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npermuth

Avanti with all drum brakes?

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I just purchased an inoperable 1963 Avanti with full intention to restore the car. I finally got it up on a service station rack to "explore" what I need to do with the suspension and found that all the brakes are drum brakes, not front discs and rear drums. Does anyone know anything about this coming from the factory (it appears to have been built in October of 1962)? I can't believe that an owner would have replaced discs with drum assemblies. It needs a lot of front suspension work too, by the way!

Thanks for any information you all might have! Nort Permuth

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If it came with drum brakes in front it would be the first that I've heard of and a very rare car! What is the serial number? I will probably be talking with Gary Johnson later today, and if anyone would know about it he would.

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The brakes must have been retrofitted for some reason or possibly the frame is from a Lark-type Studebaker and the Avanti body transplanted.

Measure the rear brake shoes...if they anything other than 11"x2" it's probably not an Avanti frame.

Edited by Gunslinger

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Thanks for answering so quickly. 63R1592 is the listed serial number (which I haven't confirmed yet) and the build sheet scratched out 1593 and has a hand written 1592 number in handwriting next to it. I called the Studebaker Museum and they said it was not uncommon for this to happen, in the day. I did read the body tag and it is what is listed on the car as 63RQ-656.

Nort

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It is the single "jar" style and was cut off and in the trunk as the car was delivered. The car was said to have been in storage for 34 years, purchased ayear ago by the person I bought it from. He never worked on it including not pulling a wheel per my call with him yesterday, so now I'm trying to figure this out, as it is currently my problem. I will be doing any more "research" on the dilemma early next week because the car is not at my home (originally in that shop intending to dismantle the brake system to find out what needed fixing since brakes did not work due a frozen master cylinder per the previous owner. Sorry for the apparent drama. I clearly didn't do my homework and still want to restore it to a "driver" state.

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Does it have a serial number plate on the upper frame below the blower fan on the right side of the engine bay? Even if it does that doesn't mean it wasn't relocated there by someone. Original serial number plates are riveted to the frame...a plate that was relocated could be screwed down or still riveted.

Non-Avanti frames have what's referred to as "secret" serial number stampings in a couple of locations on the frame, though the stampings are not deep and often gone from rust. I'm not sure where to look but others might know...if you found one of those numbers it would confirm it not being originally an Avanti frame.

I hope you solve your mystery and get this car back on the road where it belongs.

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I checked with Gary Johnson and he confirmed that none left the factory with drum brakes in front. Now the mystery is how did it aquire this *upgrade*?

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Nothing should surprise anyone buying a 50+year-old basket case. I've seen Avanti variously with 259" engines, 3-speed-overdrive trannies, Dana 27 6-cyl rear axles, Ford 9" rear axles, Chevy engines, Ford engines, Mopar engines, SteelTech brakes, Turner brakes and mystery brakes.

Decide if you want a restoration, a driver or a modified car and then take off everything which does not fit that definition.

jack vines

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I agree with Jack...My guess is twenty(?) years ago someone found the original Dunlop disc front brakes on your Avanti inoperable...and didn't have the$$$$ or expertise to restore them.

At that point they realized Hawk/Lark V8 front drum brakes would bolt right on...and would be much cheaper to 'bring back to life'. (Boneyard parts)

One of the issues which you have now is that the previous owner probably DID NOT change the original Stude Avanti rear drum brakes.....and, of course, they were never meant to be used with front drum brakes.

If someone ACTUALLY WANTED a Studebaker Avanti with front drum brakes removed from, say, a Studebaker Hawk, they MUST USE the REAR drum brakes off of that Hawk also!!

PS....I would say this hybrid drum brake setup used in conjunction with the original Avanti disc brake power booster would....'PUT YOU THROUGH THE WINDSHIELD'.....So be carefull!!!

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Does it have a serial number plate on the upper frame below the blower fan on the right side of the engine bay? Even if it does that doesn't mean it wasn't relocated there by someone. Original serial number plates are riveted to the frame...a plate that was relocated could be screwed down or still riveted.

Non-Avanti frames have what's referred to as "secret" serial number stampings in a couple of locations on the frame, though the stampings are not deep and often gone from rust. I'm not sure where to look but others might know...if you found one of those numbers it would confirm it not being originally an Avanti frame.

I hope you solve your mystery and get this car back on the road where it belongs.

Gunslinger..........I own 63 R 1348 and the secret serial number is visable on the crossmember where the top of the shocks mount. It is not a deep/hard stamping, but it is there. I've owned this car 43 years and it has always been stored inside, which has no doubt helped preserve the number, plus it is a Georgia car, thus it was never exposed to salt. The numbers on the left and right frame rails are clearly visable, as if they were stamped yesterday.

