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People who used to work at Youngstown Avanti plant


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I live in the area around Youngstown and I have met two guys now who used to work at the Avanti plant here in Youngstown.

One guy now has his own body shop behind his house. He says he only worked there a few months and decided to leave when he felt the way they were building these cars was not up to very good standards. He specifically tells me about loading up the rear quarter panels with huge amounts of bondo to make the body lines look good. He says he was working on the part of the live where these rear quarter pieces were bonded to the main tub of the car. He says they way they taught him to do this job caused the fiberglass panels to buckle and deform and that this caused bad fit around the rear of the doors. This was then "fixed" further down the line with huge amounts of bondo. He also says he tried to make slight alterations to improve the fit but the foreman on that part of the line told him to just keep doing it the original way.


The one 1988 convertible car I am working on is wrecked in the passenger's rear quarter ahead of the rear wheel and I can definitely see the REALLY thick filler that is present in that panel. This guy came over to my shop today to see if we could make any progress on getting the hood open on the 1988 convertible. While he was here he looked at the wrecked rear quarter and the thick layers of filler and said that was normal for these cars.


BTW, this excessive filler in this area of the rear quarter is almost a half inch thick.


The other guy lives in a small town on the river on a different side of Youngstown. I don't know what he did at the plant during the production but he now owns an Avanti coupe of his own. I met him while I was riding my bicycle through that town and saw the Avanti in his garage. So I stopped to talk to him for a little while.

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  • 3 months later...

I was the shop foreman at a boat manufacturer years ago. You can only get so many pulls from a mold before it needs repairs. I wonder if the molds used for the Avanti II were the same original molds from Studebaker. It would be virtually impossible to get 4000 more pulls from the original molds. If that is the case, I can see why body filler would be necessary as a standard practice to build Avanti IIs. Even my 1981 Avanti II took a lot of blocking to get the body straight. I still love the old Avantis.

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