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View Full Version : "Last Production Car Made in South Bend"- 87 Avanti



Red350DropTop
06-19-2012, 08:41 PM
I had the opportunity this week to try and tighten up the door gaps on the Kelly 1987 Avanti #142 and repair the passenger power window. See the registry here: http://www.studebaker-info.org/AVDB2/AvantiAAV/87av0142/87av0142x0911/87av0142x0911.html

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v707/Red350DropTop/87%20Avanti/Untitled.jpg





Passenger Door panel had this underneath, looks like the assembler's initials and a date:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v707/Red350DropTop/87%20Avanti/IMG_0007.jpg




Attention was turned to the drivers side door
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v707/Red350DropTop/87%20Avanti/Untitled-1.jpg

Here is the car number on the cardboard rear of the panel:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v707/Red350DropTop/87%20Avanti/IMG_0078.jpg



And again initials but with an interesting message:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v707/Red350DropTop/87%20Avanti/IMG_0060.jpg



Closeup:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v707/Red350DropTop/87%20Avanti/IMG_0047.jpg

This car was sold with 332 miles on 5/6/88 in Youngstown, Ohio. Google maps says a general distance from South Bend to Youngstown is 313 miles. Looks like it was the last car produced in the old Studebaker factory.

SN-60
06-19-2012, 08:52 PM
To:Red350DropTop,....... Thanks for posting this. That's certainly one historic Avanti. looks to be in nice shape too!

Milaca
06-19-2012, 09:40 PM
I was just thinking about this the other day "When did Avanti production end in South Bend?" and now I know! I believe it was summer of 1988 when I visited South Bend and Newman & Altman for the first time. Stepping into Newman & Altman was magical to me. Too bad I couldnt have visited one year earlier and seen Avanti production in action, that would have been a great memory.

Chris_Dresbach
06-19-2012, 10:33 PM
That's a great car, glad it survived. For a SB native though, kinda sad that it's the absolute last one to leave the plant here. Will you have it at the international meet? I'd certainly like to see it.
I think that a friend of mine at work, George, probably had a hand in building that car. He worked at Avanti until the end of production and then went to work at Avanti Parts and finally N&A all the way to to SASCO and SI. If a guy named George Imler autographed your car, he still works for Studebaker...... :rolleyes: :)

JBOYLE
06-19-2012, 11:10 PM
Worthy of eventual inclusion into the NSM.



If a guy named George Imler autographed your car, he still works for Studebaker...... :rolleyes: :)
I wonder if he could confirm this car's story...or know who KLR might have been?

studegary
06-20-2012, 12:55 PM
Please post the VIN sticker (on left B-pillar). Number 142 and 9/2/87 both seem very late in the 1987 model year move from South Bend to Youngstown.

On further investigation, the date (9/2/87) seems possible. The first Avanti to roll out of Youngstown was a 1987 convertible on 9/30/87 and this was a car that was started in South Bend.

studegary
06-20-2012, 12:56 PM
Worthy of eventual inclusion into the NSM.



I wonder if he could confirm this car's story...or know who KLR might have been?

If you mean the SNM, my 1987 Avanti was on display there for a period of time.

Chris_Dresbach
06-20-2012, 04:47 PM
Worthy of eventual inclusion into the NSM.



I wonder if he could confirm this car's story...or know who KLR might have been?

I asked him about it today. He said KLR was probably just somebody on the line, most likely the guy who did the doors. He would also like to know if this car has its original paint. Supposedly at this time Avanti was buying paint from PPG and though he's not sure if they just got a bad batch or if it was bad prep work, but the paint would blister and peel so bad you could drive the car and watch the paint fly off. From the photos, it looks really good. He would also like to see the car in person.

Chris_Dresbach
06-20-2012, 04:50 PM
The first Avanti to roll out of Youngstown was a 1987 convertible on 9/30/87 and this was a car that was started in South Bend.

I wonder if the car being discussed was just the last finished car to roll off the line in the South Bend plant?

