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  • Avanti Bodies

    It's my understanding that "MFG" supplied complete Avanti bodies to Studebaker at first. Later they supplied molded parts; and Stude assembled the bodies themselves. When did they start assembling the pieces themselves? Was there a sharp cutoff date; or a period when some were "MFG", and some Stude?
    Thanks, Mike

  • #2
    I think MFG didn't ever build the body but backed out of that part of the deal right before production started.

    Comment


    • #3
      I found this in another post by our very own bams50 (Bob Andrew). Avanti Body assembly was moved from MFG to South Bend at some point. The fiberglass panels were always built by MFG its just that Studebaker wasn't happy with the fit and finish of the bodies being completely assembled by MFG. No reference to what serial number marks the change over however.

      Originally posted by bams50 View Post
      Saw this in the March 1963 Car Life and thought it was interesting. I was playing with a new voice recognition dictation app on the iPhone, so I dictated it from the magazine and am posting it here:

      The Studebaker Corporation's recent decision to build its own
      fiberglass Avanti body reflects the manufacturer's interest in
      creating and preserving quality in its image car, the Avanti.

      Consumer demand, of course, is another reason for the South Bend, Indiana assembly line. Molded Fiber Glass Body Co. of Ashtabula Ohio, produces both panels and finished bodies for the Avanti, but can't make enough of the latter to meet Studebaker's doubled production goal. MFG also makes the panels (but doesn't assemble them) for the Corvette.

      The original production goal of 7000 bodies per year was an ambitious one for MFG's limited facilities and it has been no secret that Avanti production hasn't come along as expected. So, when Studebaker decided it needed more bodies, there was only one way to go -- and Studebaker got into the fiberglass body assembly business. MFG will continue production of both panels and completed bodies; Studebaker will assemble more bodies from MFG-produced panels.

      It's obvious that Studebaker has great hopes for the Avanti. The Corporation doesn't stand to make a lot of money on any car that sells only 15,000 units a year, but Studebaker seems determined to make this its quality car with body fits suit the label. It must feel the reputation and image are worth taking on the body production headaches!

      Robert (Bob) Andrews- on the IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys)
      Parish, central NY 13131

      GOD BLESS AMERICA
      sigpic
      John
      63R-2386
      Resto-Mod by Michael Myer

      Comment


      • #4
        MFG did supply complete bodies to Studebaker. While they had lots of experience in fiberglass car body panels (Corvettes), they had no experience in body assembly. They had no body jigs to assure proper lineup of parts being assembled and that resulted in the well known problems they had in delivering a quality assembled product. According to MFG President Robert Morrison's book, they provided complete, painted bodies for Avanti's.

        Due to the problems at MFG and the mess of straightening it out, Studebaker did institute their own fiberglass production and assembly line. I have not seen anything saying when they began phasing in Studebaker built bodies, nor how one can tell whether Studebaker or MFG made the body on any specific Avanti.

        MFG did continue to provide complete bodies at first to Avanti Motors and eventually Nate Altman only purchased the fiberglass panels and assembled them in house for better quality control. Supposedly MFG was stuck with about 150 leftover Avanti bodies after Studebaker cancelled the contract with the end of Avanti production, so they were happy to work with Nate Altman for supplying Avanti Motors.
        Poet...Mystic...Soldier of Fortune. As always...self-absorbed, adversarial, cocky and in general a malcontent.

        Comment


        • #5
          I have strong suspicions that my current Avanti, body #404 was not assembled by Studebaker due to overall poor panel fit that required correction during restoration as well as a floor pan having raw glass areas that were covered with scab patches. Some of these patches were captured or covered by the hog trough flanges. I doubt that Studebaker would have started assembly of an Avanti with a floor pan that wouldn't pass inspection.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by WCP View Post
            I have strong suspicions that my current Avanti, body #404 was not assembled by Studebaker due to overall poor panel fit that required correction during restoration as well as a floor pan having raw glass areas that were covered with scab patches. Some of these patches were captured or covered by the hog trough flanges. I doubt that Studebaker would have started assembly of an Avanti with a floor pan that wouldn't pass inspection.
            I would think that an Avanti body number that low would definitely be from MFG. I would guess your car is an early car by VIN as well.
            Poet...Mystic...Soldier of Fortune. As always...self-absorbed, adversarial, cocky and in general a malcontent.

