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  • Avanti

    Do all the Avanti,s have a fiberglass body and if so why is the "Hog Trough" under the car made out of metal that seems to be one of the places prone to deteriorate ? Also how reliable were these cars and how well were they mfgd compared to the ones that came later after Studebaker sold the rights to them and they were mfgd for a short time in the 70s and 80s by someone else. As far as performance goes it seems that any car capable of 170 mph turning out 340hp with a fiberglass body that will not rust would be very desirable to own. I have heard that the body on the early cars wasn't made out of fiberglass but from some other cloth material and this was indeed a problem in the mfg of the early cars. So what's the facts ?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Stuhawk View Post
    Do all the Avanti,s have a fiberglass body and if so why is the "Hog Trough" under the car made out of metal that seems to be one of the places prone to deteriorate ? Also how reliable were these cars and how well were they mfgd compared to the ones that came later after Studebaker sold the rights to them and they were mfgd for a short time in the 70s and 80s by someone else. As far as performance goes it seems that any car capable of 170 mph turning out 340hp with a fiberglass body that will not rust would be very desirable to own. I have heard that the body on the early cars wasn't made out of fiberglass but from some other cloth material and this was indeed a problem in the mfg of the early cars. So what's the facts ?
    ALL Avantis were fiberglass bodies but 4 major components are made of steel and very prone to the tin worm; frame, hog troughs, frame around windshield and roll bar. The body's structure essentially remained unchanged until 1985.

    Studebaker never spent out on rust proofing...to the level that the insides of the hogs were never even painted on the inside nor was the windshield frame.

    Te hog troughs are needed to support and connect the body to the frame itself while adding stiffness to the whole structure. They can be replaced, while labor intensive it is straight forward and the parts are readily available.

    Search through the forum's files, there is a lot of reference material here. Be careful on what you here elsewhere as there can be a lot of urban legend quality stuff, such as the fiberglass bodied Avantis were made in "name any other country but USA" and so forth.

    Ken Buchanan

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    • #3
      Ken,
      thanks for the info. If i'm hearing you correctly a person would be far ahead to research these potential problem areas before even considering buying one or consult with an expert or someone knowledgeable about them.
      I do kinda like the styling kinda reminds me of the AMC Javelins when they came out, very different styling.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Stuhawk View Post
        Ken,
        thanks for the info. If i'm hearing you correctly a person would be far ahead to research these potential problem areas before even considering buying one or consult with an expert or someone knowledgeable about them.
        I do kinda like the styling kinda reminds me of the AMC Javelins when they came out, very different styling.
        There is a lot of good info, don't get me wrong, just be careful. This page and the AOAI forum both are rich with info, Bob Johnstone's site http://www.studebaker-info.org/avantix4.html is a nother good one. If you find a good Avanti, they are wonderful! Find one with rust and it can be hell. I spent about 3 years learning about these cars before I pulled the trigger in my `63. I'm glad I took my time and I am glad I bought the car I did.

        If it gets overwhelming or you or some data seems conflicting, don't hesitate to post here or on AOAI forum.

        Good luck,

        Ken

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        • #5
          Ken is correct. A couple more areas of concern are the frame, particularly the flat bottom steel, from the front portion of the rear spring perches and over the rear axle and the rear cross member that sets at the rear of the frame.

          I own a 74 and 83. While I don't know about the build quality of the 63/64 units, my 83 has better fit and finish than the 74. I'm not saying stay away from the 70's just that the Blake unit were better.

          The best way to buy one is have it looked at by a local Studebaker or Avanti club member if possible. Once you've worked on them, the trouble prone areas are easier to find.

          It's generally less expensive to pay the price for one in good condition to start with than to rebuild a cheap one. The exception is if you do all/most of the work yourself.

          Bob

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          • #6
            Thanks again Ken.
            As of right now I wouldn't know a good one from a bad one. I'm sure there are models that are better than others and less prone to engineering short comings. It also seems that most of them are priced at around $20K and up. I think I remember reading somewhere that the cloth used was Rayon or some such cloth and not fiberglass. Was just wondering if the later cars were made different. It seems you did your research before buying and not just based on looks and heresy.

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            • #7
              Bob,
              does your 83 have a 305 Chevy engine and does it ride on the Studebaker Lark frame like the early models supposedly did ?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Stuhawk View Post
                Bob,
                does your 83 have a 305 Chevy engine and does it ride on the Studebaker Lark frame like the early models supposedly did ?
                1983 is the last year of the chrome bumper cars and yes! it still has the reinforced Lark frame. Underneath is exactly like the earlier models. It no longer has the 305 as I replaced it with a 355 roller cam SBC. Upside of these cars, overdrive GM transmissions. Downside is it has the archaic computer controlled 305. These engines can be made to run ok but they never had much performance and the computer control still had a long way to go.

                If I could pick from the 68- 83 Avanti as a road car, I'd take the upscale 83 and replace the engine with a crate 350 with either a carb or aftermarket EFI system.

                Second choice would be a nice model of about any year from 67- 74 and possibly add a GM overdrive due to the lack of emission controls. Between 74 and 83, I'd find the best one with a bad engine and transmission, if possible, and upgrade the engine and tranny.

