AOAI President Rick Shafer

President, Rick Shafer

Rick got his first look at a Studebaker Avanti in early February, 1963. His dad, Jack Shafer and godfather, Frank Middlebrook, both of Villa Park, IL were employees of Studebaker at the time. Jack and Frank were picked to drive the two 1963 Chicago Auto Show display Avantis from nearby Rockford, IL to McCormick Place in downtown Chicago. Rick was along for the ride, but was looking on from the backseat of the family Lark. He can still recall watching those Avantis fly down the highway. Unfortunately, Rick’s father passed away in June of 1963, but he knew even then that he would one day own one of those beautiful cars. 

Life went on as Rick got married, raised two kids and worked at his long dreamed of career in law enforcement. All through those years, Rick never stopped dreaming of one day owning an Avanti. Rick and his wife Rita have been married for over 41 years and have 6 beautiful grandkids. After Rick retired in 2004, his thoughts very shortly returned to owning an Avanti, and the search began in earnest in late 2006. In May, 2008 he finally fulfilled that dream when he acquired 63R-2924. The R1 is Avanti white, has a custom cloth interior and a manual 5 speed transmission.Rick confesses that he did not know of the existence of AOAI until September 2009 when the international meet was held in the Chicago area. Rick joined AOAI as well as the Chicagoland chapter at the meet and very quickly realized he had found an organization and people that he wanted to get involved with.

Rick became very active in the chapter and in the fall of 2015 he was encouraged to run for the AOAI board. After being elected to the board in October, Rick was further honored by then being elected as the president of the Chicagoland chapter in February of 2016. In 2017 Rick was re-elected as the president of the Chicagoland chapter, and re-elected to a new three year term on the AOAI board as well.We are now at the start of 2018 and he finds himself as president of AOAI. Quite a journey in just a little over 8 years. Rick has enjoyed becoming active in the Avanti world and plans on continuing just as long as he can. Rick looks forward to getting to know more people who share his passion for the Avanti.

Milan Johnson
AOAI Vice-President Milan Johnson

Vice-President, Milan Johnson

Milan has served on the AOAI Board of Directors the past few years. He enjoys serving and will assist
in various capacities as AOAI move forward for tomorrow’s opportunities.Milan is the third owner of a 1963 Avanti R-1 that he purchased from the Tucson, AZ owner. Milan and his wife Dot were married in 1960. They have two children, and four grandchildren. Dot supports and participates in numerus collector car and annual automotive fund-raising events and shows. Milan’s uncle, Floyd H. Johnson, started a service repair garage in the early 1900’s. He then added and sold Ford and Chrysler automobiles before becoming a Studebaker dealership in the late 1920’s. Milan grew up working for his father at their family’s Studebaker-Packard dealership in Mt. Pleasant, MI sweeping floors, washing cars and helping the mechanics service the customers.Milans father took over the dealership after his uncle Floyds sudden death in 1947. Milan’s father owned the dealership through the 1963 Studebaker model year. Milans professional carrier was in sales and sales/marketing management for major manufacturers in the OEM, automotive, heavy-duty truck, and off-highway equipment markets. After moving from Memphis, TN to Overland Park, KS, there was an interest for starting an Avanti Chapter in Kansas. This is when the Heartland AOAI Chapter was formed in 2011. Milan currently serves on the Chapter board responsible for membership. There are currently twenty-five active members from western Missouri, the state of Kansas, and SE Nebraska.

Both Milan and his wife volunteer in various community events, local church, and Concours events raising funds for student scholarships and other charitable causes. He is a member of a local collector car group called “Car Guys” that meet monthly. What an experience this has been for him since moving to Overland Park, KS. Milan’s motto is drive your Avanti and let other people know more about yourself and automotive interests as this will generate interest in your community while drawing new members, and supporting regional AOAI chapter events.

AOAI Board Secretary Frank Petru

Board Secretary, Frank Petru

A self-described “car nut”, Frank learned to drive on his older brother’s 1963 Studebaker Lark and since then has owned a number of Studebakers as a daily driver and later as show cars. He purchased his 1978 Avanti in 1999, which is still in pristine original condition with only 24,000 miles on it.

After acquiring this Avanti, he joined the AOAI and became an active member of the Indiana Chapter. He has assisted in organizing several National meets held in South Bend, as well as editing the Chapter’s Newsletter for the past 14 years. In addition, he has been a long-time member of The Studebaker Drivers Club and served as Newsletter Editor, Vice President and President of the North Georgia Chapter.

