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Desert Driver

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Posts posted by Desert Driver

  1. Thx for the compliment..I'm really pleased with the look and how the car handles.

    I went from 205/75 R15 to 225/55 R17 tires. A little wider, but not as much sidewall. Net result is the overall height of the wheel and tire is just a tad less than what I had with the 15 inch wheels and tires! You see more wheel now, and less tire. I went with the same size front and back, but do know some Avanti owners who have gone with 18 inchers in the rear. I spent a lot of time researching this change (esp with Harvey Snitzer who owns a '71 as well). There are some scary stories about owners who have gone with larger wheels and tires and had to modify their cars at additional expense. It's true - no two Avantis are alike, so do your homework. The rake of the 63/64 Avanti is awesome, but I'm satisfied with what I have.



  2. Just took the plunge to 17 inch wheels, and what a difference it's made! My '71 Avanti had the original Magnum 500 15x6 inch wheels, and when I purchased the car, Hankook whitewalls were on it. A spacer was used on the front wheels to clear the Turner disc brakes. I recently purchased 17x7 Magnum 500s and mounted new blackwall tires. The new wheels provided 4.25" back space, and all I needed was 3.75" - so off came the spacers. Perfect fit with no modifications necessary, or clearance issues. Cornering and tracking are so much better now, and the overall look is more muscular. I purchased the wheels, caps, lugs and valve stems thru CJ Pony Parts. Excellent service and prompt delivery.



  3. That looks nasty! But the heat coming off the exhaust pipes under the floorboards makes for a toasty ride! As long as you have it off the frame, spray Lizard Skin everywhere underneath. And don't neglect the transmission tunnel aft of the firewall. Not only will you cut down heat transfer, but you'll enjoy a much quieter ride. 

  4. I'm saying Adios to my BW tranny in January, and Hola to a 700r. At 75mph my 383 is turning at 3400rpm...way too fast to last. Plus as that cast iron BW case heats up, you feel it around the center console and shifter. OUCH! Yup, a new driveshaft is in order, as well as other modifications. Nope, I ain't gonna buy that four speed shifter (1-2-3-D-N-R-P) that costs around $500. The transmission will run just fine through the gears and I've never had the occasion to manually put the car in first gear.

  5. 10 hours ago, Avanti83 said:

    Hopefully that's your car. I must say that I would not have thought I'd like flared fenders but it looks right on this one. The hood vents fit the theme well and the side vents are a touch of styling genius. You don't happen to have a side view straight on, I love to see the profile with the fenders and bigger wheels.

    If only my wallet was as big as my dreams! This beautiful Avanti GT is the work of AOAI member Larry Gibson of Ontario, and his son. The car was featured in a previous Avanti magazine article, but Gibson's website has all the details and photos  https://www.gibsonmotorsports.ca/single-post/2016/03/15/avanti-gt

    Side photos? You bet! I sleep better at night knowing Larry's Avanti GT has the same steering wheel and transmission shifter as mine. And that's about it!



    IMG_5335 (2).JPG

  6. On 11/24/2020 at 6:37 PM, Avanti83 said:

    Since you asked, here's a couple of videos of my 74 after many years of reconstruction. Of course it started as a $3500 rough model but a ton of body/frame work, a 383 stroker motor, T56 six speed and a redone interior got it to here. 

    Just one thought, please don't even consider an upper grill on it.

    I started this when I was about 70 and finished it (kinda) at 77, you can do it.

    Way cool! As someone who has a 383 stroker in mine, I just love the rumble of the exhaust. Speaking of which...where are the exhaust tips? Looks like you have an AMC sourced horn button cover. Re: upper grille. If you check out page 27 of Andy Beckman's "Last Dance" book on the Avanti, you'll notice the clay model produced in Palm Springs had an upper grille. Pure blasphemy to most owners!



    On 11/24/2020 at 6:37 PM, Avanti83 said:



  7. On 11/15/2020 at 9:30 AM, studegary said:

    I would not go to eat anywhere that does not list prices on their menu.  I do not mind paying for what I get, but I do not want to be surprised.  

    If you have to ask.....

    I imagine all restaurant pricing and menu availability is in a state of flux due to Covid 19. Post a price, and next week it may cost more, or you may not offer it. If you're looking for a place to crash after a fine Italian meal, how 'bout this nearby apartment? https://www.apartments.com/avanti-apartments-phoenix-az/lnmfjte/


  8. 9 hours ago, studegary said:

    Toll Brothers has several housing developments in this area.  I just discovered that Toll has an Avanti model (house).  Appropriately, it has two, two car garages, one at each end of the house.

    R1 & R2, no doubt!

    And just about four miles from my two car garage, is this Avanti: http://avanti-az.com


  9. Two years ago I installed a new Stewart Warner Tach (#82163) and it jumped all over the place. Took the car to three different mechanics who worked on the distributor...changed this, added that, lubed it, etc. Nada...except for a bunch of bills. So I called the SW tech dept and was put in touch with a tachometer specialist. Seems the SW tachometer doesn't much care for my HEI distributor and jumps. He said their current production line has a different circuitry to address that issue. The solution to my problem was quite simple: install a 1/2 watt 1000 ohm resistor inline. Voila...no more jumping and rock steady readings! My cost: approx $7.00 for a 100 pack of these resistors (no more Radio Shack, so hello Amazon). If you have a jumper, by all means contact the tach maker's tech support. And if you need a dozen or so of these resistors, contact me!



