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  • Avanti?

    I seem to be currently reliving an old fantasy of mine about adding a '63 or '64 Avanti to my stable. The only one I've ever driven briefly was a rather austere version (3-speed manual) found on a used car lot in Glendale, CA way back in '67. I also realize that decent restoration is never cheap, that I could easily "invest" at least $30K ultimately in a car worth little more than $12K to $15K in today's market. These cars do seem to retain a devoted following. How is the typical structural integrity of these glass-bodied things after all these years? I recall that 60's Corvettes (even when brand new) often had really appalling cowl shake and rattles. The much later C5 Corvette was greatly improved. How does the Avanti stack up?

    Gil Zimmerman
    Riverside, CA

    1955 Speedster
    1956 Golden Hawk
    1958 Packard Hawk
    1958 President
    Gil Zimmerman
    Riverside, CA

    1955 Speedster
    1956 Golden Hawk
    1958 Packard Hawk
    1958 President
    1963 Avanti R2

  • #2
    The Avanti was probably the best all around performing American car in 1963...except for the Corvette. That being said, the Corvette kept improving and the Avanti essentially stayed the same through 1985. It really only changed in ways required by Federal regulations and being made more luxurious...even then not all changes could be described as improvements (mostly due to meeting Federal mandates and not confined to Avanti's).

    Structurally, Avanti's have some issues...hog troughs and frame and water leaks. Many survived quite well and are as strong as ever. Many have received less than stellar care over the years or were driven in climates that promoted rust. The rule of thumb is to find and buy the best Avanti you can afford...it will pay off in less overall investment and grief. If you like rebuilding a car from scratch, have at it. I'd like to see every Avanti that can be saved, be saved, but I also understand the economics of it. Some cars are far more profitable being parted out and keeping better cars on the road. That's just the free market operating as it should.






    Poet...Mystic...Soldier of Fortune. As always...self-absorbed, adversarial, cocky and in general a malcontent.
    Poet...Mystic...Soldier of Fortune. As always...self-absorbed, adversarial, cocky and in general a malcontent.

    Comment


    • #3
      If you are serious find a recently restored example and pay up to the $30K if its an excellent condition car. My guess is you find a nice one less than that. I am currently restoring my 63 Avanti and doing a complete frame off restoration with safety, comfort and performance improvements and the cost will exceed $30K. I plan on keeping my Avanti forever and I'm not concerned about getting my investment back out of it. If you find an unrestored one with solid rust free frame, etc. and then start restoring it you will still exceed the $30K unless you are experienced and have the tools and equipment to do the work yourself.

      John


      63R-2386 under restoration & modification
      sigpic
      John
      63R-2386
      Resto-Mod by Michael Myer

      Comment


      • #4
        Gil, John and Gunslinger are right, get the best you can afford. I purchased a non-running, non-braking, etc R2 with the hopes that I could bring it back to life and have a good daily driver. I have succeeded, but have been lucky that the engine and transmission were fine. I did make sure the frame and hog troughs were OK, so did not have to worry about that. Doing most of the work myself except for the rebuilds of the supercharger, alt, carb, distributor, etc. I bought the car for $9K and now have just a bit over $16K into it. I still have to get a moderate priced paint job and some uphostry redone, just to have a decent driver. I expect to be right at $20K. Probably a bit more than the car is worth. But we are keeping it for many years, so we do not care. Good luck on your search. I do have a blog of sorts going on the AACA restoration site if you you want to see what has been done to the car, and all the trials and tribulations.

        John
        1963 Avanti R2
        Marshall, VA
        John
        1963 Avanti R2
        Marshall, VA

        Comment


        • #5
          If you shop around and are careful you should be able to buy a very nice solid Avanti in the $10,000 - $15,000 range. Buy as nice and solid car as you can find. The market is down now but will improve with time. When you find that special car don't be afraid to pull the trigger and make the purchase. In the end you will have a unique car at cruise night in most cases the only Avanti there. At cruise night and local car shows Corvettes are a dime a dozen.

          Comment


          • #6
            Always sound advice (even though I have strayed from it a time or two in the past). Thank you.

            quote:Originally posted by Gunslinger

            The rule of thumb is to find and buy the best Avanti you can afford...it will pay off in less overall investment and grief.






