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Posts posted by lschuc

  1. Obituary

    Johnny Thiele.jpg

    Johnny M. Thiele, 63, of Vandalia, Illinois, passed away Wednesday, January 22, 2020, at the Fayette County Hospital, Vandalia, IL.

    Services will be held at 11:00 AM, Tuesday, January 28, 2020, at the First United Methodist Church, Vandalia, IL with Rev. Don Price, officiating. Burial will follow at Fairlawn Cemetery, Vandalia, IL. Visitation will be held from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM, Monday, January 27, 2020, at the First United Methodist Church, Vandalia, IL and 1 hr. prior to the the service on Tuesday. Memorials: Parkview Free Methodist Church "Backpacks" and/or FUMC "Coats For Kids". Miller Funeral Home, Vandalia, IL, is in charge of arrangements. Online memories and condolences may be shared with the family at www.millerfh.net.

    He was born May 6, 1956, in Pana, IL, the son of Louie Seiler & Betty J. (Hoffman) Thiele. Married Brenda Dothager May 14, 1976, Mulberry Grove, IL, she passed away November 11, 2011. He was a Warranty Claims Adjuster for Case IH; Affiliated with the Baptist Faith; Member of Avanti Studebaker Club; and was a huge car enthusiast.

    He is survived by: Mother - Betty Thiele, Vandalia, IL; Son - Ryan Thiele & Lexi, Ramsey, IL; Daughter - Jaclyn Clay & Jason, Vandalia, IL; Sister - Jeannie Fesser & Darrell, Butler, IL; Grandchildren - Brenley, Griffin, Megann & Hunter; Father-in-law - Bill Dothager, and Brother-in-law - Gary Dothager & Donna, all of Mulberry Grove, IL; and Sisters-in-law - Lucetta Durbin & Mike and Carol Ferguson & Joey, all of Vandalia, IL and Barbara Reiss & Mike, Ramsey, IL.

    Preceded in death by: Father; and Wife.

    Funeral home: https://www.millerfh.net/notices/Johnny-Thiele

  2. On 10/6/2019 at 12:17 PM, arkus said:

    just received new calendars. i ordered two and received them in two separate manila envelopes. each cost $2.20 for postage, not to mention duplicate envelopes, mailing address tapes, avanti magazine stickers and the efforts to fill and post the envelopes. am i being too frugal here, or might the club's time and resources be better served?  the calendars are spectacular !!!

    It is usually less cost to send one calendar per envelope, since two or more in one package is too heavy to go as 1st class large envelope mailing. That then requires priority mail which is anywhere from $7-$9, depending on the distance and weight.  

  3. Answer #5 is correct.  All A and B series had all those items.   But one BIG difference is that the A-series engines were 299ci displacement, and B-series engines were 304.5 cid.

    Working with a standard R2 engine as its base, the first prototype R3 engines displaced 299.5 c.i. These are generally referred to as "A" engines and were used in the first record setting Bonneville Salt Flats runs. When one of these engines pushed an Avanti to 170.78 mph it officially became the Worlds Fastest Production Car. 

    The "production" R3 engine was bored out further to 304.5 c.i. and are stamped as "B" engines. Standard R3 camshaft was 276 degree with 288 degree optional.

    See the attached photo of the #9 Bonneville Avanti that shows the dual breathers on the valve covers, and a breather cap on the oil pan breather tube.




  4. Don Simmons at Silvertone Exhaust Systems used to sell correct trunk carpet, but I am not sure if he still does.  try contacting him through his ad in Avanti Magazine.

    Brad Bez at Bez Auto Alchemy also has patterns and correct trunk carpet.  His small ad is also in Avanti Magazine.

  5. It is #4,  a 1987 Avanti and belongs to AOAI member Peter Armstrong in Nassau, NP Bahamas. 

    By the way,  Nassau had minimal effect from Hurricane Dorian, just a little stronger than normal wind and rain from the outer bands of the storm.  I heard from Peter and the area had no damage.


  6. I hope members in the northeast can attend the celebration of Dick's life, September 8 in New Hampshire.   Details are in the Boston Globe story about Dick, linked from this AOAI Forum post: 



    Also, read my review of Dick's book Dirty Work on Speedreaders, transportation book review website, recounting his expereince of retrieving the hijacked TWA jetliner from Beirut, Lebanon, in 1985. The review and his obituary will also be in the next issue of Avanti Magazine, in production now and going into the mail at the end of this week.  At the end of the review are links to order either a digital version of the book or the paperback version.



