday allows participants to explore Paragon's many scenic trails before heading homeward. For more information, check out: CoolRide 2003 at http://dev.jonfund.com/coolride/details.html.
Amazing But True: Sway-A-Way and King Shocks are Not the Same!Blame it on the new guy. In our May '03 issue, a story titled "Super Fly" contained a bit of erroneous information. It all started when OFF-ROAD's sister magazine Sport Truck hired a new staffer, Gary Blount. Well, Gary is a die-hard off-road enthusiast, and because Sport Truck has about zero on-dirt content, it was determined by editorial director Kevin Wilson that Mr. Blount should contribute a story to OFF-ROAD now and then - when he was finished with his Sport Truck duties.
Anyway, we gave Gary the feature photos and a tech sheet for the story on the Mickey Thompson Ford SuperCrew prerunner and told him to write a killer story. Well, Gary went to work almost immediately, secreting himself deep within his lavishly decorated cubicle and loudly bellowing that he would soon emerge with "the definitive prerunner story of all time." Heck, we don't know what Mr. Blount meant by "soon," but 10 days later he turned in "Super Fly," and that's where the trouble began. Somehow, someway, the fact that the Mickey Thompson truck was equipped with Sway-A-Way shocks and dampers escaped Gary, who proclaimed the suspension featured King coilover shocks and bypass dampers. Truth be told, that error got by a slew of staff editors, as well. See, Gary, King shocks are blue and Sway-A-Way shocks are red - that's a dead giveaway.
Worst of all, the first phone call we received informing us of our mistake was from our old buddy Dave Boutwell, director of marketing at Sway-A-Way. "You know, my boss is pretty PO'd," went the conversation. Our sincere apologies to Sway-A-Way and company president Brian Skipper. As for Brent King at King Shock Technologies, you can stop laughing now.