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Billy Shears

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  • My Avanti
    63 R2463

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  1. You're not missing out because you can't get the pads from Studebaker International; they were not made off the original molds the way Dan Booth's are, and they didn't fit quite right. I got my dash pad from Dan, and it really does look fantastic. It's not hard to install either, once you get your dash removed, and all the gauges and so on taken out. Sending it off to Just Dashes is also an option, and it's what I would have done had Dan not started making reproduction dash pads. The result might be just as nice looking from Just Dashes -- I don't know; I haven't seen one of theirs, but I do know the dash pad from Dan looks quite good, since I have one in my car. Whether you go with a reproduction pad from Dan, or get Just Dashes to do it, you're going to be paying about the same thing. I did price them both before buying, and I can't remember which was higher, but I do remember that there was really not much difference in it, so in the end, I decided to support a vendor who supplies a lot of parts specific to the Avanti -- if we want to keep the vendors who sell us the parts we need in business, it's probably wise to send business to them rather than elsewhere.
  2. For the '63 I restored, I bought a used Studebaker Avanti radio on ebay for $25. The seller didn't know if it worked or not, but I didn't need it to. There are a number of people you can send a classic car radio to, and they will restore it with modern electronics, make it stereo (which the originals weren't), Bluetooth compatible, install a port that you can plug an iPod into that will tuck up under the dash, and if you want, connect it to a CD changer that mounts in the trunk. I sent mine off to one of them. I didn't bother with the CD changer, which is an option I'd undoubtedly have selected if I'd done the restoration ten years earlier, but nowadays, with other ways to store music, why waste the trunk space? If you go this route, you get an original-looking radio, with modern stereo sound. You change from AM to FM by turning the radio off and immediately turning it back on. I'd have loved to have an original Avanti AM/FM radio, but they're rare as not much was played on FM back then, and it was an option most people didn't select. The only one I've ever seen for sale was offered at $1200. I wasn't willing to pay all that just to have the FM markings on the dial. I replaced the central speaker with one of those plastic tray inserts that Avanti Motors offered on later, stereo-equipped Avanti IIs, and that Dan Booth sells; and I put a pair of speakers in the rear shelf, and a couple of smaller speakers in the kickpanels (for which I had to fabricate a box). Unfortunately, the nature of the car limits the size of front speakers you can use.
  3. I am in the process of redoing my Avanti's interior -- almost all of it myself -- and I got a new dash pad from Dan Booth (the repros he's making on the old tooling; I'm very happy with it and it looks fantastic), and I got the interior kit from Rene Harger. I'm about 2/3rds done now, but one thing neither Messrs. Booth nor Harger have is a headliner. I don't really want to use the solid fiberglass pieces that Studebaker International sells. Does anyone know of a decent facsimile of the checkerboard pattern headliner material they put on these cars from the factory? The closest I can find is a diamond pattern, which I don't really like the looks of. BTW: I am never restoring another old car again as long as I live!
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