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"Last Production Car Made in South Bend"- 87 Avanti

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  • "Last Production Car Made in South Bend"- 87 Avanti

    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...0142x0911.html







    Passenger Door panel had this underneath, looks like the assembler's initials and a date:





    Attention was turned to the drivers side door


    Here is the car number on the cardboard rear of the panel:




    And again initials but with an interesting message:




    Closeup:


    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.

  • #2
    To:Red350DropTop,....... Thanks for posting this. That's certainly one historic Avanti. looks to be in nice shape too!

    Comment


    • #3
      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.
      sigpic
      In the middle of MinneSTUDEa.

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      • #4
        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......
        Chris Dresbach

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        • #5
          Worthy of eventual inclusion into the NSM.


          Originally posted by Chris_Dresbach View Post
          If a guy named George Imler autographed your car, he still works for Studebaker......
          I wonder if he could confirm this car's story...or know who KLR might have been?
          Last edited by JBOYLE; 06-19-2012, 11:13 PM.
          63 Avanti R1 2788
          1914 Stutz Bearcat
          (George Barris replica)

          Washington State

          Comment


          • #6
            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.
            Last edited by studegary; 06-20-2012, 01:07 PM.
            Gary L.
            Wappinger, NY

            SDC member since 1968
            Studebaker enthusiast much longer

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by JBOYLE View Post
              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.
              Gary L.
              Wappinger, NY

              SDC member since 1968
              Studebaker enthusiast much longer

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by JBOYLE View Post
                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

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by studegary View Post
                  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?
                  Chris Dresbach

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The story goes that the PPG paint buried Avanti. Sure it was 'old tech' even then, but I wish they just kept using lacquer.

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                    • #11
                      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.
                      Poet...Mystic...Soldier of Fortune. As always...self-absorbed, adversarial, cocky and in general a malcontent.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by studegary View Post
                        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.
                        Last edited by JBOYLE; 06-20-2012, 07:49 PM.
                        63 Avanti R1 2788
                        1914 Stutz Bearcat
                        (George Barris replica)

                        Washington State

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          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.
                          Jon Stalnaker
                          Karel Staple Chapter SDC

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by studegary View Post
                            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.


                            Originally posted by Chris_Dresbach View Post
                            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...0142x0911.html
                            Last edited by Red350DropTop; 06-20-2012, 09:21 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JBOYLE View Post
                              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.
                              Chris Dresbach

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