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Dwight FitzSimons

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About Dwight FitzSimons

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  • My Avanti
    1964 Avanti R5255, & 1964 Avanti R5407

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  1. Wouldn't using the thicker head gaskets make the quench area "thicker" and therefore increase the chances of the engine to ping? -Dwight
  2. I can add a bit of info on this issue. I used to haunt all the local Studebaker dealers in central Virginia, including Valley Motors. I beat the dealership out on the sale of a 63 Hawk R2 being offered to the highest bidder by its original owner. Unfortunately, I didn't keep it for but a few years. Well, so much for reminicing (sp). In those days The state of Virginia would put BOTH the year manufactured and the model year on the title (as you see above). That is, the title and registration would list the car as a "1962-63". This caused some confusion later. I have a 1964 R1 Cruise
  3. The Studebaker SS was labeled a "Studebaker SS" when it was shown in kind of a corner at the NY Auto Show. That is, the nameplates on it were still "Studebaker SS", not Excaliber SS. I was there and was surprised to come upon it during my tour. I remember also seeing the pink Mademoiselle '64 Daytona Conv. in the Studebaker display area. --Dwight
  4. False! For 1964 Studebaker dropped the MSRP of the Hawk from (I believe) $3095 to $2958. So, if all the options cost the same, the R2 Hawk would have been cheaper than a similarly equipped 63 Hawk by $137. --Dwight
  5. A couple more things that are different: (1) The parking brake connects to the Avanti's backing plates differently on the 11" rear brakes, requiring a rear parking brake cable from an Avanti. That connection is different from any other Studebaker car 9" or 10" rear brakes. Those should be available from some of the Studebaker vendors. (2) The U bolts are narrower on the Dana 27 diff. than on the Dana 44. Thus, the bottom plate will be different. Ideally, you might try to find a Dana 44 diff and brakes from a late 65 or 1966 Studebaker. That would give you flanged axles, a safety issue.
  6. Everything on the Dana 27 is lighter duty than on the Dana 44 (smaller tubes, smaller axles, smaller brakes, etc). The brakes on the Dana 27 would be either 9" or 10". I'm fairly sure that the 27's brakes wouldn't bolt onto the 44 without some modification. What you need for the Avanti (in addition to the Dana 44 diff.) is the 11" rear brake drums, backing plates, etc that came on Avantis and other disc-brake Studebakers from 1963-up. --Dwight
  7. From memory, 168 for the R2, and 178 for the R3. These are records set at Bonneville. Someone correct me if my memory's off. --Dwight
  8. For some reason Studebaker put 140 MPH speedos in early 1963 Avanti R2's. Perhaps the 160 speedo wasn't available yet. The Virgil Marple auction sold three '63 R2 Avantis, and if memory serves me, all had 140 speedos. Also, Dave Kinney's 63R1002 R2 Avanti is an R2 and has a 140 speedo. That car was restored meticulously, so must be authentic. The initial version of the Avanti Authenticity Manual did not point out this issue. I hope someone has notified the author. --Dwight
  9. Wireless backup camera. I haven't installed one yet, but will. Costco has one for $150. It uses a solar panel on the license plate frame/bracket, so doesn't need any wire installed. --Dwight
  10. One thing I might add is a potential problem with the aluminum "spacers" behind the door handle and window crank. A couple times I have had a problem removing the spring clips that hold the window crank & door handle on. Somehow the spring clips had become jammed and I could not get them off. I had to cut the aluminum spacer off to get the spring clip out. So, I now use the clear plastic spacers used on Larks & Hawks. It is much easier to break off if necessary. Plus, it doesn't leave aluminum oxide on the door panel as aluminum will do. --Dwight
  11. Years ago I bought a '64 Avanti from a paralyzed man. He had always wanted an Avanti and was able to manage driving it with his foldable wheelchair behind the driver's seat. After a while, however, he found it to be too difficult and sold the car. That isn't exactly your situation, but maybe this experience will help you make your decision. Also, Avantis aren't so easy to get in or out of. --Dwight
  12. The Real Rodders Wheels, like the original Halibrand magnesium wheels, use a different type of lug nut than we are used to. The wheels do not have a tapered seat, they have a flat seat. The lug nuts also, of course, have a flat seat. Lug nuts are supplied with the wheels. (I have a set, that's how I know. --Dwight (two '64 Avantis)
  13. I think "Ford" isn't the only correct answer. When my R3 engine was rebuilt many years ago at WCD Garage in MA Dave Thibeault told me that the best match for the engine color was Buick red. So, that's what it was painted. --Dwight
  14. Heads with casting number 1555479 are R3 or R4 heads. An engine with S/N R3S M305 should be one of the ten factory installed by Studebaker (9 Avantis, one Commander 2-dr.). AFAIK all R3 and R4 engines not factory installed in a car should have an A or B prefix on its S/N (someone correct me if I'm wrong). Engine number R3S M305 was assembled on Nov. 5, 1963 (not Dec.--December has a month code of N.) --Dwight
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