SN-60
06-20-2012, 04:54 PM
The story goes that the PPG paint buried Avanti. Sure it was 'old tech' even then, but I wish they just kept using lacquer.

Gunslinger
06-20-2012, 06:04 PM
My understanding of the problem was not the PPG Deltron paint, which was originally blamed for the paint problems. Steve Blake also changed to a different fiberglass process which could be be molded into far greater sized and thus fewer pieces for the body. The goal was to save on all the man hours put into assembling the body. What wasn't done was to make a small run of test cars or even one car to be test vehicles for the paint/fiberglass combination.

It supposedly turned out that it wasn't that the Deltron paint was the problem, but the new body composition required far longer cure times before it could be painted. The chemicals need to come to the body surface and evaporate before priming and painting. They didn't know that and applied the paint as they had done for years. The chemicals were sealed in and created bubbles and the paint would come off in sections. By the time anyone knew the real cause the damage was done and a whole years production was lost, along with other corporate issues, putting Avanti Motors into bankruptcy.

If Avanti Motors had stayed with the lacquer paint process they were used to, the same result would have occurred.

At least that's the way I understand what happened with the paint issue.

JBOYLE
06-20-2012, 07:47 PM
If you mean the SNM, my 1987 Avanti was on display there for a period of time.

SNM is the one...it's next door to the NSM, or so I hear. :)

If it's the last passenger car built in South Bend, it deserves to be there.
I don't know if the SNM has a late Avanti (I don't recall seeing one, but I might have missed it), if not, this looks to be a worthy candidate.

Sdude
06-20-2012, 08:31 PM
I spoke with a man that was an Avanti dealer during the Blake years. I asked him about the paint issue and opened up a can of worms. He told me that the parent company left guys like him hanging and this poor guy was left paying for these mistakes. It put him out of business too.

Red350DropTop
06-20-2012, 09:16 PM
Please post the VIN sticker (on left B-pillar). Number 142 and 9/2/87 both seem very late in the 1987 model year move from South Bend to Youngstown.

On further investigation, the date (9/2/87) seems possible. The first Avanti to roll out of Youngstown was a 1987 convertible on 9/30/87 and this was a car that was started in South Bend.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v707/Red350DropTop/2012-06-20_21-59-50_498.jpg


He would also like to know if this car has its original paint.

I see no evidence that it is a repaint. It definitively came from the factory in the creme color.

The car was purchased for a couple of reasons. First, it was a low mileage car (less than 15K). Second, the interior is nearly flawless and in a nice color which is almost impossible to find in these vintage Avanti's. Third, I wanted a GM frame as the aftermarket support is almost endless for upgrades if need be. I had no idea we would see the hand written note when we removed the door panel. It is a really nice car.


More pics at the registry: http://www.studebaker-info.org/AVDB2/AvantiAAV/87av0142/87av0142x0911/87av0142x0911.html

Chris_Dresbach
06-20-2012, 09:34 PM
SNM is the one...it's next door to the NSM, or so I hear. :)

If it's the last passenger car built in South Bend, it deserves to be there.
I don't know if the SNM has a late Avanti (I don't recall seeing one, but I might have missed it), if not, this looks to be a worthy candidate.

They don't currently have a "late model" Avanti, with the exception of Loewy's personal car which I believe is a '67. You're right, this car would be an excellent addition to the museum collection.


You have quite a car there, it's great to see it's still around.

studegary
06-21-2012, 11:39 AM
1987 is long after the Avanti paint problems. 1987 Avantis were painted in lacquer. They received three coats of color followed by three coats of clear. Mine, and all that I know of, had very good paint jobs. The looked like show cars, not production cars.

Thanks for posting the S/N sticker.

