With all the grim news in the world, it's nice to find some silly, little thing that makes you smile, even if it defies logic.
Try this: The Avanti is still around as a 2006 model.
What started more than 40 years ago as a production model of the long-since defunct Studebaker Corp. has evolved and mutated, but it just won't stay dead.
The brain waves have stopped a few times, but some investor has always put the Avanti back on life support with an I.V. drip of capital. Over the years, rights to the Avanti have been handed from one owner to another.
When Studebaker tanked and moved its automotive production from Indiana to Canada in late 1963, execs jettisoned the Avanti, which had been built for just the 1963 and 1964 model years.
Two Studebaker dealers, Nate Altman and Leo Newman, bought the tooling and factory from Studebaker. Their Avanti Motor Corp. began producing the Avanti II in 1965.
In 1982 they sold the works to Steve Blake, a real estate developer from Washington, D.C., who knew squat about making cars but had fallen in love with the Avanti. (Gag) The result was predictable. Three years, later Blake folded.
Avanti was dormant for two years. By 1987, South Bend businessman Michael Kelly had bought the assets, made plans to introduce new models built on GM running gear and had taken John Cafaro as a partner. They built and sold cars until 1991 then shut the doors.
The Avanti was out of production for most of the 1990s. But after a couple of other changes in ownership, Kelly is back in the driver's seat.
For a quarter of a century, most investors were simply Avanti enthusiasts seduced by the chance to be an automaker.
How do you explain it? None of the Avanti permutations are what you would call handsome. Some are ugly. Even back in 1963, the original Avanti looked odd. It was designed by Raymond Loewy and his team, but the curves and angles have always seemed out of phase.
Over the years, Avanti production has migrated. It started in the Studebaker factory in South Bend, Ind., that originally produced wagons for the Union army during the Civil War. At least that's how the story goes.
It also spent some time in Youngstown, Ohio, before turning up in the well-known auto manufacturing center of Villa Rica, Ga., where the 2006 models are produced.
You never know how long a limited-volume carmaker can hang in the game before customers lose interest and investors lose their patience.
So enjoy the Avanti, again, while you can.
You may e-mail Edward Lapham at