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Billy Shears

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  • My Avanti
    63 R2463

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  1. 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.
  2. For the armrests, the only screws are the three screws in the front, but there are also two spring clips on the underside of the armrest that go into two holes on the fiberglass panel the top of the armrest (the part you rest you arm on) sits on. Once you have removed the screws, you should be able to pull the armrest off by lifting it straight up. For the sail panels, what holds them on is glue. I used DAP Weldwood. Be warned though, the vinyl ends wrap around the window openings for the rear window and the quarter windows. To do a proper job of reupholstering, you are going to have to take those windows out. Once you've glued the new sail panels in, the windows will get reinstalled, and the sealing compound you waterproof the windows with will go over the vinyl where it wraps around, underneath where the rubber weather seals will be. I just finished redoing my interior. Sorry I didn't take any photos though.
  3. Studebaker did have a color called "regal red" in 1963, which was a fire engine red, and I've seen in on Larks. It was never offered on the Avanti though. If one wasn't too much of a purist, one could go with that, and at least it would be a Studebaker color, though not accurate for the Avanti. The Avanti red was a metallic "tomato red" with a hint of orange in it (I think that may come from the metallic flakes in the paint being gold instead of silver colored; I read somewhere that was the case). It's a good looking color, but I had my car repainted, and I wanted to use a non-metallic color, as you can't make an invisible touch up to metallic paint. I almost went with the regal red, as I really think red looks good on an Avanti, but in the end, I wanted to stay more original, and went with one of the only two non-metallic colors Studebaker offered for this car: Avanti white. I only did that after much hesitation, as I really like red on Avantis, and I have never been a huge fan of white as a car color. I have to say, having gone the white, I am very glad I did. Avanti white is not a bright white, it's an eggshell white, almost exactly the same as Ford's Wimbledon white, and I think it looks great on an Avanti.
  4. Another, perhaps simpler solution is probably the one I used -- buy the sold shroud that is available, then get yourself a fiberglass repair kit and do the following: after marking a line on your shroud where you will cut it in half on either side, apply a good coating of car wax to the inside of the shroud where that line is, extending above and below. Next, use your fiberglass repair kit to create a pair of tabs that will extend above and below the line where you will make your cut. Build up a couple of layers until the tabs are thick enough, and let them dry; after they are dry, you can pop them right off thanks to the wax you put on the inside of the shroud. Once they are off, sand the edges neat, and clean the wax coating off the inside of the shroud. Cut the shroud in half where you marked your lines, then go back and use the resin in your fiberglass repair kit to permanently bond the tabs to the lower half. After that's dry, clamp the two halves back together, and drill a couple of holes on each side of the upper half of the shroud (and the tabs on the inside where they overlap). Now you have a two-piece shroud that does not have that open area like the horseshoe shrouds do, and which you can take off and reinstall easily without having to remove your fan.
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