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Posts posted by Gunslinger

  1. You might want to replace the rubber brake hoses…especially if you don’t know how old they are.  They can look ok externally but internally go bad.  

    By any chance…did the brake fluid get replaced by silicone DOT 5…or already had DOT 5 replaced by DOT 3 or have them mixed?  They’re not compatible and will make the fluid turn into a milky looking mess that will give a very spongy pedal if not fail altogether.  If that occurred a complete flushing of the brake system is required along with new hoses and seals.  

    DOT 5 also requires a thorough bleeding of air.  Any bubbles are much smaller and can be a bear to get rid of.

  2. Vintage Air does make quality products.  There might be another possibility…one of the vendors…either in Avanti Magazine or the SDC’s Turning Wheels makes a bracket for the Sanden compressor.  It might be just for the Studebaker engine…not sure.  You might also check a source like Summit Racing to see if a Sanden compressor bracket is already produced for the Chebbie engine.

  3. The door may have been reupholstered at some point...covering where the switch goes...or the adjustment switch could have been located elsewhere such as under the dash.  Maybe the wiring is for something else someone might have installed?  Maybe the wiring harness included those wires regardless of whether it was to be equipped with power mirrors?  

    The best way to find out whether the car was factory equipped with power adjustable outside mirrors is to get a copy of the build sheet from Nostalgia Motors...it will show how the car was originally equipped.  

  4. Studebaker also had some serious and inherent problems not directly related to the Avanti.  When Sherwood Egbert became President of the company he visited many dealers to get a feel for them.  He sensed they were very loyal to Studebaker but very unaggressive at sales.  There also the issues that not all of the country was assigned dealers so many areas had no Studebaker presence at all…and many dealers were dueled with other makes that were bigger profit makers for the dealer and some were simply mom and pop dealers…a repair garage that was technically a Studebaker dealer but only kept a few cars at a time.  

    The Avanti program was really stuck between a rock and a hard place…the crash program to bring the car to market without sufficient lead time led to defects that would or should have caught during testing and caused production delays and problems with cars that did get into hands of consumers.  If Studebaker had given the program sufficient lead time the company probably would have still had the money cut off without any Avantis being produced for sale.  The end result would likely have been the same…Studebaker exiting the automotive business.  

    As I’ve heard it…the Avanti was a “magnificent failure”.  

  5. 37 minutes ago, Skip Lackie said:

    Those of us who are old enough to have actually bought a car in 1963/64 remember that very few people were seriously looking at Studebakers.  They had become a niche manufacturer. I don't remember anyone in my circle of family and friends who actually owned a Studebaker.  My then-roommate was in the market for a new car car in 1964, and we actually looked at both GT Hawks and Avantis.  He ended up buying a Buick Riviera.  425 cubic inches, 340 horsepower and VASTLY more refined than the Avanti.

    During those years my dad owned a newspaper and his personal policy was to buy from those who purchased advertising space in his paper.  When he wanted a brand new car for the first time he wanted a Buick Riviera (new at the time...this was late '63 or early '63) but the local Buick dealer didn't advertise with him...so he went to the local Pontiac dealer and bought a new '63 Grand Prix.  There was a fairly closeby Studebaker dealer at the time that advertised with him occasionally but the Avanti wasn't my dad's cup of tea...he might have been interested in a Hawk GT but for whatever reason didn't seem interested in one...maybe it wasn't even on his radar screen to begin with.  

    My dad may have had his thoughts colored by a previous experience with Studebaker.  My mom said they once had a '39 Studebaker that was the worst car they ever owned.  

  6. Arguable at best.  The reality was Studebaker could not produce the Avanti in appreciable numbers to begin with and sales were lost along with what goodwill and publicity they had.  It’s all well known and no reason to go over that.

    The Ford Mustang was often marketed as a secretary’s car…six cylinder and economy oriented where the Avanti was marketed as an upscale vehicle.  Ford was looking for mass sales while Studebaker looked the Avanti as a halo car…sales were certainly wanted but also to bring in foot traffic to sell Larks and some Hawks…Studebaker’s bread and butter cars.  The Lark series were the secretary cars and economy minded buyers.  The Avanti was more directed at the Buick Riviera, Ford Thunderbird and Pontiac Grand Prix market.  

  7. Skip…you might check with Summit Racing or maybe Edelbrock as they used to reproduce the Quadrajet though it’s been some time.  Maybe some carb rebuilder might have some un-rebuildable Q-jets sitting around for parts.  Also…check with K&K Automotive in Frederick…they’re top notch carb rebuilders and might be of help.