StudeMichael
06-21-2012, 09:51 PM
I had a 1982 Avanti II that came from the factory painted dark green. By the time I got it someone had painted it white. The white paint was bubbling all over the car. I took it to the body shop and had it painted Mercedes Benz red. The body shop stripped the car all the way down to the clear coat and found that the body was oozing a clear liquid from the fiberglass. After letting the car ooze in the sun for two months they had their paint rep look at the car and they specified a certain epoxy sealer before painting it. The paint looked great for about a month until it started bubbling again. I was very disgusted. I took it back to them and they stripped and painted the entire care again. I sold it after that not because of the problem but because I needed the money so I do not know how the paint held up from there. I do know the body shop was very reputable and they are still in business doing a lot of nice paint jobs. I do believe there was a problem with the resin mix on Avanti from this time period.

JBOYLE
06-22-2012, 07:11 AM
I do believe there was a problem with the resin mix on Avanti from this time period.

My 63 had an isssue as well. Not bubbling but a dark spot. When Allen Barth repainted the car he said there was something odd with part of the hood panel that went below the primer. He let the new primer sit for a couple of months before painting the color and it seems to be fine.

Perhaps the lesson is sometimes fiberglass does weird stuff? Or maybe it was just the the cheapie respray from the late 80s/early 90s had an issue.

Red350DropTop
08-26-2014, 10:00 PM
I put this car up on eBay to see if it gathers any interest for its historical nature. Thoughts?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Studebaker-Avanti-1987-14-k-miles-historic-last-production-car-in-south-bend-original-paint-interior-/151391183647?forcerrptr=true&hash=item233f9e231f&item=151391183647&pt=US_Cars_Trucks

studegary
08-27-2014, 01:34 PM
I put this car up on eBay to see if it gathers any interest for its historical nature. Thoughts?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Studebaker-Avanti-1987-14-k-miles-historic-last-production-car-in-south-bend-original-paint-interior-/151391183647?forcerrptr=true&hash=item233f9e231f&item=151391183647&pt=US_Cars_Trucks

Since you asked for "thoughts":
You would do better with a low starting price to get the auction method working. You can keep your current reserve price. Your reserve price should be the least that you can live with.
Since your reserve is $15K or more, I wish you luck in today's market for 1987 Avantis. The last 1987 Avanti (a convertible) whose sale I know of sold for $6985. Of course, it only takes two that want the car and bid it up.

Your Avanti is the last completed Avanti shipped from South Bend. There were other Avantis that were near completion that were transported from South Bend to Youngstown and then considered to be Ohio cars.

bezhawk
08-27-2014, 03:23 PM
They don't currently have a "late model" Avanti, with the exception of Loewy's personal car which I believe is a '67. You're right, this car would be an excellent addition to the museum collection.


You have quite a car there, it's great to see it's still around.
I haven't been there in a year or so, but Loewy's last personal car was a 76, gold with diagonal white stripes across the doors. It WAS at the museum, but it was only on loan from the Loewy family. When his daughter passed on she stipulated that it be back in the family and running again. Andy Beckman shipped it to me when I was in Georgia, and I got it in good driving shape after sitting a long time unused. I redid the suspension, and fuel systems, and brakes. Loewy's son in law, David Hagerman, is now caretaker and drives it occasionally and wants it to be part of an eventual Loewy 37387museum.

Buzzard
12-21-2014, 10:24 AM
I have Nate Altman's personal car from Bob Brown Motors in San Diego. It is a 1970 Avanti II with a Corvette 300 hp 350CID LT1. It was painted a Cadillac Nutmeg Metallic and was used to promote sales of the Avanti when he visited his daughter there.
I converted it to a Doug Nash five speed standard and it now has 33,000 original miles.
Bill

Gunslinger
12-21-2014, 11:09 AM
An LT-1 engine was rated at 370 hp in 1970...in '71 was rated at 330 hp and 270 hp in '72 due to the change to unleaded gasoline and net horsepower rating. If yours is a 1970 300 hp engine then it's not an LT-1...it would be a base L-48 engine. The LT-1 was also a solid lifter engine and until 1972 wasn't available with a/c...and even then with a much reduced red line.

Now, if what you have is a mid-1990's Corvette LT1 (without the -), that would be rated at 300 hp, but it wouldn't be original to the car.