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Stuart Boblett

Paint question on an 82

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I recently acquired an 82 Avanti from the original owner and I am disappointed in the quality of the paint job. I was told that it was original except for a front fenders but there is a large amount of orange peel and checking all over the car. Is this typical of the cars of this era? Maybe this is why most of the ones you see are light colored and not black like mine.

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I don't know if the paint issues you describe are common to all cars of that era....but issues like that are DEFINITELY common to Avantis of that era!:o

Not only would the lacquer paint which was applied to your '82 at the factory failed by now, (for various reasons) but the 'all new' PPG urethane paint that Steve Blake applied to the '84's basically put the Avanti company out of business!

Fiberglass bodied cars have always been difficult to maintain a nice paint finish on unless the particular car was mostly garaged and used only on occasion. (Babied from day one!)

So, join the club Stu!:D

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My 81’ was painted at some time from new to when I got it. I have the same issue more bubbles than anything. It’s dark blue but looks pretty good from 10 feet away. I’m toying with painting it at some point. It’s the mechanics I care more about at this time. I’m mostly happy to have the car as it’s been over 30 years since I owned my last one.

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Many will say that after Nate Altman passed away in 1976 that Avanti quality control began a downward slide...Nate was the driving force and heart of Avanti Motors and the company lost much of its drive and seemed rudderless following Nate's loss.  By the time Steve Blake purchased the company its controlling families were on in age and pretty much wanted to get out of it.  

By 1981 the Avanti...while still a nice car...was but a shadow if its former self.  I wouldn't be surprised if the body preps and paint jobs being delivered were not of the best quality.  Steve Blake...for all his faults and eventual demise of the company...re-instituted quality control and a sense of purpose within Avanti Motors.  

In all actuality...if your Avanti shows less than sterling paint quality after all these years...the original paint gave good service.  I know we occasionally discuss who produced the better car...Studebaker or Avanti Motors or different generations of post-Studebaker Avantis...but the fact is after so many years pretty much every Avanti either has been restored or is in need of restoration...there isn't that many driver quality cars left.  Original build quality really doesn't matter anymore as none are really in that condition.  

Accept your Avanti for what it is and use it as a canvas to make it your car your way.  I don't think many...if any of us here...expect to make money on our cars.  We own our Avantis out of an emotion connection to the design...its history...its uniqueness.  It doesn't have to make sense so just go with it.

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Well said GS

I'll add that after taking two Avanti's apart, there is a tremendous difference in build quality between my 74 and 83 vehicles. The 83 was assembled as you would expect a $30K vehicle in the 80's. Everything was well routed and clean, the parts fit well and were quality pieces in general. The 74, and I've said this many times on both forums, reminds me of a kit car assembled by a by folks with a limited concept of quality. And it's not because it went through several modifications after assembly because I purchased from the original owners son and his father had bought it directly from the factory in 74.

As far as the paint issues, I'll bet the issues will just continue as it ages but let me make a suggestion. Find the best auto detailer in your area and ask their advice. The orange peel can be eliminated but get their opinion on the salvaging the other problems. If it's relatively minor, they can possibly do some magic. If it's adhesion issues, then the costs soar rapidly if you want to drive with a pristine paint job.

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My 82's paint job is pretty good and the car has been garaged all but 2 months of its life-I needed some working space in my garage so the Avanti spent some time outside.  The paint is starting to crack around the edges of the hood opening and the edges of the hood.  This is typical of old lacquer paint jobs.  Also I am starting to see some what appears to be bubbling in various spots around the car.  But for 35 years it still shines up nice.  Considering doing some major sanding and repaint once I finally retire.

chuck

RQB-3553

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Paint bubbling can occur for several reasons.  Poor prep before painting can be a cause.  If there's any silicone used on the body that can be a cause as well...silicone soaks in to the fiberglass and it's pretty much there forever and paint adhesion becomes iffy at best in those locations.  Another cause is waxing the car before the paint is fully cured...paints have solvents and compounds that take time to evaporate.  Factory paint jobs and many auto paint shops use ovens to bake the paint and that speeds up the process.  If you have a fresh paint job and not enough time has gone by to allow the solvents to completely evaporate before applying a coat of wax or sealant, the solvents get trapped between the wax and car body and it compromises adhesion and bubbles can occur.  

Never use a car wax with silicones in it on an Avanti or any car with a fiberglass body.  Always allow sufficient time for a fresh paint job so solvents can completely evaporate before waxing or applying a sealant to the car.

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I recently received my first Avanti that I bought out of California and shipped to me in Idaho. It is a 1980 and has the original white lacquer paint on it.

I have restored many Corvettes in my lifetime but never have I seen paint spider checked as bad as this one . I planned on repainting the car but I did not think I was going to have to soda blast the body to get through the cracking. It will need a complete soda blast job.

I used the razor blade theory to try and remove the white lacquer paint but very quickly discovered that the paint was not only spider checked but also the primer underneath it did as well. Seeing this I knew I only had one alternative to get a descent, lasting paint job on my car. I can’t complain since it appears as if all I need to do is paint, upholstery the leather front and rear seats, re chrome the bumpers -head light rings - tail light trim , repair a link in the sunroof and misc things. It will be fun taking it back to look like new again.

MM RQB- 3141

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Best of luck in your endeavor.  You might check into buying replacement bumper, headlight rings, etc. and compete that to the cost of re-chroming.  It might prove to be more cost effective plus you can resell the originals to help offset the replacement costs.  

One more thing...pictures, man...pictures!

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M&M

When I purchased my 74 it badly needed paint so I used the razor blade method to remove all the layers. I had more time than sense as I'm retired and i'll now say "good decision on the soda blasting". Soda blasting is not easy to find locally but from later experience I would have used West Marine's Aqua-strip paint remover as it worked very well taking bc/cc off a truck shell.

A quick thought - As a California sourced car it should have a decent underside but if you haven't already, put it on the hoist and look very carefully at the frame and hog troughs. Pay particular attention to the frame from the front spring mounts for the rear springs to over the rear axle. Avanti's have a unique way of rusting out in that area. Also check the rear cross member as it holds up a large portion of the rear of the car.

If you need hog troughs it's the time to replace them now as there are three ways to replace them. The one piece ones need either the body lifted off the frame or the rocker panels cut to replace them. There was/is? a three piece set that can be fitted without the body lift or other body damage. 

It sounds like you have the background and ability to make your's a great car so just keep us in the loop and, as GS said - never to many pictures.

Edited by Avanti83

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I have been underneath it and it is great. Hog troughs and frame look good. A lot of oil though but I think it is all from the auto trans leaking badly. That gets fixed and new exhaust and headers on Monday. I will take some pics when it is up on the hoist. I am convinced the car has the 49,000 actual. The engine is sound. I have two Manila envelopes with all kinds of documents.

The heat in California was its worst enemy. I ordered all new recaro leather seat covers. I also ordered extra yardage for front and back armrests as well as package trays. I have new torque thrust wheels ordered and the Yokohama tires are like new. I got a quote for rechroming the bumpers at $800 each . I will do that when the car gets painted.

I just received new headlight rings, new Avanti scripts, new sunroof rubber , parts book and repair manual from Bob at Avanti Parts. I will have to rechrome the tail light bezels. There is minute pitting on them as well as the original headlight rings and bumpers That’s from the good old sea salt from the California coast where it lived.

  I have a lot of experience sand blasting and have a commercial unit. I just have never blasted with soda but can’t imagine it is much different.

i will post some pics in a few days.

Thanks to everyone for all of the input and suggestions.

 

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