  7. Here's the story from the Boston Globe about Dick's passing.  Hopefully other SDC and AOAI members from the Northeast chapter can attend the celebration of his life on September 8 in Greenland, N.H.




    Pilot Richard Vaux, who in 1985 retrieved a hijacked TWA jet from Beirut, dies at 85

    By Bryan Marquard Globe Staff,July 28, 2019, 8:34 p.m.
    In June 1985, a notorious hijacking left a TWA aircraft abandoned at Beirut’s airport — its insides partially gutted, barely able to fly. After weeks of sensitive negotiations, the airline and US officials sent a pilot and two crew members on a secret mission to retrieve the plane.

    The airport’s control tower had just cleared him to take off with the battered plane, but an armored personnel carrier drove onto the runway and cut him off. “It grinds to a stop by my window, and there’s a guy on the roof with a twin-barreled 40mm cannon pointed at my face,” he wrote in a memoir published this year.




    Mr. Vaux at his home in Danvers, discussing how he flew a 727 jetliner from Beirut to the United States. He was a member of a three-person crew on that secret mission.(GLOBE STAFF/FILE 1985)



    Mr. Vaux, who was 85 when he died July 18 of congestive heart failure, was among a few TWA pilots who volunteered to retrieve the plane, if negotiations were successful. He had only learned he was chosen a couple of days earlier, just hours before being sent overseas.

    Get Fast Forward in your inboxA look at the news and events shaping the day ahead, delivered every weekday with a side of humor and a dash of attitude.

    The militia group on the runway wasn’t the first threat he faced in Beirut, and he managed to dispense with those men politely: He opened his window and saluted, they saluted back, and he went on his way.

    Earlier, Mr. Vaux and his two crew members were each assigned a “bodyguard” upon boarding the graffiti-covered hijacked plane.

    “Mine is a nervous 14-year-old kid with a pistol in one hand and a machine gun in the other,” he wrote. “I’m not sure who he’s supposed to be ‘protecting,’ but it’s my head at which he’s pointing the pistol.”

    Their success escaping unharmed and flying the plane to Cyprus and then to Rome brought the crew top honors from TWA.

    And the event became a storied moment in an era when hijackings dominated the news. Camera crews descended on Danvers as Mr. Vaux was interviewed by TV networks, the Globe, and other media outlets.

    This year, working with writer Brad Kuhn, Mr. Vaux published “Dirty Work: The Untold Story of my Secret Mission to Steal Back TWA Flight 847 from Hezbollah.”

    “I wanted to help get the airplane back,” he told the Globe in August 1985, after returning to Danvers.

    In addition to flying for TWA, Mr. Vaux was in the Air National Guard.
    In addition to flying for TWA, Mr. Vaux was in the Air National Guard.(Vaux family)

    The mission, he added, “was exciting and interesting and I probably won’t get to do anything similar for the rest of my career.”

    “Exciting” was probably an understatement. Mr. Vaux recalled that when he and his crew landed in Beirut to retrieve the hijacked plane, men with rifles on the ground and on rooftops began shouting.

    “When you don’t understand the language, you’re hoping it’s friendly — especially when they’re waving guns,” he told the Globe.

    The plane they retrieved had been hijacked after taking off from Athens on June 14, 1985.

    The hijackers demanded that Israeli forces release hundreds of prisoners. Over the following days, the hijackers released some passengers while beating and threatening others — forcing the crew to fly the plane back and forth to Algiers.

    At one point, the hijackers shot and killed Robert Stethem, a US Navy diver who was among the passengers, and threw his body out the plane at Beirut’s airport.

    An enduring news image was Captain John Testrake, the TWA pilot, leaning out his cockpit window as the plane sat on a Beirut runway. He was giving an interview to reporters at the airport when a hijacker suddenly began waving a pistol around his head.

    The hijacking ordeal lasted more than two weeks until the last of the hostages was released.

    On the day Mr. Vaux was sent to retrieve the plane, he was in Danvers, about to leave on a fishing trip with his teenaged son, Glenn — the only other one home that day.

    To avoid work calls, Mr. Vaux had told Glenn to not answer the phone. But Glenn was expecting word from a friend and answered what turned out to be the crucial call from TWA headquarters.

    Because it was a secret mission, Mr. Vaux could only tell Glenn that he was leaving for several days. “He said, ‘I’m going overseas and I can’t tell you more than that. If anything happens to me and I don’t return, just remember that I wanted to do it,’ ” Glenn recalled.

    One of two siblings, Richard Alden Vaux was born in Swampscott on Jan. 10, 1934, and grew up in Danvers, the son of Robert Vaux and Carolyn Dudley.

