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  • An introduction, and a request for help

    Good afternoon. My name is Doc, and I recently inherited a '63 R2 Avanti.

    Family hand-me-down, my dad bought it in the late 70s, brought it up here to Alaska, and due to various reasons I may eventually write up into a story, it saw little use, and hasn't been on the road since 1982.

    Roughly a decade ago, he finally rolled it into his shop, intending to simply fix the clutch, the carb and some of the wiring. But one thing led to another, and it wound up nearly fully dismantled. New suspension was installed (one-piece axles in the posi '44 out back, plus new retrofit Ford LTD discs and some fiberglass leaves, and a bolt-in kit with modern spindles, ventilated discs and a Flaming River rack & pinion up front.

    Lots of other work was done- everything in the interior was re-covered or re-finished, the engine is about 80% rebuilt, we had the superchargers (the original and a spare) rebuilt by a fellow in Vegas, and there's boxes and boxes of other new parts. (Gauges, wiring components, aftermarket seat mounts specific to the car, etc.)

    However, it turned out he had less time than he thought, and cancer took him a couple of years back.

    The car currently sits in my shop, and I have what I believe is all the parts in somewhat jumbled, but warm storage. It's basically a family heirloom at this point, and pop's biggest regret was that he wasn't able to finish it. So it's now up to me.

    I am no stranger to automotive work. I'm a professional machinist, have a well-tooled shop, built this as a teenager, and built this, from this.

    However, I was not there when much of this car was taken apart, and mechanically, I'm a lot more familiar with early 70s GM musclecars than I am early sixties' Studebakers.

    The car has already been sitting for far, far too long, and it is finally time to start putting it back together. That's where you gentlemen (and ladies, if any) come in. Somewhere in the collected debris I inherited, is a great deal of Stude media- magazines, manuals, stuff printed from the internet, etc. I will be going through some of it, of course, but my spare time is limited, and I have a three-foot-tall stack of just Turning Wheels.

    As such, I'm hoping I can, without causing too much annoyance, ask what to most of you will probably be a bunch of simple and basic questions.

    And, please understand, pop never planned it as a 'restoration'. He wanted a comfortable, reliable, daily-driver. Hence the improved front suspension, safer rear axles, better brakes, and plans for EFI, possibly an automatic, a complete modern rewire with Weatherpak connectors and LED lights were appropriate, an aftermarket heater/defrost system, and so on.

    We're keeping the original 289 and the freshly-rebuilt McCulloch, and have no plans for any body mods. But he planned several mechanical upgrades to make it safer and more fun to drive, and I plan to follow his wishes. If "build threads" are a thing here, I'll be happy to start one, and post progress photos as I go.

    I am wide open to suggestions and advice, and will welcome any technical help you're willing to lend.

    Thank you.
    Doc.

  • #2
    A couple suggestions:

    (1) Pictures are very, very helpful. This group will be very helpful, but they will insist on pix.
    (2) Take this project one step at a time

    --Dwight

    Comment


    • Rafe Hollister
      Rafe Hollister commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes, pictures, we must see pictures. Pictures are the payment we seek for helping you!
      Rafe Hollister

  • #3
    Something about that Corvair makes me happy.

    Comment


    • #4
      I would suggest you start a build thread and post some pictures. If you ask questions I am sure you will get a response. My knowledge is largely in Larks, but this forum has many who know Avantis. Welcome to the world of Studebakers.
      Bob
      Bob
      Welland Ontario
      60 Lark Convertible
      64 Daytona
      sigpic
      "They were meant to be driven ... so keep on cruizin"

      Comment


      • #5
        Welcome to the SDC, and to the SDC Forum Doc!

        All of those aftermarket Mods will be a learning process for many of us as you learn about them, but very few here currently know details about them.

