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Posts posted by Vaaraz

  1. Hello,

    Thank you for this information. I am photographer for Auto Retro and owner of the Raymond Loewy's french Avanti.

    I myself suggested the idea of talking about the Avanti in the "Le Vrai Prix" section which aims to take stock of the costs, buying advices, maintenance problems, spare parts availability for a different car each month. Today, the writing of the article is finished and I am in the process of finishing the retouching on the photos.
    It will be published in Auto Retro #458 which will be released on November 15 in France.

  2. Hello,

    Some of you may know me here. I am photographer for Auto Retro the main classic car magazine in France and I am the owner of a 1963 Studebaker Avanti R2.
    My editor-in-chief and I, we had the idea to publish a report on the Avanti soon and that is somewhat the purpose of this message.

    My Avanti has been fully restored in mechanics (chassis, running gear, engine, cylinder heads, gearbox, exhausts...), it is equipped with the supercharger (restored with new mechanism), the 3-speed automatic transmission and the axle ratio 3:73.
    Today, the car is in perfect condition, the running-in time has been done, the engine does not heat up, the cylinder heads have been tightened and I have already traveled around 10,000 km (6200 ml) since the engine is new.

    Here in France, we lack a lot of user feedback because there are few Avanti in circulation and almost no R2 runs with its supercharger.
    If you own (or have owned) a similar model, would you please be kind to answer some of these questions ?

    According to the different versions, an Avanti R2 is capable of high performances, do you sometimes try to reach them ?
    What maximum speed do you reach ?
    How long do you wait for warm-up ?
    Is the 289ci block weakened with the supercharger ?
    Have you ever had troubles after using at high speed (overheating... cylinder head gasket ...) ?

    Although a competitor to the Corvette and capable of performance comparable to that of a Ferrari 250 GT, some people, here in France, think (especially specialists in the Corvette ;-) that the Avanti is more fragile and that it is better to drive it quietly.

    Given its axle ratio, mine should be able to exceed 200 km/h (124 mph).
    My goal is not to drive fast all the time and I don't hope or dare to reach its maximum speed one day but I like to know what are the limits without no risk for the engine.
    I found this video that shows a seemingly original model peaking at 120 mph (193 km/h) :

    Of course, needless to remind me that the speed on French motorways is limited to 130 km/h... I'm talking about performance in my dreams... or on tracks ;-) !

    Thanks for your attention and answers and sorry for my bad english (thanks Google !).

    Take care !


  3. Hello everyone,

    I remember the advice I read here about increasing the size of the return hole in the water pump housing.
    If I recall correctly that hole in the housing where the lower radiator hose connects is about 5/8 inch. I've heard that Jon Myer encourages that it should be drilled to 3/4 inch to allow more water flow.

    A few days ago, by putting my old spare parts in order, I found an original water pump manifold of the car.

    I guess it was a spare one I had from the former owner.

    Of course, the first point I checked was the diameter of the "return hole" in the lower housing... and...
    I was surprised to notice there is NO hole at all... the water passage in this housing is totally free !!!
    The diameter is the same from the entrance to the water pump...

    I send you some pictures of this old manifold, then you can check by yourself.
    Was it a special serie or a previous transformation... ???
    I examined it but it does not seem that there were any work made.
    This part seems to have been casted that way.

    Does it come from another car ?
    Was it an adaptation for a particular market / country ???

    If it's possible to restore it, should I install it on my car to get a better cooling ?
    I've heard I shouldn't, it should be worse...

    Bonjour de Paris,






  4. Hello Jim,

    In 2011, I purchased straight from Koni France (where I live), two pairs for my 63 Avanti R2.
    I am rather happy with them but as long as I remember, my mechanic had to make some adaptation...

    Front : 8040-1017.0802
    Rear : 8040-1018.0802

    I've checked, they're available at Summit :

    Sorry, i didn't make the installation myself, I can't help you more...


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  5. Daniel...........I can't comment on the Stock Thermo Clutch as I changed mine over several years ago to a BMW clutch. It requires some machine work to make it all work, and with a short window to solve your problem, I'd not encourage you to go that route.