  8. Factory recommendation was Champion J-10Y.  While many have specific brands of spark plugs they liked any brand that cross references to that will work.  Of course...any brand catalog that lists Studebaker Avanti will have their own recommendation but who knows how many companies list Studebaker anymore?  

    Many years ago I worked for JC Penney in their auto center.  I used their house brand spark plugs in the '63 R1 I owned at the time...they worked just fine.  The JC Penney brand spark plugs and tuneup parts were made for them by Prestolite.  That was before so many parts were made offshore.  

  9. The market for the 2001-2007 Avantis is very limited...not many people even know the cars exist.  its about one hundred made in a market where they're all but unknown doesn't necessarily translate into market value.  Perceived value is one thing...realized value can be something completely different.  

    When I owned my 2002 Avanti I heard comments that ran the gamut...from "The best looking car I've ever seen" to "It's nothing but a re-skinned Camaro".  When I decided to sell the car several years ago interested buyers were few and far between...those who were interested wanted a bargain.

    On their best days Avantis are polarizing.  That both works for and against you.  

  10. The terms are often used interchangeably but there is a difference…at least in this application.  An air dam redirects oncoming air around the car…elimination turbulence under the car thus reducing drag.  A deflector redirects air into the radiator where it would otherwise go under the car creating drag.  For an Avanti the deflector has some air dam effect as well.

    Im not at my home computer or I could post a photo of the air deflector.  It really does look like it was part of the car’s design.  The air deflector was from a Saturn.

  11. I believe Magnaflow was the factory installed exhaust...the 2002 I was the first purchaser of had come with Magnaflows.  The first time I had the car serviced the mechanic said "This is not a GM factory exhaust system!"

  12. A potential issue to keep in mind is the front coil springs.  It’s not uncommon for the springs to sag with age.  That can create a clearance problem where the tires might contact the fiberglass wheel arch.  

  13. Timing advanced too far creates detonation which is harmful plus increases heat.  How much depends on how much advance is there…also dependent on gasoline octane and quality.  Lower octane fuel requires less timing advance.  The Prestolite distributor in the Avanti had a reputation for wearing advance bushings…especially if not kept lubricated.  

    The ‘70 Avanti I had I installed an air deflector as opposed to an air dam.  While at low speed or sitting it was of no value at speed it easily kept the temperature 10 degrees or more less than it ran without the deflector…that was with an electric fan as well.

  14. LS engines have been fitted but I don’t what mods had to be done.  Hopefully someone here who has done that will fill you in.

    When I had a ‘70 Avanti II I bought a crate engine…350/330 hp version.  For my style of driving (I’m not 25 anymore)…I think it was overkill.  The 290hp crate engine would have done just fine plus it’s a regular fuel engine where the 330hp crate engine was premium fuel.  With a 700R4 transmission it could spin the tires in any gear.  

    There was minor issue with the 700R4…the transmission support had to be relocated somewhat and a new neutral safety switch/backup switch assembly had to be fabricated.  No big deal but was necessary.  You could go with converting it to a manual 5- or 6-speed transmission.  I’m kind of sorry I didn’t do that but it would have cost more to do it the I would want.

    A 200R4 engine would actually have been a better choice…a better spread of gears and could have been built to 700R4 strength…plus being smaller.

    I also went with an aluminum driveshaft…less rotating mass and un sprung weight.  I also used lightweight composite leaf springs for less weight.

    I went with an Edelbrock EFI which was trouble-free and performed superbly.  Sticking with a carburetor would have certainly cost much less but I wanted EFI.

    If I had to do it again I would gone with electric power steering to get rid of all the hydraulics and hoses hanging down under the front but aftermarket electric power steering was just hitting the market at the time and I didn’t care to be a test case using it.

    Overall…the best I can tell is to follow the KISS principle…Keep It Simple, Stupid.  Trying to do too much too fast can be counterproductive and expensive.  I would suggest starting with the brake system and suspension first.  Make sure the hog troughs are solid as replacing those eats up budget very fast.  Then the drive train and cooling system.  Interior and body last.

    Make a plan and stick to it.  You can get into the weeds faster than you think with mission creep with any car but more so with an Avanti.

    Rebuilding an Avanti is an act of love…not of reason.  



  15. A major cause of Avanti heat at speed is air turbulence…the hot air is trapped in the engine bay and not getting out.  An air deflector mounted under the radiator saddle can help immensely…it directs air up into the radiator and away from the engine bay.

    There are also other potential causes for temperatures running high at speed…incorrect engine timing…a weak lower radiator hose…sludge buildup in the engine block cooling passages…wrong or bad radiator cap…maybe others.

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