        Hopefully, the Suspension, Brakes, Steering and Rear Axles are done, if so that is a good start.
        Some things like an aftermarket Heating and Defrosting System are really Not needed on an Avanti, you may want to scratch that one off of your list, unless there is some special reason to "re-invent the Wheel".
        StudeRich
        Second Generation Stude Driver,
        Proud '54 Starliner Owner
        SDC Member Since 1967

        Comment


        • #6
          Originally posted by DocsMachine View Post
          Somewhere in the collected debris I inherited, is a great deal of Stude media- magazines, manuals, stuff printed from the internet, etc. .
          If the factory Shop Manual is in that inherited collection you are well on your way.
          If not, it is available in reprinted form or on CD-ROM.

          And did I hear someone mention pictures?

          Brad Johnson,
          SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
          Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
          '33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight. '53 Commander Starlight
          '56 Sky Hawk in process

          Comment


          • #7
            Originally posted by Dwight FitzSimons View Post
            (1) Pictures are very, very helpful. This group will be very helpful, but they will insist on pix.
            -Absolutely not a problem. I've been doing "build threads" on cars, machine tools and machine shop projects for over a decade now.

            (2) Take this project one step at a time
            -Yep. My problem is, being self-employed, my free time is often extremely limited. I've already had this car in my shop for some two years now, and haven't had the time to do a damn thing to it. I figured I have to finally start on it, else I'm going to 'run out of time' just like pop did.

            On some things, I'll have no real problem. Like the brakes- it's all going to be brand new, from the still-theoretical booster and pedal, all the way out to the existing brand-new LTD calipers. I've done that kind of thing before, and because this isn't a case of having to impress concours judges, I can do it how it's mechanically sound, not to the original 1963 spec.

            But on others, I'm lost. I need to do some underhood fiberglass repair. Never dealt with fiberglass before. Both windsheilds are out- I have no idea how those go in, and I'm given to understand there's a trick to the back glass, to keep it from popping out at speed, if you have the side window down.

            It needs a repaint; the 45-year old job that pop had done when he first got it, has weathered a bit, and bubbled in spots. I've never done proper paint-and-body, especially over fiberglass. I'd hand that part over to experts, but that's way out of my price range.

            Yes, pictures, we must see pictures. Pictures are the payment we seek for helping you!
            -Gotcha. Here's one that's less than 20 minutes old:



            Sorry about the clutter- although it's been worse- but it's not as bad as it looks. I have everything- hood, doors, glass, engine, original 4-speed and all the linkages, the recovered interior, bags and bags of fasteners, the old suspension pieces (which may go up for sale if anyone's interested) the original intake, carb and blower hat, and so on.

            Unfortunately, in a busy one-man shop, it tends to become a storage bin for clutter I have no other place for.

            Something about that Corvair makes me happy.
            -'65, was an empty shell when I started, '77 Blazer frame, later upgraded to 3/4 ton axles. I put some 16,000 miles on it!

            I would suggest you start a build thread and post some pictures.
            -Which section would be the best for a build thread? I can see this taking a couple of years at least, and several hundred photos. (I produced over 700 just rebuilding my turret lathe last year. )

            Some things like an aftermarket Heating and Defrosting System are really Not needed on an Avanti, you may want to scratch that one off of your list, unless there is some special reason to "re-invent the Wheel".
            -I don't know why pop went with an aftermarket, but it's already about half installed. (A Vintage Air heater-only unit.) The old setup may have been damaged somehow, or he thought it inadequate, I don't know.

            If the factory Shop Manual is in that inherited collection you are well on your way.
            If not, it is available in reprinted form or on CD-ROM.
            -No idea, just yet. The two things I need to do before I get too carried away is both sort out the parts I have, new and old, and sort out the documentation. I have boxes of magazines, both TW and AOI (I think) plus a ton of other titles that happen to have an article about an Avanti in it, there's a bunch of internet print-outs and so forth, but I don't recall, specifically, any manuals. Be very surprised if there weren't any, though.

            Doc.