    I would however suggest that while the radiator is out of the car, that you pull the water pump and confirm that the impeller clearance to the back of the water pump housing is correct. I can get you exact measurements if you wish. The fast check method is to scrape the water pump gasket off and hold the pump in the housing and turn it by hand. A VERY slight contact should/might be heard. If there is no contact you can measure the distance with some children's "Silly Putty". Place an amount of putty about the size of a marble on one of the impeller vanes and place the water pump in the housing.........again WITH OUT the gasket. Remove the pump and you will see the clearance. It should be as close to the back of the housing as possible. A ever so slight contact with the hosing is OK with no gasket in place. The gasket that I use is .004 thick and will provide the necessary clearance when in place, if you have the slight contact I described. With a gear puller you can pull the impeller further back of the shaft.

    Another thing you can examine with the water pump out of the housing, is the hole in the housing where the water returns to the water pump via the lower radiator hose. If I recall correctly that hole in the housing where the lower radiator hose connects is about 5/8 inch. Jon Myer encourages that it should be drilled to 3/4 inch to allow more water flow.

    I assume you have the fan shroud and are using it. If not it needs to be in place.

    You asked about a six blade fan. I can't comment on that I've not used one. I can comment on the optional 7 blade fan. I have one on my car and it works well.

    Regarding the Evans Cooling. My limited understanding is that it does not lower your temperature, but rather raises the boiling point. The net result is no boil over.

    Your state that the engine has been restored. Was the engine rebuilt? Were the Freeze Plugs removed and the bare block boiled to remove the rust and sludge in the cooling jackets? If not, this could be part of the problem. IF the block was not boiled/cleaned internally, and with only a couple of weeks to work on this I'd suggest that you look for the block drains on either side of the engine. Usually they are plugged with a square headed plug. Remove the plugs ( an 8 point socket works well here) and see what comes out. It could be perfectly clean if the block was properly boiled/ cleaned. Or, you might have to poke a screw driver into the drain hole to get the crude to come out. If you find crude and sludge, you have found a good portion of your cooling problem in my opinion. In a perfect world, one would remove all of the freeze plugs and scrape and flush the crude and sludge out of the cooling jackets. Replacing freeze plugs with the engine in the car is a pain in the ass. When I rebuilt my engine I found sludge and crude half way up the cylinder cooling jackets. I also found old freeze plugs in the cooling jackets that had been pushed in rather than removed.

    I've driven in and out of Paris on two occasions in June/July and can relate to the stress that one incurs. Add to that an overheating Avanti and the stress and frustration levels would reach the boiling point. No pun intended.

    Hope this helps. If you have further questions, post them here on the Forum.

    John Brissette

    Louisville Kentucky

    Dear John,

    Many, many thanks for your long and precise answer !!!

    Here are some pictures of the time of the restoration :


    As you can see, all the engine was put in parts, the freeze plugs have been replaced and the block has been flushed completely.

    I was not there when the work was made and cannot be sure at 100% that everything was made perfectly but I have no reason to doubt that all the engine jackets were not flushed.

    Some too dark pictures I needed to over lighted under Photoshop prove me that one of the two plugs (driver side) had well been unscrewed but I can't tell about the other one...

    Yesterday, to be completely sure, I wanted to check and unscrew the other plug (passenger side) but it was just impossible to open... We even tried to warm it with a blowtorch... I am afraid to go further.

    Maybe the mechanic who restored the car (different from today's) had the same problem... I asked him but I still have no answer.

    I've read that some people use white vinegar or CLR (Calcium Lime Rust) : http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/threads/best-for-cleaning-water-jackets.665267/

    What do you think of that ?

    Thanks a lot for your good advices about the water pump, I had already read something about it but didn't understand very well.

    Should I take the risk to pull the water pump if I don't have any new gasket (I am afraid I don't...) ?

    If I understand well... if the space behind the propeller is deep enough, I should pull the propeller on its shaft until it almost touch the back of the housing then place the pump again by using a 004 thick gasket, is that right ?

    My question is : because it's always in movement, won't the propeller move back on its shaft ?

    I like the idea to increase the diameter of the hole.

    The car must be ready in... less than 3 days... Good news come from the sky... the weather is a little less hot now ;-) !

    Again, thanks a lot John, your advices are very helpfull.


  6. Hello dear Avanti owners !

    I am french and I take care of an 63' Avanti R2 near Paris.

    Engine, chassis, drive trains, etc... have been restored.
    I have restored or change everything in the cooling circuit : new hoses, new HD water pump, radiator remade, new thermostat, new thermo clutch, no excessive ignition advance (just settled)... but it's still overheating a little under hot weather, especially at idle speed...