  10. I'm thinking of going to either a 16 or 17 inch wheel, and wondering what tires would be best for road handling without a harsh ride. The original 15 inch Magnum 500s are showing their age. Current tire size is P205/75R15, and the speedometer displays accurately. A sportier stance is my objective. Any suggestions from those who have made such a change?  

  11. Here in the desert, hot outside air is of little benefit to cool the scorching hot Borg Warner transmission. My air tubes were completely rotted and I had no desire to replace them. So a trip to the local hardware for two rubber stoppers solved the air and water penetration problem. I used silicone adhesive and a rubber mallet to install the stoppers to the cowl opening. 

  12. 23 hours ago, Footer said:

    Try putting some type of rubber hose as a spacer and adjust the hood latches up. And let us know. Mike

    That's probably the quickest and least expensive remedy. The air from the electric fan blows up, so allowing it to escape under the back of the hood makes a lot of sense. Just want to make sure I don't crack the fiberglass with that thing flopping around!

    I run with Evans coolant, which does a pretty good job of lowering temps. Biggest problem is living in the desert with a car that really wasn't designed for the desert. But I do recall pictures of the Avanti at Loewy's home in Palm Springs. Bet those pictures weren't taken in the summer 🥵


  13. 5 hours ago, Gunslinger said:

    A downside to allowing the hood to remain unlatched is that the hot air being allowed out can easily go down the intakes to the interior and transmission cooling ducts at the base of the windshield.  Besides adding to the already known hot interior of the car and even more heated air to the transmission tunnel do you really want to be breathing in engine bay air?  

    Good point...(cough, cough). I plugged those two holes that take air to the transmission shifter. IMHO that was a bandaid solution for a problem that remains today. I've also plugged the footwell vents to prevent outside air getting into the cabin. In Arizona, we don't need outside air competing with a marginal AC system such as mine. For outside air, I crack the wing vents and kick open the rear windows. Works great, and zero fumes from my engine.

  14. 11 hours ago, studegary said:

    My first thought was holes in the inner fender, but you already did that.  The lower air deflector is a good idea.  I suggest going with a less powerful (less air movement) electric fan.   Is your fan thermostatically operated or does it just run?  Do you have a manual switch on the fan to see if shutting it off makes a difference?

    I've heard good things re: the air dam and may give it a shot.  My fan is thermostatically controlled, but I don't want to shut it off...especially in the Valley's 115 degree heat! Because the Avanti's radiator is mounted at an angle and the electric fan is a puller, a tremendous force of hot air is pushed upward in the engine compartment. That's why the engine compartment cools down when the hood is partially opened. A grille in the hood near the forward cowl would probably work wonders for air circulation. Unfortunately it radically changes the appearance of the vehicle, and I'm sure I'd hear about it!  😱

  15. One thing leads to another on the engine cooling project.

    I installed a four inch aluminum radiator with a 3200cfm electric fan. Works great in town, but on the freeway as more air enters into the engine compartment and boosted by the electric fan, the water temp rises to an unsafe level. Pull the car off the highway and things start to cool down. And it really cools down when the hood is popped open, using the inside release.

    I don't want to damage the hood by having it bounce around by being partially open. But has anyone had luck getting the hot air out of an Avanti engine compartment? Putting vent grilles in the hood near the front cowl would probably work, but definitely would change the appearance of the car. I've drilled the six holes into the wheel wells, but that's nowhere near the opening size needed to disperse air from a 3200cfm fan and what comes in from the road at highway speeds.

    I've even thought of reversing the fan direction, and push air out the tiny grille. Aside from moving to cooler climes, any thoughts?




  16. From Bob Johnstone's excellent web page:  https://studebaker-info.org/avanti_all.html

    The last Studebaker assembled was Avanti #R-5643 on 12/31/63. R 5643 is an original R3. The order was written on 10-7-63 and the final assembly date was on 12/31/63. In 1978 most of the actual production dates were, apparently, unknown. According to Mr Krem. R5643 was built with manual steering and the quick steering ratio. It is in the Crawford Museum in Cleveland, OH, and has less than 10K miles. It was donated by former Studebaker dealer Joe Erdelac (now deceased). In 1975 he tried to sell the car for $100K (!), which made Cleveland TV and newspapers. There was a handwritten note in the trunk of the car that said something like "This is the last Studebaker Avanti built, 12/31/63, Happy New Year" and was signed by an employee with his badge number as well.

    From Web searches
    "The Illustrated Studebaker Buyer's Guide" lists R5642 & R5643 as 
    the "final production Avantis". These were two of the nine (Production) R3's 
    made. They actually repeat that R5643 was the last car, three times!
    The guide also says that there were at least five engineering 
    prototypes, EX-2942 and EX-2944 to EX2947. Those last four were given 
    serial #'s R5650 to R5653; so as many as ten may have been put 
    together after production.


  17. On 8/1/2020 at 6:02 AM, mfg said:

    Mr. Egbert lost his job by ONE vote!:o


    I am now in possession of the minutes of the Board meeting on 11/22/63, and they tell a different story.

    The vote to accept Sherwood Egbert's resignation was unanimous (5-0). Documentation indicates there were significant differences between Egbert and the Board. At the same meeting, Byers Burlingame was elected President and CEO by unanimous approval.


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