What If: 1975 Studebaker Avanti

In my last post I gave you a sneak peak at what the Midjourney AI has been giving me for an imaginary 1975 Studebaker Avanti. Yes, I know that you could buy an Avanti II in 1975. My purpose here is to see if the AI can propose what a mid-Seventies Avanti might have looked like if Studebaker had stayed in business and had the resources to design a second or third generation. And as far as that goes, have one thing to say:

Be gentle.

Midjourney knows some stuff, but it doesn’t have the deep automotive history knowledge of the typical CC reader. The more obscure the car, the less likely it is that the AI will understand what I’m asking for and give us an interesting imaginary car, but not something we’d call an Avanti. On top of that, it’s only as good as the prompts that I give it.

For example, here’s one of my first attempts. Why does it look so much like a Maserati?

Is it because I described it as a “sports car” in my prompt?

Was it because I had Italian food on the brain?

No, it was because I mistyped “Studebaker” and “Studebsker” in my prompt. As we say in the computer business: Garbage in, garbage out.

Okay, with the name of the car spelled correctly, we’re not in Italy anymore.

But where exactly are we? Someplace that looks like the inspiration for the second-generation Camaro?

Someplace angular?

We’re getting closer. It’s got the usual GM flavor that Midjourney seems to favor with these, but at least we’re getting side windows evocative of an Avanti.

The AI is certainly giving me a lot of grilles, though. The clean nose of the Avanti is one of its distinctive features.

Maybe that deep rear bumper can withstand a 5-mph impact, but those front bumpers have certainly not been up to snuff.

Let’s remove the phrase “sports car” and replace it with “updated with 5-mph bumpers.” The car is definitely more upright, but those bumpers aren’t right.

Hey, they eventually made an Avanti sedan, right? It’s definitely not 1975, but I can imagine this as a mid-Sixties line expansion.

I see some Avanti family resemblance here despite the wild paint job.

A similar idea but the AI decided on quad headlights.

Pretty, but not 1975.

Maybe the front end is elastomeric? Hard to say. We’re getting awfully close to personal luxury car territory, though.

The bumpers are wrong for 1975, but I have to admit this is my personal favorite. It may or may not be an Avanti, but it sure is pretty.

Let’s try to get those bumpers right. This was my first shot at trying to use reference images of cars from the era to push the AI into giving me something more 1975. Close, but no cigar. Also, those doors are going to be a challenge in any parking lot.

Now we’re talking. We’re getting too close to Chevy Monza territory, but the front end looks right for the decade.

Less Monza, more sports car!

A credible elastomeric nose, if oddly painted.

Shifting to the “journalism style” images got me very European-looing results, I think.

Way too small.

Sure, this is interesting, but check out the tiny wheels on that RV. Are they selling some off-brand Charles Chips? Also, don’t look too closely at the physiognomy of the people.

Are we back in Italy? What’s that green car in the background that photobombed us?

Not quite a shooting brake.

These concept sketch images were done before I started focusing on the bumpers. I think the roofline would support a four-seater.

Not so much this one. Also, those wheels?

We’ve lost the script.

The headlights work for me here.

It’s attractive, but it doesn’t scream “Avanti.”

This doesn’t fit the Seventies at all, but I like it as a 2024 Camaro. I think the angles fit the Chevy design language, as seen on the current Blazer.

Let’s close out this post with a few imaginary Avantis in the mixed-media style.

Not impressed.


We’re kind of in the ballpark, maybe, but that style of headlight always says “Ferrari” or “Z-car” to me.

The maw on this one notwithstanding, I like of like this a a version of the Avanti round-headlights face.

More of a muscle car, I think.

Maybe I’m being overly critical, but I don’t think many of these really fit the bill. To be sure, a lot of them are interesting and even attractive. And some pranksters among us might enjoy using these pictures on April 1st. But in this case I think I’ve pushed the limits of what the Midjourney AI knows about Studebakers. To go further than I have with reference images would be using it more like a drawing tool to create what I imagine a1975 Studebaker to be rather than testing what it knows.

Next up: Before we get to Champions and Hawks, we’ll take a break and look at a blooper reel of the weird cars I got when I first started using the AI to make pictures.