            Comment


            • #8
              This forum, Google and the service manual are your friends. As a thought, the first thing I would do is to get the engine/ trans installed and up and running. It will run without the supercharger, which needs to be started gently, and the sound of every thing under the hood doing what it does will add inspiration. From there it's your choice but the last thing I would worry about is the body and paint.

              I'd also install the four speed originally to save time and frustration of sourcing and installing an automatic as you should probably consider something more modern that the OEM one.

              One step at a time will get you there but trying to multifunction is the path to frustration.

              I will also assume you do have a clear title for the obvious reasons.

              It generally takes me 6-8 years to finish a project, more when I was working so settle in and enjoy the progress toward a great vehicle.

              Welcome and keep us in the loop.

              Bob

              Comment


              • #9
                Originally posted by sweetolbob View Post
                This forum, Google and the service manual are your friends.
                -That's why I joined.

                As a thought, the first thing I would do is to get the engine/ trans installed and up and running.
                -Probably a bit premature, as the car is basically an empty shell. You can see the edge of the gas tank over the backdrop of the blue machine. The only wiring left in the entire car is a badly-installed battery cable that was retrofitted before we got it, to put the battery in the trunk, and a short bundle leading to the overhead panel.

                I'm not sure how much I want to run before I drop the engine in, but I do know I want the complete brake system in, so I'm not fighting running lines with starters and motor mounts in the way.

                It will run without the supercharger, which needs to be started gently[...]
                -That was actually part of the plan. As mentioned earlier, EFI was in the cards from the beginning, and we had worked up a trick setup with the supercharger, a custom intake manifold, and a 5.0L Ford throttle body. But, pop also picked up one of those carb-replacement EFI kits, and we'd planned on getting the car running and driveable with it, and install the supercharger and custom intake later.

                From there it's your choice but the last thing I would worry about is the body and paint.
                -I'm not yet sure I have a choice. As I said, the front and back glass is out, and the recesses of both have been scraped clean of loose paint. (The '77 paintjob was not all that good.) I'm given to understand I have to reinstall the headliner before the glass goes in, and the surrounds at least, will need to be repainted before the glass seals go in.

                Corrections and advice gladly welcomed there.

                I'd also install the four speed originally to save time and frustration of sourcing and installing an automatic as you should probably consider something more modern that the OEM one.
                -The original (Muncie?) 4-speed is badly in need of a rebuild, and the whole clutch assembly and flywheel need a full service. I was also told there was some issue with both the shifter and the clutch linkage, with an early plan being to swap it over to a hydraulic throwout bearing.

                On the other hand, we have a freshly-rebuilt Turbo 700R4 with a new converter, and somewhere in this mess, is an adapter kit to bolt it on to the Stude engine.

                As I understand it, it'll require a modified driveshaft, a custom crossmember, and by some reports, minor fiberglass work in the tunnel, but I personally prefer an automatic, I won't have to fight with a clutch linkage, and, well, I already have the parts.

                I will also assume you do have a clear title for the obvious reasons.
                -Yep. No problems there.

                Doc.

                Comment


                • #10
                  Looking through all the files and paperwork, I found we have close to a thousand digital photos of the teardown. Lots of duplicates, so it's not quite blow-by-blow, and a bunch of overall "this is it's current state" type shots, but there's still a lot of detail there, including a bunch of stuff I didn't see as I wasn't there at the time.

                  How detailed a write-up would you gents like?

                  Or is the tear-down less interesting than putting it back together, and we should just start from 'today'.

                  Doc.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Originally posted by DocsMachine View Post
                    Looking through all the files and paperwork, I found we have close to a thousand digital photos of the teardown. Lots of duplicates, so it's not quite blow-by-blow, and a bunch of overall "this is it's current state" type shots, but there's still a lot of detail there, including a bunch of stuff I didn't see as I wasn't there at the time.

                    How detailed a write-up would you gents like?

