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Restoring a 1963 R2 Avanti

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  • Restoring a 1963 R2 Avanti

    Hi...I am about to get started on restoring my R2 Avanti. I have never done this kind of work. I took a look at it, and saw that the interior needed some work, and mostly under the hood. Can anyone giving some helpful hints.? I will upload some pictures when I get the chance.

  • #2
    Welcome to the forum, Rick. You have the more attractive Avanti than mine, but I'm not gonna let that stop me....LOL. Post some pictures after you've done all the cleanup & polishing done. Also you need to answer how far of a restoration are you doing, driver or show quality? Have you sent for your production record from the Studebaker National Museum? Studebaker made changes as they were nessisary, not just for the annual model years so yours may have for instance roof rail drip mouldings, where mine do not. 63's had the "salt & pepper" carpeting that was reproduced by Phantom but I dont know if they still have it available. Again, its a matter of which way are you going to go. One things for certain. This is the place you will find a great group of people that will give you all the moral support you can take, respecting its your car & your money, do what ever "floats your boat".

    60 Lark convertible
    61 Champ
    62 Daytona convertible
    63 G.T. R-2,4 speed
    63 Avanti (2)
    66 Daytona Sport Sedan
    59 Lark wagon, now V-8, H.D. auto!
    60 Lark convertible V-8 auto
    61 Champ 1/2 ton 4 speed
    62 Champ 3/4 ton 5 speed o/drive
    62 Champ 3/4 ton auto
    62 Daytona convertible V-8 4 speed & 62 Cruiser, auto.
    63 G.T. Hawk R-2,4 speed
    63 Avanti (2) R-1 auto
    64 Zip Van
    66 Daytona Sport Sedan(327)V-8 4 speed
    66 Cruiser V-8 auto


    • #3
      Welcome Rick,

      Here's a couple of suggestions:

      Browse around Bob Johnstone's website (especially the tech pages) he has indexed his website and has archived lots of "how to" discussion, part exchanges, etc. Here's the link

      The SDC has a Studebaker tech tips, specs and data page with many links

      Also if you don't already have them, order a reproduction copy of the Avanti factory shop manual and factory parts manual (available from several vendors). In addition another useful book by Stan Gundry "What the Shop Manual Won't tell You" is another good resource, here is a link to Stan's website:

      <div align="left">John</div id="left">

      <div align="left">'63 Avanti, R1, Auto, AC, PW (unrestored)</div id="left">
      Resto-Mod by Michael Myer


      • #4
        I want to use the Avanti for everyday use. I would like to also make some updates to the car like new radio and speakers, make the engine more efficient with gas if possible. Cost is not an issue. Here are some pictures of the car right now.


        • #5
          Buy a mid to late 70's Avanti II and most of what you are trying to accomplish is already done for you. If you have to pay someone to do the work for you you will have a $50,000 daily driver. I've been 'upgrading my 64 Avanti for years and it still wouldn't be my choice for an everyday car. Especially with the $$$$$$ spent, and I do virtually everything myself.

          The interior doesn't look too bad a good cleaning would make a word of difference. Don't cut the dash for your soundsystem go with a Hidden Audi System. Your mileage with this car is more a function of its gear ratio than the engine itself. A conversion to an Auto O/D will help greatly. The Supercharger needs a nice rich mixture so leaning out the carb will have adverse effects and not improve mileage much with the gearing that's normally in R2's.

          I also see that it has or had motor mount issues, busted up radiator shroud and what looks like a piece of rubber wrapped around the shifter possibly to quiet the rattle resuting from vibration.

          Does it drive now?


          On its way to a 15.097 Spring 2006.


          • #6
            Well the last time it was driven was in 2005. I tried starting it the other day and it wouldn't start, maybe due to the battery. I want to use this car, and would like to do the work myself. I cant seem to find the repro. factory manual, could someone point me to where I can find one.


            • #7
              Rick, I believe Studebaker International has the shop manual and parts book. The parts book helps in ordering parts and also the views are great for seeing how things go tegether.

              You will probably need to replace the battery and drian the fuel. The Avanti has a fuel drain right under the driver's door along the rocker panel. When you put fuel in it watch for leaks. Since the fuel tank is higher than the fuel pump any cracked hoses will drain the tank.

              How well equipped are you in the tool department? The job will be hard enough with the right tools and close to impossible with a basic tool kit.

              Where are you located?

              On its way to a 15.097 Spring 2006.


              • #8
                I would need to get the proper tools.