            Poet...Mystic...Soldier of Fortune. As always...self-absorbed, adversarial, cocky and in general a malcontent.
            Gil Zimmerman
            Riverside, CA

            1955 Speedster
            1956 Golden Hawk
            1958 Packard Hawk
            1958 President
            Gil Zimmerman
            Riverside, CA

            1955 Speedster
            1956 Golden Hawk
            1958 Packard Hawk
            1958 President
            1963 Avanti R2

            Comment


            • #7
              A quote from my son during a Sunday drive in the 64 " This car rides like a new car". It didn't when I first bought it back in 1995. New rear springs, shocks, all the rubber up front, tightened every bolt that was loose especially the radiator support a bit of sound deadening added when the interior was out, and underhood pad and tight fitting door glass is all it took. Seroiusly though, the frame is very rigid and if all the attached pieces are up to snuff and snug the car is very solid. More so than my '88 which has more shakes over bumps. That Monte Carlo frame is very flexible and the difference between the two cars is noticeable.

              ErnieR



              1988 "Beater" Avanti---R2 R5388 @ Macungie 2006

              Comment


              • #8
                I agree with everyone else. Figure out what you want to spend and go from there.

                Like you, I was a Avanti novice.
                Before I bought my car the only one I had driven was a 1987. I wondered why if felt rather numb and modern (it reminded me of a 80s K-Car) then I found out it was based on a Chevy chassis.

                When I bought mine, I was surprised at how modern it was.
                Excellent steering and more than adequate brakes.
                I learned to drive in the every early 70s so a lot of my early driving was in a family 63 Rambler & 69 Ford LTD and various 72 drivers-ed Mercs, so I think I know what 60s-era cars were like... and the [u]Avanti is a better driving car than I really expected</u>.

                I bought mine (a well-equipped R-1) in the mid-teens.
                My intention was to drive it for a long time before restoring it.
                As it worked out, I only drove it for a couple of years before redoing the engine, interior and a glass out repaint. (I only did the engine becasue it was out of the car for the paint and leaking oil like a torpedoed Navy oiler).
                If I had known I was going to do that so soon, I probably would have bought a rougher car to begin with and saved a few thousand in the purchase price.

                But then again, it may not have been in as good of shape as my car proved to be (nice chassis and excellent body only let down by a cheapee respray 10-15 years ago).
                So before you buy a car, think about if you want a driver, a nice driver or perhaps something where the work has already been done.
                When playing with old cars, you pay your money and take your chances.

                63 Avanti R1 2788
                1914 Stutz Bearcat
                (George Barris replica)

                Washington State
                63 Avanti R1 2788
                1914 Stutz Bearcat
                (George Barris replica)

                Washington State

                Comment


                • #9
                  Gil, this looks to be a nice driver quality car. And it is in CA.

                  http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1963-...ffc69d7d#v4-35

                  John
                  1963 Avanti R2
                  Marshall, VA
                  John
                  1963 Avanti R2
                  Marshall, VA

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    quote:Originally posted by unimogjohn

                    Gil, this looks to be a nice driver quality car. And it is in CA.

                    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1963-...ffc69d7d#v4-35
                    Very strange- it appears to have the double power window switches on the passenger door and the single on the driver's.



                    Paul Johnson, Wild and Wonderful West Virginia. '64 Daytona Wagonaire, '64 Daytona convertible, '53 Commander Starliner, Museum R-4 engine, '62 Gravely Model L, '72 Gravely Model 430

                    Paul Johnson, Wild and Wonderful West Virginia.
                    '64 Daytona Wagonaire, '64 Avanti R-1, Museum R-4 engine, '72 Gravely Model 430 with Onan engine

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      And non-pleated door panel covering but otherwise a nice example of an R1 Avanti.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Here's a link that will interest you:

                        http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...TOPIC_ID=39291

                        edp/NC
                        '63 Avanti
                        '66 Commander
                        edp/NC
                        \'63 Avanti
                        \'66 Commander

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Here's some more info from Jan 2010 that may be of interest. This status was before the latest $2K hit to the wallet in the above post. IMHO the best thing you can do if you want a Studebaker Avanti is to find one with low mileage in as near-mint original condition as you can get. And make sure it has the correct engine! Don't buy one that needs paint. It could easily cost $5-7K to strip and paint one. Pay upfront rather than on the backend like me. [B)]

