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RQB1820

New Guy - 1972 RQ-B1820

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Hello all,

I'm new to Avanti ownership but not to Studebakers. I had a 63 Lark years ago, but probably like all of you, told myself I'd one day own an Avanti. I made that happen yesterday.

I bought the car out of Southern Louisiana over the weekend (You may have seen it on Craigslist). I'd say it is in fair to poor shape except the hog troughs are solid, and it does run. The exhaust was done recently. It needs a complete brake makeover, and the interior is trash...just, really ugly bad leather pieces all over... ugghhhh The carpet looks good, but is likely toast too. Body has some stress cracks under the headlights, and a few chips/gouges below the pass side vent window (??).

It does have some nice features like cruise control, power windows, AC (don't yet know if all 72s had these). It does have the 4bbl 400 so I guess that makes it late in 72. I also researched a prior owner in Mobile AL and spoke with a gentleman who knew some history on the car. He said the PO didn't drive it much and it sat at a paint and body shop in the 90's for several years untouched. It shows 83K and he thought it wasn't much less than that 5 years ago when it was sold to the fellow in LA... so it's sat for long periods time.... Hopefully not at the bottom of a Hurricane slew somewhere.

I know about the brake kits and have seen carpet kits. I'm wondering at this point about the interior. I haven't seen any "Year One" type suppliers for these cars. Anyone have patterns for all of the A and C (roll bar) pillar pieces? Headliner? Do I need to find a wrecked car with a nice interior? :-)

Anyway, I've already read through all of the 66-83 threads. Thanks to all of you for the information I've already gleaned.

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Edited by RQB1820

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Welcome! Congrats on your purchase. It sounds like you've given the car a good inventory of what's good and what needs attention. Before starting anything, you really need to make a plan and stick to it. That's easy to say as things can pop up out of nowhere that require decisions be made that can set back other items.

First...the brakes. Get the brakes in 100% top working condition. Nothing is more important than the ability to stop the car safely. Everything else can wait. In other words...mechanical operation first and cosmetics after that.

Depending on the overall condition of the brakes and what is in usable condition, refurbishing the original brakes or changing to the Turner Conversion Kit can be decided. If the existing brakes require everything, the Turner kit is no more expensive to install. If the original calipers, rotors, wheel cylinders, etc., are reusable, I would add change all the rubber hoses just on general principles.

There's no real "Year One" type of place to go for all your needs. We do enjoy some first class vendors who supply good used, NOS and rebuilt original parts. We also have many members who have figured out alternatives to parts no longer available. All you have to do is ask.

Jon Myer of Myer's Studebaker has headliners...lots of them. Studebaker International has repop roll bar covers, but they're not padded like the originals. Depending on what you want to do, a good upholstery shop can do the interior any way you want...vinyl, leather, fabrics. You can be as creative as you want in personalizing the car.

One nice thing about an Avanti II is that none were alike for the most part. They were usually built to order for particular buyers, so you can change what you like without really hurting the car's value...as much value as Avanti II's have to be realistic. I'm not a purist so that's easy for me to say. Most purists don't go after Avanti II's anyway...they tend to prefer the Studebaker built variety.

Again, welcome...contribute often and ask anything. Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want. Most here are quite experienced when it comes to our Avantis.

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Brad, congratulations ! You will have great fun with your Avanti and others will enjoy seeing you drive it. Just post questions here and you will get help very quickly.

1.Since you are in AL, A/C and insulation is a must. Basic are:

Wrap the exhaust pipes to keep the heat out of the cabin firewall and floor $30

As you do you carpeting, use insulation to reduce heat and quiet the cabin $80

Consider removing the big GM 6A and converting to a Sandig and 134A

2.The 400 cu in SBC engines get uninformed urban legend bad press.

These are torque monsters. When stripped of the air pumps and pollution junk and timed properly like a SBC should be, they perform quite well. Racers love them.

I just drove my 1975 with 400 SBC 2,000 miles from Houston to the St. Louis meet ave 20 mpg @ 75/80 mph. happy to advise when your ready.

Joe

Edited by Devildog

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RQB1820,

The car looks decent from the two pics posted. Welcome to the expensive realm of Avanti ownership. As was mentioned earlier, brakes would be the first thing to attack and get operating properly. If the rotors need replacement, they are at least $100 each. If you're doing rotors and pads, you should consider switching to the Turners. I got a 76 RQB 2392 4 years ago and have similar equipment with the 400 SBC. To finish on the brakes, a good rebuild on the rear shoes would also be in order with redoing the front brakes. I totally replaced all the steel lines with stainless and the Turner kit had the rubber lines as well. I've also since replaced the booster and the dual master cylinder as it was starting to leak.

As the funds allow, the other areas to look at would be the motor, transmission, ac, suspension, tires and interior. I went through my 76 and had the motor pulled, cleaned, torn down and warmed up when it was rebuilt. The trans is probably a THM 350 or TMH 400, both good transmissions, but are not that great for fuel economy. I swapped in a rebuilt 200R4, has the same first three gears as the 400 but with a .67 overdrive for 4th. Get to know the Avanti vendors such as Dan Booth @ Nostalgic, Jon Meyers, and Studebaker International does handle a lot of body and suspension parts for up to 85 Avanti's which will work for your car.

To my knowledge there are no upholstery kits for the Avanti II's as they were a hand built car. Any good upholstery should be able to come up with materials in vinyl, cloth or leather that would look fine in the car. I was lucky with my interior and just had to repair and replace 3-4 panels in the acorn brown Gladstone vinyl. A local upholstery shop was able to come up with a very close match that was used to replace the damaged panels. The same goes for the carpeting, is the shag carpeting still in yours like so many of the mid 70's models had? A 63-64 carpet set could also work in your 72. A wise purchase would be the Avanti Shop Manual for the Studebaker Avanti. Body, frame and suspension are pretty much the same in your vintage of Avanti. The motor being Chevy along with the transmission, those parts can be located easily.

