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First Avanti Owner
Johnny Carson became host of NBC's The Tonight Show in October 1962 when the 1963 Studebaker Avanti was in the process of winning records at the Bonneville Flats. Carson retired from show business on May 22, 1992 after 30 years when he stepped down as host of The Tonight Show. His announcer and sidekick had been Ed McMahon throughout his entire tenure with the program. Johnny Carson was not only an Avanti owner, he was a racing enthusiast who knew Roger Ward, Studebaker's official "first Avanti owner" and Andy Granatelli and his brothers who configured the race vehicles for Studebaker and who introduced Carson to the STP Turbine at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Johnny Carson Website
Johnny Carson at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1967
Mario Andretti, left, Johnny Carson, left center, Rodger Ward, right center, and Parnelli Jones in 1967 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Carson with STP Racer
Andy Granatelli, front, shows Johnny Carson the cockpit of the STP Turbine as Vince Grantelli, left rear, Parnelli Jones, center rear, and Joe Granatelli look on.
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