Frank is currently beginning his second term serving on the AOAI Board of Directors as Chair of the International Meet Committee, Chief Concours Judge and Board Secretary. He is retired and resides with his wife, Bev, in the Atlanta, GA area.

Don Hart
AOAI Board Treasurer Don Hart

Treasurer, Don Hart

Don Hart’s interest in the Avanti dates back many years. In 1979, only a few years after college
graduation, he purchased a 1963 Avanti which was subsequently fully restored. After enjoying the Avanti family events (two children) dictated its sale in the late 1980’s. Since the sale of his beloved first Avanti he has purchased a 1983 20th Anniversary Edition Avanti (#4 of 25) and a 1963 R1 4 speed (63R2681). Both are “drivers” that he hopes to pass down to his grandchildren one day.Don has been a member of the Studebakers Drivers Club for many years and was a co-chairman for the 1981 and 2015 SDC International Meets held in St. Louis, Missouri. At a local level Don is active in both the AOAI and the SDC MO/IL “Gateway” Chapters. He also takes pride in being an active participant in the AOAI Memorabilia Committee.

Currently retired, Don serves as the AOAI Treasurer beginning in 2015. Although not a CPA, he gained financial expertise as a result of programming, systems design, methods and procedures and regulatory compliance related to cost accounting during a 37 year career with AT&T. He plans to continue to serve AOAI as Treasurer for some time contingent on continued membership approval.

Ted Andrews
AOAI Member At Large, Ted Andrews

Ted Andrews

AOAI Member At Large, Al Basile

Alan Basile

In 1972, Al Basile picked up his future wife in a 1963 Avanti. Her comment to him upon setting foot in the vehicle was “What is this? A Pinto?” Since that first date, it’s safe to say things have improved. 

Al and Kathy have three sons and five grandchildren. He bought his first Avanti in 1970 and has owned four since then. Al has been a member of the AOAI for over forty years and his current car is a very original 1964 Supercharged R2 Studebaker Avanti.

Al worked for MetLife in New York City and retired after 33 years with the company. His last position was as Assistant Vice President of Marketing. In 2010 he decided to move to the Pacific Northwest to be closer to part of his family. As a member of the Northwest AOAI chapter, he helped revitalize and add members to the chapter that now covers Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska, and has over 100 members.

Al is the co-author of the 1963/1964  Studebaker Avanti Authenticity Manual and is in charge of Authenticity Judging for AOAI. He is currently working on the first addendum to the manual which will continue to provide a legacy of Excellence in Authenticity for the Studebaker Avanti.

AOAI Member At Large, Carl Doughty

Carl Doughty

Carl Doughty is a car guy who collects, shows, races, and enjoys classic cars. He got his first Avanti over twenty years ago while living in Florida. At that time Florida lacked an Avanti chapter so Carl and Bill Amanti formed the John Ebstein chapter of the AOAI. He has served as president and held every office for the Florida chapter. Carl has served on the AOAI board for many years and held the Vice President position under Carolyn Crall. Carl was instrumental in putting on the 1999 AOAI International meet in Gainsville, Florida, and has been an active chief judge, as well as held many hats while apart of the AOAI.

Currently Carl is a retired optometrist and lives in Palm Bay, Florida, with his wife Cheryl. His current Avanti is a 2004 Avanti convertible which he drives and shows at many AOAI meets and car events around the country.

AOAI Member At Large, Anthony James

Anthony James

Anthony James currently resides in Atlanta Georgia and is serving his second year on the AOAI board.

His love for the Avanti comes from spending countless hours participating in car events and talking shop with his dad and the Florida chapter of the AOAI.

After serving in the U.S. Navy Anthony attended college graduating with a degree in Communication. He currently works at a marketing company and spends his free time as a photographer, talking about design, and wrenching on different types of vehicles with friends.

AOAI Member At Large, Mike Foglton

Mike Foglton

Mike currently resides in Estero, Florida. He and his wife Kim have been happily married for 31 years, and spent the majority of that time in the Chicagoland Area. He joined the AOAI in August of 2016 –  after he purchased his first Avanti. Shortly after, he acquired his second Avanti. While on the surface it seems as if Mike’s love for Avanti has just begun, but he has always felt a passion for Avanti ever since he was a little boy. 

Growing up near South Bend, Mike’s father, Stephen, would take either his Studebaker Lark or Studebaker Champion, and drive his sons past the Studebaker plant in town. Once the Avanti was released, there was no turning back. Mike knew he would own one down the road some day. 

Mike is also a member of the Indiana and Florida Chapters, and is looking forward to getting more involved and giving back to the Avanti Community.