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Studebaker Built Avanti Bodies Article Turning Wheels

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  • Studebaker Built Avanti Bodies Article Turning Wheels

    The August issue of Turning Wheels has my article and charts on construction of Avanti bodies in South Bend by Studebaker. I would be happy to address any and all questions as I completed by analysis thru the first 80 bodies Avanti Motor Corporation received from Molded Fiberglass Company as well. None of those bodies carried the appropriate #5000 series body numbers as well.

    Would welcome feedback.

    Thanks
    John Hull

  • #2
    I think you are going to have to wait for someone, anyone?, to get one first!
    Maybe a few First Class Mail copies could be out.

    Here is the last "got your July TW" Post: http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...elivery-Survey
    StudeRich
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner

    Comment


    • #3
      I guess that's what it would take
      Joseph R. Zeiger

      Comment


      • #4
        OK, NOW we are in a position to report on this GREAT Story John!

        I for one am VERY impressed with this great information! I love it!

        I always thought that Studebaker took over ALL of the Body Assembly and Finish operation from MFG Co. when the quality got very poor, using MFG Co's Parts.

        But I gather from this, that both continued to the end?

        I find it very strange how the Body Numbers vs. Finished Car Serials got SOooo mixed up, even though we have heard long ago that Bad MFG Bodies were put aside to keep the line moving and then randomly "Recycled" back into the mix even as late as the end of Production, as WELL as the Standard Studebaker procedure of just grabbing the nearest Body for each Day's Production in no set order.

        I have always known that all later Studebakers had a "Factory Model Code", my '64 Daytona Hardtop is a 4238 and my '64 Daytona Sedan is a 4218, but never knew that on Avantis it got "Rolled" depending on the various Groups of Bodies!

        My Avanti is a "Group Code" or Factory only Code RQ3370 which does put it into the RQ, (NO '63) and Serial Number R-3917 to R-4891 Group since it IS shown on the Production Order as simply Serial Number
        R-4275 but with Body RQ3053.

        It was Built on May 6, 1963, Order written 04/19/63 Line Number 3274. Shipped to Alhambra, CA.

        I "THOUGHT" with a very late '63 Serial Number like 4275 it would be a South Bend Body, but "maybe" not, because it does not have a 5000 Body Number.

        Why does the South Bend Production List STOP at April 1963, R4207, shortly before my MFG Car was built?

        Mine is one of those that got a Dealer re-stamped Serial Number R-4275A to allow it to be Calif. registered as a Calif. Title "Body Type Model".... "SED64R" so it could "kind of" be sold as a '64.

        I find the timing of all of this very interesting, thank you very much for a better than GREAT article John!


        FEEDBACK = AAA+++
        Last edited by StudeRich; 08-02-2014, 04:40 PM.
        StudeRich
        Second Generation Stude Driver,
        Proud '54 Starliner Owner

        Comment


        • #5
          My '63 Avanti , serial #R4014 has body # RQ2959, so apparently the body was built in Ohio, correct?
          The order was written 3-5-63, final assembly 4-4-63 and ship date 4-23-63. The build sheet also shows it on "Line 3010"... what does that mean?

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks for the interesting article John.

            I noticed the gaps in Serial Numbers were usually five or six, like 4101 to 4108, 4119 to 4125, 4139 to 4145, etc. Since the MFG bodies were shipped six to a truck, I guess the gap in S/Ns of SB bodied cars is when a truckload of bodies came in from MFG.
            Gary L.
            Wappinger, NY

            SDC member since 1968
            Studebaker enthusiast much longer

            Comment


            • #7
              Who knows what Studebaker really did on the assembly line? My body number is 63RQ700, logic would put the serial near 63R1700, no? But it's 63R1517. So they bypassed almost 200 bodies to put mine together? I know it was assembled by MFG as the car was completed 9-21-62, long before Studebaker started doing some of their own. Any ideas??

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Deaf Mute View Post
                My '63 Avanti , serial #R4014 has body # RQ2959, so apparently the body was built in Ohio, correct?
                The order was written 3-5-63, final assembly 4-4-63 and ship date 4-23-63. The build sheet also shows it on "Line 3010"... what does that mean?
                I think you mean your "Line Number" is 3010, right? That is nothing important just 1,2,3 count down the line, or "Framed"/Line Set on paper, maybe not actual line sequence. All Studebaker Production Orders have a Line #.

                BUT, your "Body Type" on the Production Order for R4014 should still be "RQ 3370".

                Yours took 29 Days to get built and 19 days to ship, I am thinking that could be re-bodied or "reworked" Car, but there was that April line shutdown, so who knows?
                Last edited by StudeRich; 08-02-2014, 11:34 PM.
                StudeRich
                Second Generation Stude Driver,
                Proud '54 Starliner Owner

                Comment


                • #9
                  John, thanks for writing that article. Very interesting and detailed!
                  Bill Pressler
                  Kent, OH
                  (formerly Greenville, PA)
                  Currently owned: 1966 Cruiser, Timberline Turquoise, 26K miles
                  Formerly owned: 1963 Lark Daytona Skytop R1, Ermine White
                  1964 Daytona Hardtop, Strato Blue
                  1966 Daytona Sports Sedan, Niagara Blue Mist
                  All are in Australia now

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    After reading the article, and trying to determine whether the body on my Avanti was South Bend or Ohio built, I came to this conclusion.