                          I started work last June with your basic $15K supercharged Avanti with an R1 engine, good oil press, good frame and troughs,and working S/C and 124K on the odometer. Now in 2010, here's my status. In hindsight, one of the very first things I should've done was to address the fuel tank corrosion that has been a source of constant misery.
                          (1) replaced dead battery with new Hi-Amp type
                          (2) oil change (Penzoil), filter (Fram) and lube
                          (3) gas filters (3 so far)
                          (4) replaced exisitng single point Prestolite dist with T-Bow Mallory electronic type (expensive, but marvelous investment)
                          (5) replaced spark plugs and plug wires (SI)
                          (6) replaced gas cap (had wrong type on it) (Myers)
                          (7) replaced wiper arm and blades (finding an original chrome Trico arm was quite an odyssey). Thanks WinchesterHawk!
                          (8) got new door lock off eBay(no original keys)
                          (9) replaced voltage regulator twice (which also semi-fixed Tach problems)
                          (10)replaced multiple and sundry wiring (especially for the PW's)
                          (11)replaced rusted Chrome Valve Covers and oil breathers (Bob Helms)
                          (12)replaced valve cover and valley pan gaskets (SI)
                          (13)R2 carb kit (Helms) and rebuild
                          (14)replaced brass PCV valve (eBay)
                          (15)replaced all vacuum and fuel hoses
                          (16)had intake manifold cooked out to remove carbon build up
                          (17)new intake gaskets (SI)
                          (18)coolant flush
                          (19)trans filter, gasket and fluid (SP)
                          (20)Dual master cylinder conversion kit.
                          (21)Dist curve kit (Sunset)
                          (22)Dash light bulbs
                          (23)New factory type rear-view mirror and bracket (eBay)
                          (24)Complete strip down to fibreglass, work skim coat bondo, and repaint original turquoise color. (fortunately no evidence of wreck or body damage revealed)
                          (25)Replace ALL body emblems and badges (SP & SI)
                          (26)Rechrome rear bumper (Jerry Forrester)
                          (27)Replace rusted rear bumperettes with rubber type (SI)
                          (28)Replace ALL weathertripping and window/windshield rubber (SP & SI)
                          (29)Replace headlight bulbs
                          (30)Replace headlight rubber gaskets (SI)
                          (31)Purchased new door sills (SI) Man, were these puppies expensive!
                          (32)Purchased new headliner kit (Myers)
                          (33)Replace dented stainless steel pillar cover between door window and vent window on driver's side, (eBay)
                          (34)Had gas tank removed, cleaned, refurbed, sealed and restored.
                          (35)New gas tank level sending unit (SI)
                          (36)Repair rust to rear seat springs from unknown leak
                          (37)New starter solenoid
                          (38)New parklight lens

                          There's more but that's about all I can think of right now. I'm probably eventually going to have to replace the carpet too. The unique combo of a tuned up R1 Engine w/SC runs very powerful, especially with 100 octane gas. The car has tight steering and good brakes so far. I am having some problems getting the doors to close properly after the body work. I'm going to take the body shop the Avanti Repair Manual so they can read the section on "door adjustments" when it goes back in a couple weeks for final touch up. The passenger's side PW window switch is shot and I'm not sure how much the PW relay has left either. The car currently has cheap tires and I could also use a new set of wheel covers. But, over time, I should be able to field a nice, but expensive, car. I sure hope the reliability improves with the refurbed fuel system. Below is a fairly recent picture and some taken along the journey. The adventure continues....


                          edp/NC
                          '63 Avanti
                          '66 Commander
                          edp/NC
                          \'63 Avanti
                          \'66 Commander

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I have another cheap Avanti coming in next week but as you know, they are only cheap on the front end of the deal. (63 R1, Powershift, AC, Hope I can afford to save it.)




                            JDP Maryland
                            JDP Maryland

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              quote:Originally posted by 53k

                              quote:Originally posted by unimogjohn

                              Gil, this looks to be a nice driver quality car. And it is in CA.

                              http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1963-...ffc69d7d#v4-35
                              Very strange- it appears to have the double power window switches on the passenger door and the single on the driver's.



                              Paul Johnson, Wild and Wonderful West Virginia. '64 Daytona Wagonaire, '64 Daytona convertible, '53 Commander Starliner, Museum R-4 engine, '62 Gravely Model L, '72 Gravely Model 430

                              Whoever did the homemade door panels might have screwed up, but that's a lot of rewiring. Basic rule of thumb for a power window Avantis, convert to manual ASAP. The motors are tiny, draw so much current that they fry the switches and wiring and will bust the doors if they bind.

                              JDP Maryland
                              JDP Maryland

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