    He graduated from Holten High School — now Danvers High — and received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine Orono.

    “My father was a piano teacher who worked seven days a week to make ends meet,” Mr. Vaux wrote in his memoir. “My mom was a schoolteacher, so it was pretty clear that if I wanted to attend college, I’d have to earn the money myself.”

    He recalled selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door, delivering dry-cleaning, building fish-runs for Maine hatcheries, and working at a pulp mill.

    After college, along with working for TWA for 30 years as a pilot, he served and flew for many years in the Massachusetts Air National Guard and the Maine Air National Guard.

    Mr. Vaux “was known as a very likable, very gregarious, fun-loving guy — a very dependable individual,” said Al Mundo, a longtime friend and retired TWA captain who also flew with him in the military.

    “Dick was just an amazing guy,” said Major General Will Hessert, a retired Air Force deputy inspector general who had been a Maine Air National Guard leader.

    “I had so much respect for him,” Hessert added. “He was a fantastic pilot and was good to everybody. He was one of those rare, rare people you were just fortunate to know.”

    Mr. Vaux’s first marriage, to Julie Faulkner, ended in divorce.

    He subsequently married Cynthia Burke Mackintosh, who died in 2010.

    Mr. Vaux, who divided his time between Hampton Falls, N.H., and Port Charlotte, Fla., was an avid outdoorsman, fishing near Moosehead Lake in Maine, and a car aficionado. More than 50 years ago, he worked for a time for Studebaker.

    “He’d never pay anyone to fix a car. He’d pull an engine out of the car and swap in a new engine,” said Glenn, who also lives in Hampton Falls. “He had every tool in the world.”

    In addition to Glenn, Mr. Vaux leaves two daughters, Margo Tolosko of Houston and Melanie of Quincy; and his former wife, Julie Vaux of Exeter, N.H.

    Family and friends will gather to celebrate Mr. Vaux’s life at 4 p.m. Sept. 8 at the Breakfast Hill Golf Club in Greenland, N.H.

    In his pilot days, Mr. Vaux liked to get on the public address system and tell passengers about landmarks they were flying over. In any situation, entertaining came naturally. “He told great stories, many times over,” Margo said several days after her father died. “Everyone I talked to this week said, ‘He was the best storyteller, and boy, could he tell stories.’ ”

    His greatest story, though, was Beirut. “I’m just so proud that he finally got it in a book,” Margo said.

    Bryan Marquard can be reached at bryan.marquard@globe.com.


  8. If you were at the AOAI meet last August in Tacoma, Washington, you would have received a prototype booklet written by John Hull that includes the attached chart showing all 10 prototype Avantis. 

    Note that EX2942 was shipped to Paxton March 20, 1962 and was built as the R5 due Cento for Bonneville. 

    EX2946 is the 8th prototype and the 1964 prototype that was sold as the last serial numbered Avanti as R5653.  It is still in the northwest under restoration and as the chart shows, was Avanti Gold with  fawn and orange interior, hand cut-out square headlight openings.  At some time in its previous life, this Avanti was repainted orange and received a solid red metallic  interior, possibly when the factory updated this car to 1964 style.

    EX2945 is the 7th prototype and is the other New York Auto Show car, later receiving the production serial number R5652. It is waiting to be restored by Brad and originally was painted Avanti White  with a fawn and red interior.  At some time in the past, the interior was changed to fawn and orange, but not known if it was done by Studebaker before being re-serial numbered and sold, or done by a previous owner.

    Both the 7th and 8th prototype cars used red & black speckled carpet, and both were the cars flown around the country for dealer introductions.


  9. An AOAI member in the San Francisco area also has an electric 1985 Avanti.  See past Avanti Magazines for several stores in the last 10 or so years.

    The Avanti Motors website is pretty basic now, while a group of investors in Virginia are trying to get the needed backing to build a fully electric car, based on the original AVX. 

  10. Hagerty's price is in the ballpark, $16,000  for #4, Fair condition, although it could  probably sell somewhere in the low $20k range. 

    #4 vehicles are daily drivers, with flaws visible to the naked eye. The chrome might have pitting or scratches, the windshield might be chipped. Paintwork is imperfect, and perhaps the body has a minor dent. Split seams or a cracked dash, where applicable, might be present. No major parts are missing, but the wheels could differ from the originals, or other non- stock additions might be present. A #4 vehicle can also be a deteriorated restoration. "Fair" is the one word that describes a #4 vehicle.

    It sounds like your Avanti is a running, driving car with few if any mechanical issues. I'd say that $16k to $25k would be a very good, fair price.

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