                    R4466, Line #3561, Body #RQ3248. Build date of 5/24/63. My car was built after the information that had been charted with great detail in the article was relevant. Avanti's assembled after the detailed charts were applicable were from a supply of bodies both from South Bend and Ohio. I appreciated the comment in the article that there was a "bucket" of body tags used at the factory, and numbers were arbitrarily assigned to cars after the charts applied. MFG did not assign numbers to the bodies other than for invoicing to Studebaker, and after April 1963, it seems like the effort to separate the SB and Ohio bodies via numbering waned.

                    I would take from the article that R4466 most likely has a MFG Body, but could very well also have a South Bend body. Beyond the cars listed as having South Bend bodies on those detailed charts, there is no sure fire way to tell. Anyone is free to correct me if I'm wrong.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      There is no sure fire way but the evidence (i.e: build sheets checked through the end of production) that a 5000 series number guarantees South Bend built. MFG had a stock of 80 plus bodies at the end of production and they were reworked and sold to Avanti Motor Corporation. They all carried a 4000 series serial number. When writing the article I was struck by how few bodies were "made" in South Bend for the amount of time that passed. The body number was used by MFG to bill Studebaker so while I understand your point I don't think Studebaker would end up paying MFG for a body they built. In essence twice. Just my thoughts and thanks for you observations.
                      John Hull

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Great article and great work. I re-read the paragraph with the "Buckets" passage. Evidently there was a body tag bucket at MFG and a body tag bucket in South Bend. That would mean RQ3248 is most likely from MFG. I guess the tags definitely were installed at the body's point of origin. My first assumption was the tags weren't installed until line setting. That's what I get from assuming.

                        No doubt fiberglass work was cutting edge in South Bend in 1963, and it took quite a while for the workforce to catch on to it. I worked with several guys a little older than I who spent some time working at Avanti Motors in the 70's and 80's. The most steady employees back then for Avanti were older guys, now most certainly not with us, who worked on that original 1963 body line. The guys my age (now 51, same as my Avanti) would work with them, learn the trade, then sell their skills for a higher price to a RV, Boat, or even Porta Potty manufacturer that sprang up in the area after 2-3 years with Avanti. A shipping foreman I worked with who had worked in shipping at Avanti Motors before working with me, said keeping guys on the body line was tough back then.

                        I know Studebaker gets credit for bringing and leaving behind a skilled machine shop and tool and die workforce, but they may have also played a large role in developing the fiberglass and related industries that sprang up during and after Avanti's presence in the area.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I guess speaking of Fiberglass, it should be mentioned that Studebaker was not entirely New to this, they were a Pioneer in the Industry, using some of the first Fiberglass Car Parts.

                          After the Plastic '55 Speedster Dash, came All of the 1956 to 1964 Hawks with Fiberglass Dashes, '56 Golden Hawks and '56 Wagons with Glass Fins, '58 Packards with Glass Hoods, and Front Panels, '59-'61 Larks with Glass Heater Core Boxes, '63-'64 Floor Shift Boxes, etc., etc.

                          Revised.
                          Last edited by StudeRich; 08-03-2014, 06:16 PM.
                          StudeRich
                          Second Generation Stude Driver,
                          Proud '54 Starliner Owner

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by StudeRich View Post
                            I guess speaking of Fiberglass, it should be mentioned that Studebaker was not entirely New to this, they were a Pioneer in the Industry, using the first Fiberglass Car Parts.

                            After the Plastic '55 Speedster Dash, came All of the 1956 to 1964 Hawks with Fiberglass Dashes, '56 Golden Hawks and '56 Wagons with Glass Fins, '58 Packards with Glass Hoods, and Front Panels, '59-'61 Larks with Glass Heater Core Boxes, '63-'64 Floor Shift Boxes, etc., etc.
                            AND the Transtars and Diesels with fiberglass grilles!!

                            Craig

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by StudeRich View Post
                              I guess speaking of Fiberglass, it should be mentioned that Studebaker was not entirely New to this, they were a Pioneer in the Industry, using the first Fiberglass Car Parts.

                              After the Plastic '55 Speedster Dash, came All of the 1956 to 1964 Hawks with Fiberglass Dashes, '56 Golden Hawks and '56 Wagons with Glass Fins, '58 Packards with Glass Hoods, and Front Panels, '59-'61 Larks with Glass Heater Core Boxes, '63-'64 Floor Shift Boxes, etc., etc.
                              Are you skipping over the Glasspar and other cars of this type, the Kaiser-Darrin and the thousands of Corvettes that predate the 1955 Speedster?
                              Gary L.
                              Wappinger, NY

                              SDC member since 1968
                              Studebaker enthusiast much longer

                              Comment

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