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questions about my "new" '79


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After owning a dozen or so Studebakers I've finally aquired my Avanti after returning from a deployment to Afghanistan. My new machine is a 1979 Avanti II that was originally delivered to Enterprise Leasing Corporation in St. Louis, MO. According to the build sheet this one came from the factory with every available option.

Hog troughs are shot and will be replaced soon with some from Classic Enterprises and a new paint job is planned shortly thereafter to fix the Texas fried version it has now (once I figure out how to get the blasted moonroof working again - any articles/advice on this???).

I've started going through the thing to do my rolling restoration and am in need of some Avanti II parts help. First, does anyone happen to know what marque the emergency brake handle came from in 1979? Mine is broken and needs replaced. It sort of looks like it is from a corvette of that era.

Also, are the seatbelts GM in origin? The female sides seems to be about six inches too long and I'd like to replace them so that the geometry of the seatbelts is where it should be.

Is anyone making a replacement wood veneer kit yet for the center console area? The wood on this car's was removed and I'd like to replace it.

Does anyone have a scanned copy of an owner's manual?

That's it for this round. I'm sure more questions will come. Thanks in advance for the help.

Jim K.

San Antonio, TX

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Welcome to the world of Avanti's! You'll find this a wonderful, frustrating and fun car to own and drive. Feel free to ask anything you like. A lot of experience is here.

For moonroof information, go to <http://www.studebaker-info.org/rjtechx3.html> and page down to the "Power sunroof/moonroof" section for help.

The parking brake does look a lot like a Corvette brake handle because it is! It's the same brake handle used in '68-'82 Corvettes. You can either find a used one from one of many Corvette vendors, or buy a new reproduction unit from companies like Corvette Central, Ecklers, Corvette America, among others. I don't believe the brake cables are the same, though. You may have to have them made up.

I have no idea where Avanti Motors sourced their seatbelts from, but for mine, I bought a new set from the SeatBeltPros.com. They have many styles and colors available. There are also other vendors as well if you do a web search.

I don't think anyone is reproducing the walnut veneer...there were several styles over the years and Avanti Motors used different styles depending on the customer's desires. The inlays in my '70 needed replacing and a local speed shop sent them to a custom dash veneer manufacturer and they made new inlays for me. They come in a variety of finishes...burl walnut, pecan, brushed aluminum, different color carbon fiber, etc. The only problem with going this route is that they're thicker than the original veneer and you'll have trouble opening the ashtray.

Once in a great while you might see a very good used or NOS original inlay offered on Ebay.

As far as the owner's manual, Studebaker International sells a reproduction of the 1971 manual (which has no model year shown), which was used for several years at least. If there was ever an actual 1979 manual, I don't know.

Best of luck!

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Is anyone making a replacement wood veneer kit yet for the center console area? The wood on this car's was removed and I'd like to replace it.

Jim K.

San Antonio, TX

Jim, thanks so much for your service!

I'm not sure anyone sells replacement console wood veneer, in fact I'm not even sure if the wood grain was

actual wood in 1979, or a vinyl decal.... but I can give you a couple of potential leads.

1. A company in Goleta, CA made some of the factory kits at one time... I don't think they still offer

off-the-shelf Avanti kits but they are still in the business and may be able to help you ($$$) or point you to

another supplier (they may even still have patterns)...


2. Dan Booth, owner of Nostalgic Motor Cars in Wixom, MI is an Avanti parts vendor who has been associated

with Avanti's since at least the early 70's... he started out repairing them and did some buying and selling

of used Avanti's on the side; later he became an authorized Avanti dealer, and when the Avanti factory changed ownership and moved from South Bend Indiana to Youngstown OH in the mid-80's, he bought out the factory parts stock for the Stude-framed (up to 1984) Avanti's and set up as a parts supplier. If anyone knows where to get a dash kit, he will! It's possible he has them, but I doubt that. His website (avantiparts.net) has been out of order for quite a while, under an extremely extended reconstruction, but you can generally reach him at 248-349-4884 between 10 and 4:30 est, mon-thurs; they do have an 800 number, but they ask that tech calls be made at your expense so as to not tie up their order lines. Or you can email them: info@avantiparts.net

3. There is a vendor advertising that he makes kits for '86-'91 Avanti's; perhaps he knows if anyone supplies

them for earlier Avanti's: Michael Couture 260-829-1283

Let us know how you make out in this quest,


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What seems to be the problem with the moonroof? Does the switch work and its motor run? Is it leaking, is ity coming loose from the top at the rear of the moonroof opening? There's a lot of info on the "skytop" brand moonroof (which is what should be in your Avanti II) on Bob Johnstone's website. I think that's what Gunslinger referred you to. That site has more Avanti info than you can believe.

There's a pretty good collectiion of very experienced owners (including Skytop's former owner) on the Yahoo Avanti discussion board (though I can't understand why they're there instead of here).

Don't waste your time trying to get an owners manual. My '83 came with one and it has nothing of any real value in it.

I have heard that Nostalgic Motors has "rough-cut veneers.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Wendell, *where* in Lowes or Home Depot? Large wood tape? Very thin wood overlay. I've had no success finding them (or any help finding them).

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