Dale Sexton
AOAI President Dale Sexton

President, Dale Sexton

Dale and his wife Norma have been married for fifty-one years and currently reside in Arizona. Dale has been active in the Arizona Avanti Owners Association chapter since it was chartered in 2001. He has served as president of the AAOA for six years and vice president for two years. Dale’s Arizona chapter played host to the Avanti International meet in 2010.

Dale originally purchased a 1964 Avanti in the early 70’s. In 2003 he bought the 25th anniversary model that was a 1988 Avanti with white with red interior. While owning the car he updated the drive train increasing the car’s appearance and performance. With his love for the Avanti he has since purchased one of the AVX Avanti prototype cars which can be seen on display when he attends on of our many car shows.

Dale and his wife have been able to attend each of the International Avanti meets since 2002 and was elected to the AOAI board in 2007.  Since being elected to the board he has held many office positions ever since. Currently Dale is in his second year as president of the AOAI and devotes many hours to the association.

AOAI Vice-President Rick Shafer

Vice-President, Rick Shafer

Rick Shafer is a member of the Chicagoland chapter of the AOAI. Since retiring he has enjoyed driving his Avanti and spending time with his six grandchildren. Rick also enjoys playing golf during the summer and working on model railroads during the winter.

His love affair with Avantis began in February of 1963. His father and godfather worked for Studebaker and were chosen to deliver the two Avantis displayed at the 1963 Chicago Auto Show at Chicago’s McCormick Place. Though he was only nine years old he knew that someday he would own one. His dream came true in May of 2008 when he purchased Avanti 63R-2924.

He has been an active member in the Chicagoland chapter since the fall of 2009 and has come to know and respect a good number of AOAI members along the way. He is very appreciative to be apart of the AOAI and deeply respects the fine group of members that make up the organization.

Tom Pinnel
AOAI Board Secretary Tom Pinnel

Board Secretary, Tom Pinnel

Tom Pinnel was elected to the AOAI Board of Directors in 2013. The Avanti  first captured his attention when it was introduced back in 1962. He has owned a total of six Studebakers, four of which were GT Hawks, and comes from a family who owned many Studebakers as well.

In the late 1990’s he acquired his first Avanti which was a 1963 R1. In 2005 he and his wife decided to purchase an Avanti convertible #00351 from a club member in Dallas, Texas.

He has been a member of the AOAI for more than 25 years and since moving to Florida in 2008 he has been a member of the John Ebstein chapter. He has served as Vice President in 2010 and as President since 2011. Karen, his wife, continues to be the editor for the Florida Avanti newsletter.

The Florida chapter has just completed holding the first ever Avanti Fest in 2016 and looks forward to many more events in the near future.


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 had been fully restored. After enjoying the Avanti he decided to sell the vehicle in the late 1980’s. Since the sale of his beloved 1963 Avanti he has purchased a 1983 20th Anniversary Edition Avanti (#4 of 25) and a 1963 R1 4 speed that he hopes to pass down to his two sons one day.

Don has been a member of the Studebakers Drivers Club for many years and was a co-chairman for the 1981 SDC International Meet held in St. Louis, Missouri. At a local level Don is active in both the AOAI and the SDC “Gateway” Chapters and was a co-chairman for the 2015 International Meet that was also held in St. Louis. He also takes pride in being an active participant in the weekly AOAI Memorabilia Committee.

Don has worked with AT&T for 36 years establishing and coordinating methods and procedures to facilitate Regulatory Accounting requirements. It is his hope to use his skills in service to the AOAI with the goal of continuing interest in the Avanti automobile.

Ted AndrewsTed Andrews  
Frank Petru
Frank Petru

Frank Petru

For as long as Frank Petru can remember, he has been a “car nut”. He grew up in a family of four boys who were all crazy about nearly anything that moved on wheels. This lead to Frank learning to drive on his brother’s 1963 Studebaker Lark and he was instantly hooked on Studebakers. Since then Frank has owned a number of Studebakers, many as his daily driver and then later on, as show cars.

