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scottgriggs

Avanti II rake

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It is well known that Newman and Altman didn’t like the original Studebaker Avanti rake and thought it was inappropriate for their hand-built Avanti II.  

Exactly what changes were made to the car to alter the stance?

I have heard mention of a “spring spacer”, and that would raise the height of the front of the vehicle by changing the front suspension ride height at curb condition (increase jounce  travel, reduce rebound travel).  If the front Springs were unchanged from the Studebaker days and the engine weight was reduced, it would have a similar effect of increasing the front suspension ride height. It would also be possible to shim the body to frame contact points (which would not effect suspension travel or curb height, but would increase the clearance between the engine and hood).  Photos I have seen of Avanti II’s do seem to show limited air cleaner to hood clearance, however I have seen small block Chevies in Studebaker Avantis that clear the hood and appear to have the original Stude rake. 

So, I’m curious if the rake change was made by changes to the front suspension ride height, body to frame shimming, or a combination of the two.

I appreciate your responses.

 

Scott Griggs

Louisville, KY

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The rake was body orientation on the frame only...nothing to the frame was done differently.  It was body shims alone.  The spring spacers in the front were for cars with a/c due the its extra weight on the front end.  I assume it was cheaper and easier than having two different spec coil springs to inventory.  The Avanti coil springs are well known for compressing with age which can cause clearance problems with different tire and wheel combinations.

If you want to dd or subtract rake...add or reduce body spacers.  Just keep in mind if you do decide to give the car more rake you might have issues to be compensated for between the hood and air cleaner as the GM engine does sit somewhat differently than the original Studebaker engine the car was designed for.  

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IIRC, when the front was raised on the frame, the Avanti II has a filler piece added to the top of the front tire opening, correct?

jack vines

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48 minutes ago, PackardV8 said:

IIRC, when the front was raised on the frame, the Avanti II has a filler piece added to the top of the front tire opening, correct?

jack vines

Correct.

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Thanks, guys.  Here’s another question for you.  A small block Chevy with cast iron heads (like the 327 and 350 engines used in early Avanti II’s) weighs on the order of 100 lbs less than the Studebaker V8 (maybe closer to 150 lbs if the Stude has a supercharger).  If the same front springs were used on Avanti II’s, with the lighter powertrain and a single front wheel rate of 100-115 lb/in, the front *suspension* ride height would be about 1/2” higher on the Avanti II than on a Studebaker Avanti.  That would be on top of whatever rake adjustment was achieved by shimming the body.

Does anybody know if early Avanti II’s used the same front coil springs as the Studebaker Avanti with the standard duty springs (p/n 526135)?

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Just an opinion (as I do not have Avanti ll coil spring part numbers) but I believe a lighter duty front spring was used on Avanti ll's than on Stude Avantis.

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I was just looking through some references I have.  In the 1963 SAE paper on the Studebaker Avanti, the front wheel rates are given as 100 lb/in for the standard duty springs and 130 lb/in for the optional heavy duty springs.  I also found a Car Life road test of a 1969 Avanti II in which the front wheel rate was listed as 116 lb/in.  So that suggests the Avanti II springs were at least as stiff as standard Studebaker Avanti springs, if not slightly stiffer.  It’s possible that Avanti Motor Corp developed their own front coil spring for the Avanti II, and if that is the case, they could have adjusted the free height to produce the same curb height even with the lighter Chevy engine.  Unfortunately, I’m not aware of any Avanti II parts catalog or service manual that would provide that answer (I think the early Avanti II’s were overall so close to Studebaker that they relied on the Studebaker service manuals).

Edited by scottgriggs

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39 minutes ago, scottgriggs said:

I was just looking through some references I have.  In the 1963 SAE paper on the Studebaker Avanti, the front wheel rates are given as 100 lb/in for the standard duty springs and 130 lb/in for the optional heavy duty springs.  I also found a Car Life road test of a 1969 Avanti II in which the front wheel rate was listed as 116 lb/in.  So that suggests the Avanti II springs were at least as stiff as standard Studebaker Avanti springs, if not slightly stiffer.  It’s possible that Avanti Motor Corp developed their own front coil spring for the Avanti II, and if that is the case, they could have adjusted the free height to produce the same curb height even with the lighter Chevy engine.  Unfortunately, I’m not aware of any Avanti II parts catalog or service manual that would provide that answer (I think the early Avanti II’s were overall so close to Studebaker that they relied on the Studebaker service manuals).

Your research makes sense...and since most all Avanti ll's were air conditioned, the weight over the front wheels is probably close to a non-A/C R1 Avanti!

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16 minutes ago, mfg said:

Your research makes sense...and since most all Avanti ll's were air conditioned, the weight over the front wheels is probably close to a non-A/C R1 Avanti!

That is what I was thinking.  The added weight of A/C, cruise control, etc. on Avanti IIs made up for the difference in the weight of the engines.  IIRC, Studebaker added spring spacers to A/C cars.  

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Avanti Motors used the Studebaker coil spring #526135 for 1965 only then changed...to what and from what vendor I don't know.  My information only gives that much on coil springs.  Generally a stiffer front coil spring and softer rear leaf spring will help some with the forward weight bias and also improve handling somewhat.  That's why I always kept four pounds less air pressure in the rear tires than the front...the handling improvement was noticeable.

 

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