                • #9
                  I recently acquired a '63 R2 auto the same color as yours. Mine needed paint bad, and tune-up work for sure, among other things. I got it because of the solid frame and hog troughs, the blower works and the motor runs 60 psi oil press. Trough replacement alone could cost $3K. Mine needed a headliner kit that I got from Myers Studebaker. I bought a Tbow Mallory electronic distributor. You can get nice rechromed valve covers and a carb kit from Bob Helms. One thing good, it looks like you already have had the dual master cyl conversion. Better find somebody to rechrome your rear bumper. I haven't been able to find a good used or rechromed one anywhere. Good luck. btw, how many original miles?

                  quote:Originally posted by rickburgen

                  Hi...I am about to get started on restoring my R2 Avanti. I have never done this kind of work. I took a look at it, and saw that the interior needed some work, and mostly under the hood. Can anyone giving some helpful hints.? I will upload some pictures when I get the chance.
                  \'63 Avanti
                  \'66 Commander


                  • #10
                    Rick I admire your desire but your choice of a beginner's project is a daunting one. My gut wants to tell you to clean the car up, see if you can get it started and then put it on ebay or consign it to someone like John Poulos, JDP on this forum, and sell it. Finding a running driving Avanti that needs a few detail items can be rewarding and fun for someone who is just getting started and you can find nice, running Avanti II's for reasonable money. And since there are no older cars that need NOTHING you can still get your feet wet on the mechanical side all the while driving and enjoying your car.

                    I apologize for being negative but your at a point where you can make the decision to switch directions. Once you start taking that car apart it will be harder to sell and you will have money and time invested that you will never recoup. I'm sure my discouraging remarks will be met with some critiscism but I think you are starting with the wrong car.

                    Where are you located Rick? Anywhere near NJ?

                    On its way to a 15.097 Spring 2006.


                    • #11
                      I am not trying to sell this if I take it apart. I will just keep trying to put it back together.


                      • #12
                        Well, climbing off the soapbox, start with getting it to spin. I would suggest a new set of plugs and if the tank's less than a quarter full and you don't want to drain it 5 or 10 gallons of new fuel. Change the fuel filter and when you buy a new one buy a few. There may be sediment in the tank that will clog the filters up. If it isn't to much a few filter changes might do it, if not the tank needs to come out and be cleaned.

                        Replace the battery but get yourself a charger also because you may weaken a new battery with numerous unsuccessful attempts at starting the car. Of course check the coolant level beforehand. Hopefully you can get it to run so you can warm it up fully, check for any and all types of fluid leaks, engine knocks etc. The Avanti has mechanical lifters so some ticking up top would be normal but you need to listen for dull repetitive knocks. Smoke for awhile may be normal even until you get to drive it some distance. Change the oil. Watch the gages, assuming they are working, is the charging system working, oil pressure normal, and is it maintaining a proper temp.

                        If the engine will idle on its own check the trans fluid in neutral and top off as necessary then see if it will go into forward and reverse. If you have brakes try and move it if not, from experience, you should plan on rebuilding the brake hydraulics at the same time checking all the metal and steel lines.

                        Once you get it to a point you can start it whenever you want, move it and stop it then you may consider a short drive to determine where to start first.

                        On its way to a 15.097 Spring 2006.


                        • #13
                          This is my summer project, and will be my everyday car. So I plan on finishing this.


                          • #14
                            Hey Rick. Welcome to the world of Studebaker. Where do you live. Maybe one of the members, if they live nearby, can stop by and give you some pointers. I'm doing the same thing with my Avanti.

                            For cleaning, get Simple Green, or similiar, I used the Kirkland brand in Costco and a good scrub brush. It'll clean alot of the mildew off.

                            You may want to look into a local tech school or college that offers classes in autu repair or body work. I've taken a class for the past few years and have mine all primed, hoping to paint it in the Fall.

                            Its a great hobby but, an expensive one. You'll save alot doing it yourself. Take lots of digital pictures of things you take apart and make lots of notes. If you have any questions, there are plenty of good people on this site that will offer help or pont you in the right direction. Good Luck.

                            New Jersey & Studes Perfect Together


                            • #15
                              First...get it started and listen for knocks, rapping sounds or any other noise that doesn't sound good. Then...brakes, brakes, brakes! It's bad enough if a car doesn't go but if it doesn't stop you're really in a world of hurt! The car will likely need everything rebuilt or replaced in the braking system...pads, shoes, calipers, wheel cylinders, hoses, metal lines...everything. No matter what else is needed, the brakes are imperative. General cleanup of the car can be done otherwise to see how it looks under the grime. Once it has good brakes, the rest of the car can be looked after in an orderly fashion as you make your priorities.

                              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.