                    Or is the tear-down less interesting than putting it back together, and we should just start from 'today'.

                    Doc.
                    As far as the forum, start a new post about your Avanti. Call it what you want then start documenting with work and pictures. As a good way to see, look up the posts about the Whistler. Bob Palma started the post years ago and lo and behold the car was found. 10 plus pages later, the story is still going on but there have not been any posts lately. That car is still in Phoenix and has been subject of TV and You tube videos.

                    Welcome to SDC and the forum! It will be a great journey for you and all of us that will be living vicariously with you

                    Bob Miles
                    Alaska is one place I do want to visit

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Here is the You Tube link:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grZaSU6LxLc

                      Enjoy

                      Bob Miles
                      If you ever get to Phoenix, let me know

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        One of the most knowledgeable on Studebaker Automatic transmissions (stock & modified) are the Meyers in Ohio. Jon & Betty and their son Michael work full time on Studebakers and do not participate on this form. If someone does not step forward on your trans questions from this forum, I would suggest direct contact with them. They advertise in Turning Wheels on the business card page.
                        Bob
                        Bob
                        Welland Ontario
                        60 Lark Convertible
                        64 Daytona
                        sigpic
                        "They were meant to be driven ... so keep on cruizin"

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Welcome to the asylum Doc!
                          You will entertain a ton of us and find a lot of great information and advise here.
                          I have been to Alaska and wonder where you are.
                          Your project is certainly intimidating but as suggested above, take it one step at a time and it is doable.
                          I am currently adapting my 1970 Avanti II from an automatic to a Doug Nash 5 speed so I can relate to your similar issues.
                          Good Luck,
                          Bill

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            As far as the forum, start a new post about your Avanti. Call it what you want then start documenting with work and pictures.
                            -I wanted to be sure I didn't start the thread in the wrong forum, but looking around since, I see this section is the one for it.

                            What I'll probably do is, when I have a moment, I'll go through that stash of existing photos, and pick out a dozen or so to document the "prehistory", so to speak. After that, I'll add updates as they occur.

                            Forewarning, though- as I've said, my time is limited, so updates will be sporadic at best.

                            As a good way to see, look up the posts about the Whistler.
                            -Yep. Good stuff.

                            Here's a good example of one of my build threads, resurrecting a large, WW2-era metal lathe, and more recently, over on my own board, here's a thread about milling some custom double-barrel paintball gun bodies.

                            I've also just recently started doing YouTube videos on some of it.

                            One of the most knowledgeable on Studebaker Automatic transmissions (stock & modified) are the Meyers in Ohio.
                            -Good to know, thank you.

                            Although in this case, I'll be using a Chevy THM700R4, which we already have, fully rebuilt, and with an adapter kit to fit the Stude engine. I seem to recall hearing the Dana rear had something like a 3.35 gear? Somewhere in that ballpark. Which is perfect for use with an overdrive trans- the final ratio should be somewhere in the 2.70-ish range, which is great for cruising.

                            (I'm doing the same thing in my Olds- 3.31 rear, with a 2004R will give me a highway gear of something like 2.53:1. With a mild small-block, I figure I can knock on the door of 20MPG. )

                            I have been to Alaska and wonder where you are.
                            -Southcentral, the Peninsula.

                            I'm given to understand there's two other Avantis in Alaska. Supposedly one in Fairbanks, and just a couple years back, we saw a white one down in Homer, that had apparently just been pulled out of it's garage for the first time in 20+ years.

                            I will say, however, I haven't seen one, personally, move under it's own power since 1982.

                            Doc.

                            Comment


                            • 6hk71400
                              6hk71400 commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Usually with the Powershift A/t they came with a 3:31 but others were optional. There was a letter that Sherwood Egbert put out about rear axle ratios and a caution about them as the Avanti had the potential to run way above legal speeds on the highway. I don't remember if it was here on the forum or Turning Wheels but it was interesting.
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