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View Full Version : Anybody ever grafted a 80's convertable top on a 63-64 Avanti?



289stude
04-24-2012, 11:10 PM
Just wondering???

JBOYLE
04-24-2012, 11:33 PM
The prototype convertible was converted from an existing 1982 car (serial number RQB3370). According to the TheAvanti.net website, Richard Straman made it for Stephen Blake in 1984. Stramen had lots of experience doing similar conversions on high dollar cars in the era of few factory convertibles.

Not only would you have to reinforce the body and/or frame to make up for the missing top, you might have to move the fuel tank to make room for the top well.

As they say on TV: "Don't try this at home...we're professionals.''

studegary
04-25-2012, 12:33 PM
RBG 3370 was the first 1982 Avanti.

SN-60
04-25-2012, 05:50 PM
The Avanti frame, in good condition, is probably the one Studebaker frame that wouldn't have to be reinforced as part of a convertible conversion.

Gunslinger
04-25-2012, 05:55 PM
What strikes me about such Avanti conversions is that if the roll bar is removed, what happens to the structural rigidity? The roll bar was put there for a reason...were any other modifications made to maintain structural integrity? The production convertibles were made on the Monte Carlo chassis, which wasn't designed as a convertible, so how was structural integrity maintained?

SN-60
04-25-2012, 06:00 PM
To: Gunslinger,---- How much 'structural integrity' does one have on a motorcycle?

Gunslinger
04-25-2012, 06:11 PM
To: Gunslinger,---- How much 'structural integrity' does one have on a motorcycle?

I'm not disputing what you say, but would you want a car (or motorcycle) where the frame twists? I remember years ago when working in an auto shop and had a rusted unibody Mopar roll in...when it was put on a life the doors wouldn't budge from the frame twist due to rigidity being gone. That's the lack of structural integrity I'm talking about.

SN-60
04-25-2012, 06:13 PM
To: Gunslinger,-----Point taken.

Corvanti
04-25-2012, 06:18 PM
wasn't the avanti frame based on the lark convertible frame?

wouldn't the avanti body with/without the convertible option be lighter than the lark steel bodied convertible?

if needed, couldn't a roll bar be modified, if necessary, to fit under the top?

larger sway bars underneath?

just asking... :)

LarkTruck
04-25-2012, 06:22 PM
What strikes me about such Avanti conversions is that if the roll bar is removed, what happens to the structural rigidity? The roll bar was put there for a reason...were any other modifications made to maintain structural integrity? The production convertibles were made on the Monte Carlo chassis, which wasn't designed as a convertible, so how was structural integrity maintained?

In short, IT WASN'T!!!! Having picked up a good friends 87 Convertible at the factory in March of 87, and being it's caretaker for ten plus years, I can tell you that with experience to back it up! There was even one that was in a rollover accident by a factory employee and the frame twisted up like a pretzel and the car broke in two! A fact not widely known by the public.
JS

Gunslinger
04-25-2012, 06:35 PM
In short, IT WASN'T!!!! Having picked up a good friends 87 Convertible at the factory in March of 87, and being it's caretaker for ten plus years, I can tell you that with experience to back it up! There was even one that was in a rollover accident by a factory employee and the frame twisted up like a pretzel and the car broke in two! A fact not widely known by the public.
JS

I've been told that the late '80s convertible suffered in body rigidity...that if you put four people in one the doors won't close properly.

LarkTruck
04-25-2012, 06:54 PM
I've been told that the late '80s convertible suffered in body rigidity...that if you put four people in one the doors won't close properly.

They not only did not have the x-member in the frame, they did not have hog troughs which were put there by Studebaker engineers for a reason!!!!
I think the late 88's and the 89's on the Caprice/Impala chassis were a little better, but still not as good as the three 85's that were built on the Stude chassis.
JS

Corvanti
04-25-2012, 07:01 PM
i thought the question was about pre-(gm) monte carlo frames!

Gunslinger
04-25-2012, 07:08 PM
i thought the question was about pre-(gm) monte carlo frames!

You're correct...it kind of wandered. Still...converting a '63 or '64 would be beyond the ability of anyone without deep pockets and lots of engineering and fabricating ability. Before ruining a Studebaker Avanti I'd rather see someone try it with a clapped out Avanti II...then they can part out the remains when they give up. It would likely be cheaper in the long run to buy an '87 or up convertible.

52hawk
04-25-2012, 07:13 PM
Actually the OP asked about making a convertible out of a 63-4 Avanti. That's a Lark 'rubber' frame. In 1970 I jacked up the front of a brand new Dodge Charger and the drivers door wouldn't open.Had to lower the car to open the door. They didn't have to be rusty to have plenty of flex. But,almost any car with a steel roof [or roll bar in the case of the Avanti] removed is going to have a lot of flex,not just a Studebaker.

Corvanti
04-25-2012, 07:23 PM
i wouldn't think about doing it, Mr.B. but i've seen a few running chassis, etc. avantis for sale in the past, and my 1st post - questions - would a '63/4 frame be able to handle a later avanti II vert body if one was available... with a few minor mods (like a roll bar to fit), i don't see why not, and would like to be proved wrong.

just "fodder" for conversation. :rolleyes:

Gunslinger
04-25-2012, 07:26 PM
I don't see how it could...the bodies for the Monte Carlo, El Camino and Caprice based cars are very different than the Stude based bodies. The attaching points are different as well as the entire understructure...plus a different wheelbase. Not that with enough money and time it couldn't be done (probably), but it's an orange not worth the squeeze.

JBOYLE
04-25-2012, 07:54 PM
.... would a '63/4 frame be able to handle a later avanti II vert body if one was available... with a few minor mods (like a roll bar to fit), i don't see why not, and would like to be proved wrong.


I don't know why a 87 convertible body wouldn't fit on a Stude chassis.
Wasn't the 87 the last one to use the original frame before switching to Chevy frames in 88? (or do I have the years wrong?).

If you wanted to make a 63-64 convertible, how about a "parade car"...one without a working top? To make up for the lost structural rigidity, move the "roll bar" structure down to window level...blocking off the back seat, a two-seater. That would address two huge problems: Top engineering and storage, and structural strength.
Not a daily driver, but it would be a nice enough toy...and there are enough 63-64 Avanti projects or parts cars to make it do-able without having Jay Leno money and a master fabricator working for free.
I wouldn't mind seeing one provided that "no viable Avantis were harmed in the making of the project".

289stude
04-25-2012, 08:34 PM
The reason I started this thread originally was because I noticed on the jaxed mash that on average 80's and early 90's a avantis on average are calling for conciderably more money than Stude built avantis. So I started wondering why. Then figured it must be because of the drop top. Then I started wondering if one could use parts from 80's avantis to make a 63-64 Avanti drop top. I was assuming they used some sort of existing convertable components ex. Mustang or firebird or something like that.

Gunslinger
04-25-2012, 10:20 PM
I don't know why a 87 convertible body wouldn't fit on a Stude chassis.
Wasn't the 87 the last one to use the original frame before switching to Chevy frames in 88? (or do I have the years wrong?).

1985 was the last year for the Studebaker frame. There were no '86s and the '87 began use of the Monte Carlo platform.

JBOYLE
04-25-2012, 10:36 PM
1985 was the last year for the Studebaker frame. There were no '86s and the '87 began use of the Monte Carlo platform.

Thanks for the correction...I don't know why I can't remember that.
I should remember that, the first Avanti I drove was a 87 and I wondered why it felt so "modern".