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Restoring a 1963 R2 Avanti

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  • #16
    quote:Originally posted by Gunslinger

    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.
    I would clean it up real good, remove mildew from interior, polish chrome and clean out engine bay. I second what Gunslinger says about the brakes, I would rebuild them including all the rubber brake lines. Some one has already added a dual master cylinder looking at your pictures, which is good.

    Don't let the keep it original guys keep you from making modifications to your car if you what to. I do think a hidden stereo unit is a good idea, there are marine head units designed to be hidden and operated by an RF remote. If the car has the original Studebaker rims and radials you might want to consider getting some Ford or Mopar 15" x 6" rims which would be better for the radial tires.

    I think doing the work to get the engine running, brakes in good shape, etc. can be done and with a little hard work you will have a nice driver. My 63 R1 was an all original driver with PowerShift automatic. Don't expect great mileage, commuting to work and back I averaged around 12 mpg on premium fuel. There are adapter plates to mount a GM automatic with overdrive to a Stude engine which might help to get you up into the upper teens for highway driving.

    Just my two cents worth. Need any pointers or help find some SDC guys close by (look into local SDC chapter membership) or drop some of us a line with an e-mail.

    <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


    • #17
      Paint wise, your car looks pretty good in the pictures Rick. I see you have the same battery as mine too, a 3EE generally used today in fork lifts. The above posts on the brakes cant be exaggerated enough. Studebaker International & some of the other vendors have the parts & service manuals on a cd that is a wealth of information & guidance. Get the car running & stopping first, then worry about things like getting the rear bumper rechromed, replacing the Studebaker script on the rear body panel, ect. Your car is the twin of mine with the exception of the R-2 engine. If you go with a hidden radio I recommend the speakers from Classic Audio that fit under the front seats. I have them on my Lark & the sound is good with decent separation without having to cut holes in trim panels. Your body number appears to be RQ 5216 but I dont see drip mouldings over the doors, which it should have being that late a 63 (my guess it has a June or July 63 production date. You can obtain the production record thru the Studebaker National Museum too, if you want. My guess by the pictures is your wheels are the original 15X5's & as its been said, replace those with the Chrysler or Ford 15X6 wheels if your putting on radials & driving it daily. Keep us informed on your progress!

      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


      • #18
        No one has mentioned checking the hog troughs yet. Make sure the frame parts are good before you start putting time and money in this car. If they are good the rest looks doable and well worth it to me anyway. Steve


        • #19
          Hi, Rick,

          I am also a beginner restorer working on an Avanti. Mine is a 1963 R1 that I got last November. I got it on the cheap with the specific purpose of taking it apart and putting it back together again. So far, with the help of a lot of good folks on this forum and other places, I have completely disassembled the car, carefully labeling and storing all parts in baggies and plastic boxes, planned out my sequence of tasks, located parts sources and service providers, and begun the restoration and rebuild. I have stripped, rustproofed, and painted the chassis, rebuilt the brakes, suspension, and steering linkage and begun work on the steering gear, pump and valves.

          The moral of the story is that you can do it if you are determined and resourceful. I'm a lawyer, not a mechanic, with limited auto experience. Essentially I am teaching myself as I go along. I have scabs on my knuckles, grease under my fingernails and a smile on my face as my project progresses. If I can do this, anybody who wants to can. I'm available to share stories of the many stupid things I have already done and the even stupider ones I am in the process of planning. The people in this forum will help temper my idiocy, for which I am grateful in advance.

          One resource you should invest in is Stan Gundry's book, "What the Shop Manual Won't Tell you." It's an invaluable how-to Avanti restoration guide written by a guy who restored his own car (an R2) from the gound up. It describes lots of little tricks and techniques to make your task easier. Call Stan at 616 942 5856. You will not be disappointed.

          I second the thought about the hog troughs. If they are rusted through you are screwed.

          I also second the thought about Bob Johnstone's web site, which is fantastic. Bob will want to know what your car's VIN is; he maintains a registry on the site.

          Best of luck, and I look forward to following your project. Guys, I plan to post some pics in the next couple of weeks.



          • #20
            I can't find were anyone has mentioned joining the Studebaker Drivers Club. The magazine is worth its wait in gold. The vendor information is nice so you know who sells what and what is available. There is also a tech section which is extremely informative. The forum is great, but it isn't a replacement for the magazine.

            Gundry's book coupled with the Avanti shop and parts manuals are helpful. I also have the 59-64 Studebaker shop manual that I rely on, but most of that information should be in the Avanti shop manual.

