SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Michael Kelly, one of the benefactors of Studebaker's star-crossed Avanti luxury sports coupe, died Dec. 22. He was 64.
The Youngstown, Ohio, entrepreneur bought the rights to produce the Avanti in 1987, becoming the brand's third owner. He produced convertibles and sedans in Youngstown until 1991. Financial troubles forced Kelly to sell the company. He bought it back in 2001 and produced a limited run of restyled Avantis that used General Motors and Ford frames and powertrains. The last car was built in 2007.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Bill Wright, an auto dealer in Kalamazoo, Mich., died here Dec. 28. He was 55.
Wright sold his stake in Seelye-Wright Automotive Group in October; he had been a partner since 1989. The group owns six dealerships in western Michigan and has since shortened its name to Seelye Automotive Group.