            Comment


            • #7
              I believe that in December 1962 that both MFG and Studebaker were assembling Avanti bodies. I think that there was some period of time when Avanti bodies were assembled by both companies. This would mean that there was no sharp defining body number to tell who assembled the body.

              I don't have your S/N, but body #404 was probably assembled in October 1962 (or late September 1962). It was most likely assembled by MFG.
              Gary L.
              Wappinger, NY

              SDC member since 1968
              Studebaker enthusiast much longer

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Gunslinger View Post
                MFG did supply complete bodies to Studebaker. While they had lots of experience in fiberglass car body panels (Corvettes), they had no experience in body assembly. They had no body jigs to assure proper lineup of parts being assembled and that resulted in the well known problems they had in delivering a quality assembled product. According to MFG President Robert Morrison's book, they provided complete, painted bodies for Avanti's.

                Due to the problems at MFG and the mess of straightening it out, Studebaker did institute their own fiberglass production and assembly line. I have not seen anything saying when they began phasing in Studebaker built bodies, nor how one can tell whether Studebaker or MFG made the body on any specific Avanti.

                MFG did continue to provide complete bodies at first to Avanti Motors and eventually Nate Altman only purchased the fiberglass panels and assembled them in house for better quality control. Supposedly MFG was stuck with about 150 leftover Avanti bodies after Studebaker cancelled the contract with the end of Avanti production, so they were happy to work with Nate Altman for supplying Avanti Motors.
                I would be interested in some information about Robert Morrison's book..title, author, etc.

                Thanks..Mike
                Mike - Assistant Editor, Turning Wheels
                Fort Worth, TX


                1964 Avanti R2 #R-4986

                Comment


                • #9
                  My Avanti 63-R2386 finished its assembly on December 31, 1962 there were only 3 more cars assembled that day before New Years Day of 1963. My car is undergoing a complete frame off restoration and the fit and finish of the fiberglass seems very good, so I'm guessing I got a Studebaker assembled body.
                  sigpic
                  John
                  63R-2386
                  Resto-Mod by Michael Myer

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Silverplate View Post
                    I would be interested in some information about Robert Morrison's book..title, author, etc.

                    Thanks..Mike
                    Robert S. Morrison's book is "Handbook for Manufacturing Entrepreneurs". It was released in 1973. As far as I know it's long out of print and you have to search for used copies. He talks some about the Avanti adventure with Studebaker, but not to any length.
                    Poet...Mystic...Soldier of Fortune. As always...self-absorbed, adversarial, cocky and in general a malcontent.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      For the record, body #404 has serial #1236 with production date of mid Sept. '62.

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                      • #12
                        Contact Glenn Warner at MFG......he had several boxes of the books.
                        Originally posted by Gunslinger View Post
                        Robert S. Morrison's book is "Handbook for Manufacturing Entrepreneurs". It was released in 1973. As far as I know it's long out of print and you have to search for used copies. He talks some about the Avanti adventure with Studebaker, but not to any length.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The front of the Avanti parts manual (1964) lists the body numbers of the So Bend and Ashtabula bodies.
                          Originally posted by Gunslinger View Post
                          I would think that an Avanti body number that low would definitely be from MFG. I would guess your car is an early car by VIN as well.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            As often as I've gone through the parts manual for so many reasons I have never noticed that it gives the body number when South Bend production commenced...body #RQ-5001. That's pretty high in production so it seems that only a few hundred Avanti's at best received South Bend made bodies and that was near the end of production.

                            It's always amazing how such information was there all along and we didn't know it! That much less confusion and fog regarding Avanti's cleared up!
                            Poet...Mystic...Soldier of Fortune. As always...self-absorbed, adversarial, cocky and in general a malcontent.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Gunslinger View Post
                              As often as I've gone through the parts manual for so many reasons I have never noticed that it gives the body number when South Bend production commenced...body #RQ-5001. That's pretty high in production so it seems that only a few hundred Avanti's at best received South Bend made bodies and that was near the end of production.

                              It's always amazing how such information was there all along and we didn't know it! That much less confusion and fog regarding Avanti's cleared up!
                              It looks like a new series of body numbers was started, not that it was only the last few hundred Avantis had Studebaker assembled bodies.
                              Gary L.
                              Wappinger, NY

                              SDC member since 1968
                              Studebaker enthusiast much longer

                              Comment

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