    I have just dropped the radiator to a workshop which is supposed to install a more efficient core and I will put everything back in the car soon.

    I just have a question concerning the thermo clutch (1560257) : I have changed it recently and I am wondering why is it so easy to turn the fan by hand when the engine has just been stopped but still hot... shouldn't it be hard to turn ? What about yours ?

    Also, I am changing the normal coolant for the permanent Evans (http://www.evanscoolants.co.uk/Coolants/Automotive/classic_cool_180), are there any feedback about using that kind of coolant on his car ?

    Last question : has anybody tested the 6 fans ventilator ? Is it more efficient than the original one ?

    In less than two weeks, I am supposed to drive the car to Le Mans Classic (http://www.lemansclassic.com/language/en/home/#primary) , under the sun of july...

    Thanks for your help...

    Merci !


  7. Thank You Gunlinger,

    What is certain, the test of the radiator shows that it has lost a lot of its original efficient. My mechanic has been working on this car for monthes and has checked every sensor and gauge. The engine was completely overhauled and we're starting the breaking in (I am not sure it's the right word, I hope you understand), so it's quite normal it overheat a little bit but not at 230° or 240°... It happens after 15 or 20 mn of quiet driving (less than 3000 rpm). I don't have lost much coolant because I always stop the engine on time. We will check the radiator cap asap. Thank for your advices.

    (I remember your lovely town... I even was photographed in the "Frederick Post" in... 1987 ;-)


  8. Hello Avanti's friends,

    My Avanti is about to leave my mechanic's garage where all mecanic element (except gearbox and rear axle) have been rebuilt, replaced, restored... After driving few first miles... (well... “km", here in France, close to Paris), it appears that we have an overheating problem. We have added an electric fan in front of the radiator (pushing) but it doesn't make cool enough.

    The thing is we didn't rebuilt the radiator, we only made a strong cleaning...

    So, I have made the radiator check at a specialist and it is clear that it needs to be replace or rebuilt.

    Today, I hesitate between make rebuild my original radiator OR buy the new Avanti radiator from Studebaker International (Avanti Radiator NEW - 802036 New production 2 row exceeds specs of original 3 row.1963-85.....$650.00).

    I am surprised that 2 rows makes the radiator more cooler than 3... What would you do ? Do you have any feedback ? (costs are almost equals).

    Thanks for your help and...

    Bonjour de Paris ;-) !

  9. Hello all !

    I have a 1963 R2 Avanti in restoration, in France http://www.facebook....135370756510340

    I bought Turner's disc brake kits for Avanti and my mechanic is working on it now.

    We have some trouble at rear because of the size of the bracket, it touches the inside of the wheel.

    Is it because I kept the original wheels ?

    Does anybody know if that kind of kit is only made for larger wheels ?

    Thanks & Best regards,


  10. Hello

    I am looking for a Paxton compressor pulley (+ guides) for my 1963 R2 Avanti.

    I bought the compressor through ebay some years ago. Now, I put it on the engine but, I realise that the pulley is missing...

    Does anybody have one or know a direction to help me to find one ?

    Thanks in advance.


  11. Hello and thanks a lot for this information !

    My name is Daniel Chouin, I live close to Paris, in France and I am the owner of the other personal Loewy's 1963 R2 Avanti.

    I've heard of the californian car by Bob Johnstone and Jon Myer and I am very happy to learn it's still in its original condition.

    I bought my car 3 years ago to a man who lives in Alsace (east of France).

    He is now 87 years old and was the second owner of this Avanti he bought to the french Studebaker dealer in Paris, Ets Dujardin, at the beginning of 1965.

    The restoration of this car is still in progress and you can see some pictures my mechanic and I took of his job :

    Behind the actual license plate is still the french temporary license plate "TTA". Loewy probably first used the car in New York (I have found a card of the New York Athletic Club on 110 Central park where Loewy was resident...) and shipped it to Paris where he had his french office, the Compagnie de l'Esthétique Industrielle.

    The Californian car is #3422 and mine is #4578. They are very similar with a two colors painting (beige + white top), a Cadillac "V" on the nose, plates on each front fender (with writing "Carrosserie dessinée par Raymond Loewy") and a plate on the dashboard (with a different text on each car).