John

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JLBKY.....That's INTERESTING!!.....An original Stude Avanti frame doesn't have its 'secret serial number' in the same location as on other Stude passenger cars, as the rearmost crossmember (where the number is located on Larks & Hawks) isn't used on the Avanti. (it was replaced with the round 'tubular' crossmember)

Now we know where that secret number IS located on Avantis!......I don't think this information has EVER been mentioned before!

WELL DONE JLBKY!!!!!!

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I always understood that Avantis didn't have the "secret" serial number stamped in the frame. It may simply have been an assumption on everyone's part since it wasn't stamped in the normal Studebaker place on the frame.

Good information to know...thanks.

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I want to thank everyone for their input!

I went to the garage today and verified that the body and engine numbers listed on the build sheet are matched on the Avanti(tag under the blower motor looks to be welded or riveted onto the frame and original) and that means the explanation of someone bolting the drums on many years ago best fits their presence, for whatever reason, today. I've ordered the Turner disk kit and intend to go through the rest of the car methodically to restore its appearance, if not its total point score...I don't build cars for that purpose. This is intended to be a Avanti driver, and not a "show" car, so safety dual master cylinder, upgraded brakes, suspension, and drivability are my plans (possibly aftermarket A/C too).

I've built several street rods from scratch these past many years and driven them thousands of miles reliably. This Avanti will be as close to "stock" for safety and features had it been built today, and that is my focus for enjoying its beauty!

Thanks again everyone for your help in problem solving! Nort

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Nort.....Sounds to me like your plan is a WINNER!!..Good luck!

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I also have seen the numbers stamped into the frame But they were part identification numbers, and not matching the cars serial number.

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Hmmmm!,....Brad brings up an interesting question.

JLBKY,......May I ask if the number you're seeing on the shock absorber crossmember is definitely '63R1348'.....or is it some other number, which could possibly be a Studebaker part number?

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During the 1970s &-1980s, I worked part time at a shop that primarily worked on Studebakers. At that time (especially the 1970s), there were few 1960s Studebaker show cars. Most 1960s Studebakers were still in regular use.

For Avantis, I remember being involved in brake exchanges, frame changes, engine changes, etc.

At that time, Avanti brake parts were not common and were getting expensive. There were no aftermarket conversions readily available. Owners usually wanted a simple and cheap way to drive their Avantis. This resulted in changes to compete brake systems and engines. These parts were usually sourced from very rusty donor cars (NYS). This resulted in Avantis with drum brakes and 259 & 289 (non-R) engines.

Was the Avanti in question ever in NYS? I can't imagine that our shop was the only one keeping Studebakers, particularly Avantis, on the road that way.

Of course, this sounds ridiculus now, but it wasn't under the circumstances of the time. Quite a good Avanti was about $2K at that time and many Studebaker people drove them in the Winter because of the fiberglass body, not thinking of the frame and torque boxes.

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Post #18 on this topic is my first post on the AOAI Forum. I have been reading parts of the forum for some time. Now, you probably won't be able to get rid of me <G>. I have only owned three new and used Avantis, but I have worked on MANY.

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studegary.....Yes, the picture you paint of how things really were back then, to me anyway, is absolutely correct....Avantis weren't worth a whole lot, many of the folks that owned them weren't rich,.......and the basic idea was to keep them going ANY way, and usually the CHEAPEST way, possible!

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Seen the same thing on a 1965 Corvette StingRay. All drum brakes. Turns out it was done at the factory as you could order them with a "disc brake delete" and get the 64 style drums. I figured it was a frame switch on a stolen or crashed car but the build sheet proved me wrong.

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Hmmmm!,....Brad brings up an interesting question.

JLBKY,......May I ask if the number you're seeing on the shock absorber crossmember is definitely '63R1348'.....or is it some other number, which could possibly be a Studebaker part number?

Sorry to take so long in replying to this, but I've been doing a lot of traveling as of late.......chasing parts and collage football Now to answer your question. It has been quite a while since I looked at that number............but my recollection is that it is the serial number. Admittedly, it is a very light stamping, but none the less it is there and visable. My car is from Georgia and thus was not exposed to salt. I've owned it 43 years, and it has nver been in salt, much less rain, and always garged, thus there is no rust on the frame etc..The car is on my lift presently, with a '57 Ranchero Body, on a cart, below it. Next time I pull the Ranchero Body out I'll take another look.Some years ago, SDC in "Turning Wheels", ran an article about these serial numbers. I submitted a photo that I took, when I had the rear end out of it and they published it.

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Very interesting!....Thanks for the reply! (And it sounds like you've owned your Avanti a near record length of time!)

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