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Cylinder head, leaf springs, tires & shocks for R2


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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.



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As for the engine and cylinder heads, contact Jon Myers at Myers Studebaker. I know of no one better suited to answer those questions...Myers Studebaker.

Rear leaf springs...try Eaton Springs Eaton Springs for steel springs or Flex-a-Form Flex-a-Form for composite leaf springs. Both make excellent products. I have the composite springs on my Avanti.

For tires, try Tire Rack Tire Rack. They have about as much information regarding tires as anyone. By the way, the speed ratings are for sustained speeds at what they're rated for...it doesn't necessarily mean they're not safe if they have a lower speed rating, just that they're shouldn't be driven at higher speeds on a sustained basis. I do suspect you will have trouble finding tires wth a higher speed ratings for an Avanti without going to bigger diameter wheels and tires.

I have Edelbrock IAS shocks on my Avanti. I believe they're from an '82-2002 Firebird/Camaro application. You have to use the cross pin from the existing shocks on your car and install them in the Edelbrocks. I bought them from one of the vendors in the AOAI...Avanti Parts and Restoration Avanti Parts. They were already converted to fit right in.

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The best speed rating I have found in a white stripe is going to be a T rating which is 116 mph. There are more choices in the S ratings and they are 113 mph. My Bentley T2 came new with H speed rated tires and I can't find them in a white stripe. I have installed the Kumho Solus KR21 white stripe radial on the Bentley and my former Rolls-Royce Camargue. I will install the same Kumhos on both of my Avantis. They have an excellent treadwear rating, smooth, quiet and feel great. The price is reasonable too.

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  • 4 weeks later...

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 !


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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) ?


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