When he was eleven years old he saw his first Avanti and vowed that he would own one someday. He finally made that dream a reality by purchasing a 1978 Avanti in 1999. It’s one of the lowest mileage ’78 Avanti’s around and is still in all original condition with only 24K miles on it.

After purchasing the Avanti, he joined the AOAI and began attending the International Meets to become more familiar with the vehicle and people in the organization. In addition to being an active AOAI member, 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 SDC.

While a member of the AOAI Indiana Chapter, he has assisted in organizing several National meets held in South Bend and has been the Chapter Newsletter Editor for over 10 years.

He is currently serving on the AOAI Board of Directors as Chair of the International Meet Committee and is also Chief Concours Judge. He is now retired and he and his wife, Bev, reside in the Atlanta, GA area.

Milan Johnson
Milan Johnson

Milan Johnson

Milan Johnson has been the proud owner of a 1963 R-1 Avanti since 1987, after purchasing it in Tucson, AZ. He has been an active member of the AOAI since 2008 and started the Heartland AOAI Chapter in Overland Park, Kansas.

Milan grew up in a family that owned a Studebaker dealership in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. His Father took over the family Studebaker and Allis-Chalmers business dealership after his uncle passed away in 1947. Studebaker cars, trucks, and Allis-Chalmers tractors have been a mainstay in his life. Now he enjoy’s living in the Avanti world.

Milan’s background is in sales/sales management and marketing in the automotive, heavy-duty truck and off-highway equipment manufacturing industries which includes both aftermarket, and OEM manufacturer supplier to these markets. This venture has moved his family around in the Midwest with a number of various manufactures.

Growing up at his father’s dealership at age, six were very memorable for Milan. He took many trips to South Bend, Indiana (Studebaker), La Porte, Indiana (Allis-Chalmers), Detroit, Michigan (Packard), and Chicago, Illinois for the annual showing of new Studebakers along Lakeshore Boulevard in Chicago.

Milan was recently appointed AOAI Membership Director. You can find him trying to track down where all of those 8,200 Avanti’s are around the world.

Milan looks forward to meeting AOAI members at future Avanti events and hopes to see everyone there!

Max Starkey
Max Starkey

Max Starkey

Max Starkey has been married to his wife, Nikie, for 49 years. They have three daughters and Max was able to retire from the Norfolk & Southern Railway in 2003, after thirty four years as a Conductor.

Since 1979 Max has owned six Avantis and presently owns a 1989 coupe. AAV 512.

In October 2015, he was re-elected to his sixth term on the Board of Directors where he has served continuously on the Board as a Recognition Chairman.

Max’s happiest moment was being able to recognize John Hora and Capt. Dick Collins as founders of the Avanti Owners Association at the 2009 Nationals in Naperville, Illinois.

Max helped resurrect the Indiana chapter in 2003 and has served as Secretary/Treasurer since that time. The Indiana chapter is now the largest chapter in the AOAI and is still growing strong.

Al Basile
Al Basile

Alan Basile

Alan Basile picked up his future wife in a 1963 Avanti. Her comment to him upon sitting foot into the vehicle was “What is this? A Pinto?” being 1972 and many years later its safe to say things have improved since then.

Alan and his wife have three sons and five grandchildren. He bought his first Avanti in 1970 and has owned four since then. Alan has been a member of the AOAI for over forty years and his current car is a 1969 Avanti II. He sold his 1957 Thunderbird at the first Seattle Mecum Auction and is currently in looking for a 1964 Avanti to add to his collection.

Alan 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 help revitalize and add members to the chapter that now covers Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska.

Alan is the currently the Newsletter Editor for the Northeast AOAI chapter and recently placed first in the Avanti Newsletter competition. He believes that the newsletters are the glue that binds the chapter together and attracts new members to the organization.

Carl Doughty
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.

Anthony James
Anthony James

Anthony James

Anthony James currently resides in Atlanta Georgia and is one of the newest members to join 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.