    As you see I am very interested in the "little" story of these cars and would be very excited to fly to LA next week and see #3422 in detail...!!!

    It's a lot of money and changes in my plans but as a professionnal classic car photographer, I could plan one or two shootings with cars in LA (like AVX, Cafaro or Kelly Avanti... or any other cars we never see in France...).

    Cars in good and "like original" condition welcome !

    I would also be very happy to meet other Avanti owners / AOAI member.


    AOAI member # 032477C


  12. I can agree with the use of the Kuhmo's on an Avanti - have had them for almost a year and find them quiet, solid and reliable. No tread wear to speak of yet after a few thousand miles.....

    Thanks for your comment. I can imagine that you don't drive your "R3" only under the speed limit... have you ever driven at more than 120 mph with the Kuhmos (not just 10 sec) ?


  13. Hello everyone,

    I am so sorry to answer you so late but my job as a photographer for car magazines has kept me away from home and busy like crazy those past weeks.

    It's been a while since I wanted to take the time to write to you and to thank you for all your advices posted on this forum.

    I just hope there's still someone, here, to follow the thread...

    Some of you have noticed the "V" at the front of my Avanti. I confirm the car was owned by Raymond Loewy in 1963 and 1964 but I will post a longer answer about this.

    Regarding questions on the forum I searched various sources of information and I suggest submit you some of my thoughts :

    Rear leaf springs :

    I plan to order steel one to Eaton and make them deliver in NJ (I have an economical transport solution from there).

    Tires :

    Most of you advice 205/75R15

    As much as I can, I want to keep the car with its original appearance then the only choices for high speed rating tires with white stripe that match the Avanti I found are :

    Kumho 205/75R15 T (65 $ each) and

    Hankook 205/75R15 T (184 $ each) (db)

    (I can't find Pirelli P4000 with white stripe which look like original Avanti tire, can you ?).

    or, in "S" speed rating :

    Michelin and Cooper

    Has anyone more source... ?

    Shocks :

    I am ready to change for Koni (8040 1017 / 1018) or Bilstein (feedbacks welcome). Koni are available at a very good price, here.

    Where can I find precise informations for adaptation (list of parts, pictures...) ?

    Cylinder heads :

    I am thinking about buying new ones.

    Thanks a lot for your contributions and sorry again for my late answer.

    Greeting from Paris !


  14. I live near Paris, in France and started last year, the mechanical restoration of my avanti R2. The work is not done by myself. I am a car photographer in France, I have little free time but a professional, highly competent, passionate and English speaking friend work on the car. We submit several questions :

    - We are working on a complete repair of the engine and it appears that a cylinder head must be changed. This raises the question of changing the 2 to replace them with heads of R3. Does this pose a problem? Where can I find them (or just one for an R2) ?

    - I would like to change rear leaf springs. It appears that the only one to supply them is Kanter. Last March, the price of a pair was $ 560, now, it is... $ 220. I am wondering what quality are those parts (Chinese?). Does anyone has any experience of this product ?

    - Finally, I am looking for advices on the best choice of tires and shock absorbers. My Avanti R2 must be able to be safely driven (rarely..) at more than 130 mph. But I can't find tires of size 205 / 75 / 15 with a speed rating higher or equal to U (H, V. ..) if possible, with white stripes !

    As for shocks, I'm told that given the performance of an R2, Gabriel were perhaps not enough. Koni used to make shocks for Avanti but they are no longer produced. Do you have other experiences with other manufacturers (Edelbrock. ..)?

    I hope you understood my bad english and thank you very much for your attention and your help.

    With my best Regards.



  15. Hello,

    This is my first visit and my first message here. I am a french new owner of a 1963 R2.

    First, I must say I am sorry for my bad english writting and my poor technical knowledge.

    I bought my car to its (almost) first owner (he bought it to the Paris Studebaker dealer, in february 1965) and everything is 46 years old...

    My mechanic is starting to work on steering, drive lines, suspensions and I need to decide what kind of new shock absorbers to buy.

    I am not a drag racer but I don't plan to use my R2 just for cruising ! I've already bought HD sway bars, Turner brakes kits (front & rear) and will probably order

    HD coil springs. What about HD gas shocks ? Are they not too much firm (even at low speed) or are they progressive enough to give a good confort

    sensation for ladies transportation ? Can anyone give any recommendation on products and vendors ?

    Thanks !


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