                After all that, if you find one you like, it performs as you like, turns your crank and has the condition you like, no problem with buying that one. I just have a set of performance needs and a desire to put my finger prints all over the vehicle that may be far from your requirements.

                Bob

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                • #9
                  Bob,
                  thanks, that sounds like honest good advice. I guess it would depend on your own ability to do any of the needed work or your financial ability to hire it all done. Finding a 74-83 with a bad engine and transmission without a lot of rust problems might be a solution but might be hard to find. Remember the Ford Deuce Coupe cries, "Steel Is Real" . That's true but there is something to say about fiberglass and No Rust! I have owned fiberglass cars like Corvette or custom build and find it to be excellent. Dodge thought it was good enough for their Viper as well as other manufacturers. I for one like glass cars and the Avanti styling.

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                  • #10
                    As usual, it depends what you want to do. I really enjoy driving the 64 as it has a 4spd. However, the 78 is less noisy and is a much better road car. This is likely because of the 350/400 and relatively higher rear end. FWIW, the Studebaker Avantis command higher prices. You can get a good #3 driver Studebaker in the $20,000 range. For about half that, you can get a good driver from the range of 70s and 80s non Studes.
                    78 Avanti RQB 2792
                    64 Avanti R1 R5408
                    63 Avanti R1 R4551
                    63 Avanti R1 R2281
                    62 GT Hawk V15949
                    56 GH 6032504
                    56 GH 6032588
                    55 Speedster 7160047
                    55 Speedster 7165279

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 64studeavanti View Post
                      As usual, it depends what you want to do. I really enjoy driving the 64 as it has a 4spd. However, the 78 is less noisy and is a much better road car. This is likely because of the 350/400 and relatively higher rear end. FWIW, the Studebaker Avantis command higher prices. You can get a good #3 driver Studebaker in the $20,000 range. For about half that, you can get a good driver from the range of 70s and 80s non Studes.
                      I also would like the 4spd as it is fun to drive. Are you saying that the non Stude Avantis 70s-80s are worth less than the Studebaker versions ? IYHO what would be a good road car with a 4 spd tranny and a dependable V8 ?

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                      • #12
                        Everything else being equal...which it rarely is...a Studebaker Avanti holds its value more than a post-Studebaker example. It's the original and some look at later Avantis as little more than factory assembled kit cars (that description does tend to be at least somewhat appropriate for post-1985 Avantis).

                        Any Avanti can be a good road car. Avanti IIs as the years progressed, became less sporting and more grand tourers...but the market headed that way. As far as your last question...the Studebaker V8 and the small block Chevy are both excellent and dependable engines. The difference is the Chevy is easier parts-wise for servicing. I think 4-speed transmissions are more easily found in Studebaker Avantis than Avanti IIs...not that many were built. You can always convert any Avanti with an automatic to a 4-, 5- or 6-speed manual...the parts are available and it only takes money.
                        Poet...Mystic...Soldier of Fortune. As always...self-absorbed, adversarial, cocky and in general a malcontent.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Gunslinger View Post
                          Everything else being equal...which it rarely is...a Studebaker Avanti holds its value more than a post-Studebaker example. It's the original and some look at later Avantis as little more than factory assembled kit cars (that description does tend to be at least somewhat appropriate for post-1985 Avantis).

                          Any Avanti can be a good road car. Avanti IIs as the years progressed, became less sporting and more grand tourers...but the market headed that way. As far as your last question...the Studebaker V8 and the small block Chevy are both excellent and dependable engines. The difference is the Chevy is easier parts-wise for servicing. I think 4-speed transmissions are more easily found in Studebaker Avantis than Avanti IIs...not that many were built. You can always convert any Avanti with an automatic to a 4-, 5- or 6-speed manual...the parts are available and it only takes money.
                          Thanks for the info. It seems there is much more to consider in regarding the Avantis than some of the other Studebakers. It seems each model has its own issues in regards to that model. Im guessing the 1965 Altman Avanti is about as scarce as hens teeth and very much a collector. Much research is needed on these cars if a person is going to collect one for a road car.

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                          • #14
                            As Gunslinger said, a much higher percentage of the Stude Avantis had 4-speeds than did the Avanti IIs. And as he noted, Nate Altman was trying to appeal to an older, more upscale customer, so most of the Avanti IIs were equipped with automatics. Due to the pending 1975 emissions standards, the 1974 models were the last Avanti IIs to be built with 4-speeds until Steve Blake took over ten years later. The early AIIs came with 327s, then 350s. The 72-76 models came with 400s, which are real torque monsters. I have a 74 with 4-speed, either the last or next-to-last built. It's a great driver.

                            Avanti Motors would equip the cars to the buyer's specs, including some weird interior materials and colors. Don't forget -- it was the 1970s. Fortunately, my 74 came with a medium brown interior, though the brown shag carpet drives my wife crazy. I may change it someday, but it doesn't bother me as much as it does her.
                            Skip Lackie

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                            • #15
                              All depends on what you want to do. I restored '63 R2658. Almost entirely pure Studebaker except for electronic ignition, upgraded interior, LED lights but that's what I wanted. If you want a road car with fewer hassles, the SBC Avanti II might be the car for you. However,as wiser ones have said, there's nothing more expensive than a cheap Avanti.
                              "Every man I meet on the street is superior to me in some respect, and from that I can learn."
                              R.W. Emerson

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