            Good luck,


            • #21
              I agree with most of the above. First, get under the car and just look. Identify the main components and what lines go where. If there is a lot of buildup of grease and dirt, maybe scrape a little off to get a better look. There is a box-like structure (called torque boxes or "hog troughs") attached to each rocker panel. Tap along these and check for rust-through as well as the frame, front to rear. Once you've verified the foundation is sound, move to the top side engine bay and do the same proceedure, looking for missing or broken lines and hoses. As you get familiar and comfortable that the car is a sound candidate for more investment, start cleaning and further inspection. A notepad is a great tool to begin inventorying parts you'll need. When you find a part you can't identify or figure out what is supposed to be hooked up, check here or Bob's tech pages and figure it out with pics. You can always ask here for a particular view pic as many of us can post them from what we have. If you're ready to dig into the interior, start at the top and clean your way down. If you use a product like Simple Green, Purple Power, 409, or the like, always follow with a wipe down with clean, clear water. Some products leave a film which gets sticky and accumulates dirt. That should give you a start. Keep us updated on what you find as you progress. It's very satisfying to clear away the years of dirt and grime to reveal the original product.


              ____1966 Avanti II RQA 0088_______________1963 Avanti R2 63R3152____________Rabid Snail Racing
              Often in error, never in doubt

              ____1966 Avanti II RQA 0088_______________1963 Avanti R2 63R3152____________


              • #22
                Thanks for all of your advice. I will start this weekend.


                • #23
                  Good luck, grasshopper.

                  I recommend this stuff for cleaning that moldy interior:


                  It is normally used to prep leather or vinyl for dying/change of color. It cleans really, really well. And as always, try on an inconspicuous area first.

                  I also noticed that the blower only has one belt going to it. Before you get it to run, I would remove the other belt. Make certain the blower has fluid and turns over without the engine involved. And also note, that the engine should be run above idle with the blower belts hooked up, unless the ducting is all in place.

                  In other words, isolate the engine from the blower first to get things going. It puts less strain on the engine while turning it over.

                  63 Avanti R2, 4-Speed, 3.73 TT
                  Martinez, CA


                  • #24
                    Welcome...and good luck.
                    It may seem like a long, expensive road, but in the end it will be worth it.
                    Compared to its competitors, Avantis are rare and well worth the effort to restore.

                    And on behalf of our vendors, thanks for participating in the Studebaker Stimulus Plan.

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

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

                    Washington State


                    • #25
                      'that the engine should be run above idle with the blower belts hooked up, unless the ducting is all in place'

                      I'm sure you meant that the blower "SHOULDN'T" be run over idle without the carb hat on the carb.



                      • #26
                        You have a real job ahead of you. Simple green is a good "mild"cleaner. If you want to get serious, try Purple Power or Super Clean(available at Auto Zone, Wal-Mart, etc. for about $5 per gallon), also "Totally Awesome"(available at Dollar Store-- for $1 you get a spray bottle and 20 oz. of stuff.) Be Careful!! These are all very strong and caustic. Don't let the stuff sit on a surface for very long--rinse thoroughly! Try it as a pre-wash spray on your coveralls--(you will need it).

                        1967 Riviera, 1964 Avanti R/2-R5096, 1953 Champion-R/1,4spd, Two 1967 Studebaker Gravely tractorssigpic


                        • #27
                          quote:Originally posted by rickburgen

                          This is my summer project, and will be my everyday car. So I plan on finishing this.
                          How long is your summer? Good luck and have fun jimmijim
                          sigpicAnything worth doing deserves your best shot. Do it right the first time. When you're done you will know it. { I'm just the guy who thinks he knows everything, my buddy is the guy who knows everything.} cheers jimmijim*****SDC***** member


                          • #28
                            A Magic Eraser/Sponge with water will work well on that interior too.

                            You'll likely need a few packages of them to do the whole thing.



                            • #29
                              hi Rick Welcome
                              I have a 63 Avanti R2 also its driver quality,i enjoy working on it and driving it to cruise nights & car shows.
                              besides belonging to the Studebaker drives club,i also belong to the AOIA Avanti owners international inc.You Get 4
                              magazines a year there web site is I also have the the Avanti magizine archive CD that covers magizines
                              from 1965 to winter of 2008 lots of tech articles & how to,email me if you need some help

                              Atlanta Ga.


                              • #30
                                What I think I am going to do first is take it apart and give everything a good cleaning. Starting with the inside working my way out and starting from the front working back.