Other items to look at would be the cooling system, a good flush and new hoses would not hurt as well as getting the radiator cleaned out. The gas tank, especially if it has been sitting a long while could have the tank drained, cleaned and possibly coated before going back into the car, especially if you or the wife notices a gas odor in the car cabin. Replacing all the fuel lines is another good practice as today's ethanol will eat the old rubber. Don't feel the need to get everything done at once as you could give the checking account a real case of sticker shock. I took about 4 1/2 years to go through everything in and on the car, finishing this summer. In the meantime between having work done on the car, I've managed to put over 25,000 miles driving the 76 to both coasts and north to Minnesota. There have been some anxious moments driving the car, but they have been few and far between.

If you haven't done so yet, join the AOAI as well as the SDC. The Turning Wheels and Avanti magazines provide a wealth of information for you. Make it safe to drive on the road then DRIVE IT!!!

Edited by plwindish

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Thank you all for the warm welcome.

Yep, Brakes and fuel system were my first maintenance goals. The PO had the car running from a gas can as the fuel in the tank has turned into nasty smelling "something." Some did slosh out of the fuel line where he had the line from the tank disconnected (hence the smell), so at least the line is unclogged and there are no leaks.

My interior was all leather, and not one panel is worth saving the cover of. The roll bar cover is the best piece and it is shrunken, hard, and cracked. I'm hoping to use the cardboard from the panels to at least have good patterns to make new ones. The hard part is going to be the foam/padding.... that'll be tricky for the seats.

I read up on the 200R4 swap and at some point I would like to do that, but first things first. I will begin the teardown starting Friday and my goal is to get the gas tank out to be chain rolled and steam cleaned, then coated, and then the brake components removed (for inspection and cleaning or replacement). lol

I have an electronic shop manual on order - laptops are so handy.

I'm no stranger to expensive rebuilds/restorations having had a go at Porsche 928s for about 10 years. ...tell me about expensive interiors... In fact... that may be a good choice for front seats come to think of it if these are beyond repair. Hmmm

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Brad, you most likely have the high back bucket seats which were the regular low back bucket seats and Avanti Motors made them into high backs, or you could possible have Recaro's as that was an option. The seats could have been heavy duty vinyl, leather cloth or a combination of vinyl or leather and cloth. Any upholstery shop should be able to do redo the side panels and everything else as well as having the foam. Good luck with the start!

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I doubt whether the car has Recaro seats unless they were retrofitted as Recaros didn't become an option until the later 1970s or early '80s. The stock seats suck to put it mildly. You might check into replacement seats that will fit that give much more support and comfort. Decisions like this can wait until the mechanical aspect are addressed.

Aftermarket seats like Procar will work with the appropriate bases which are available from Wedge Engineering.

I'm not trying to spend your money for you, but many of us have complained at length about the "Command Center" seats Avanti Motors used. I found a pair of Recaros out of a later Avanti being parted out for my car...but I found them more or less with luck at one of the annual Studebaker swap meets in York, PA. Some have adapted power seats from more modern cars to their Avanti but I don't know the extent they went through to do the conversion.

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Welcome to the club. If you had a Porsche 928, then you'll be fine with your Avanti. At least the prices won't seem unreasonable! I almost bought one a few years back, but the price of some parts and the timing belt procedure scared me off. I ended up with an SL500 which can still be a challenge to work on, but can't hold a candle to the 928!

As for the brakes, I'm still sticking with the original Dunlop design just because it was cool for it's time and the parts are still available. (Check out any XKE forum or vendor.)

If I were to change them, I'd be tempted to use Tom's (SBCA96 on this and other forums) design for mounting the Mustang Cobra brakes. He used to sell some brackets for them, I'm not sure if he still does. Worth looking into, though. http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/showthread.php?81440-RAD-Ideas-Mustang-GT-and-Cobra-brake-adapter-bracket-update

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Hi Brad,

If you stay with the Dunlop brakes, on my '70 I used the 2 14" calipers from a late 60's Toyota Crown and from Hydr-Cyl LLC for the Jaguars. I'm sure you will be impressed by the stopping ability.

Cheers, Bill

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Finally got the seats and the carpet out today.

This car must have been flooded at one time. The seat bottom for the back seat has rusted away, and 90% of the bolts and screws holding the front seats and carpeting snapped off when attempting to remove them. I guess I get to see how straight I can drill a hole to get them out. Grrrr :angry:

The black carpet that was in the car was covering the original silvertone grey shag carpet. This must have been one pretty car when new - Bright silver finish with silver carpet and black leather any vinyl interior. I got most of the vinyl covering off and found where several generations of critters had taken up residence in the dash and center console. Again... Grrrr :angry:

I didn't know that the vinyl was glued in before the windows were put in. Most of my window seals are in poor shape anyway so I'll need to start collecting them.

I'm not sure how much the dash wiring was bastardized but some PO has run a bunch of Monster cable and speaker wire up in there too. I'll just add that to the list of things to do...

Edited by RQB1820

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There were only 101 1972 Avantis built (yours is the 20th). I believe that they were all 400 cid. IMO, the 1972 400 is a good engine, based on my experience of many miles with one. The polution "garbage" mentioned in another post started with the 1973s.

If you search on the SDC Forum, there is a topic covering installing (about 2002) Camaro/Firebird bucket seats in an Avanti. These look at home in an Avanti and are MUCH more comfortable and give better support. This would be less expensive than a reupholster job and give you nice seats.

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Also, Mazda Miata front bucket seats fit well too. I know of a 63 Avanti that uses them and were a near bolt in fit.

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