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RoyG
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I'm new here so I have a ton of questions and will need people to be patient with me.. thanks in advance.  I got 63R-2158 home a few weeks ago, up on blocks, and started pulling off the unusable parts (almost everything!).  The body has some damage, and a few areas where previous repairs were very poorly done (and will be cut out and redone).  I have almost all the new body panels (Thanks to Dan Booth) and the body work will start in earnest very soon.  The hog troughs were "toast" but will be done along with the body work.  The engine came with a non Avanti '64 Studebaker 289 engine mated to an automatic transmission.  I don't know yet if the transmission came with the car or the engine, but I don't care as I want to convert it to either a 5 or 6 speed standard (my thinking being that I want a standard with a high ration rear end so the extra high gear will help with highway driving.  Looking for suggestions on which tranny to go with.

The car was "born" with a single track 3.31 rear and I'm on the hunt for a TT unit now with 4.11 gears.  Being in New England shipping costs are a concern so my focus right now is closer to home.  Looking for suggestions on gear rations and potential suppliers.

I've ordered the Turner front brake kit and dual master cylinder, but am leaning toward keeping the drum brakes in the rear (rebuilt of course, with all new lines).

I have to either rebuild the stock 289 engine or find an Avanti engine (to rebuild)... and my goal is to end up with an R-3 clone (or as close as I can).  As far as suggestions (engine wise) they are endless... block to use, what pistons/rods, which cam grind, what heads, machine work, intake manifold and carburation, and of course blower.

Wheel and tire suggestions, I'm leaning toward wider wheels and tires all around, with even wider in the rear than the front (with perhaps a stock wheel/tire combo as an emergency spare).

To answer a few obvious questions: I know this will not be a cheap car to build! I want something I can drive to Studebaker and Avanti events (long distance dependability important) as well as local show and shine events.  I fell in love with the Avanti in '62 when my dad (a Studebaker dealer)  took me to the airport in New York for the Avanti "unveiling".  I was 15 years old so couldn't drive the two Avantis we sold later that year from the dealership on the road, but always wanted one..... I should have gotten it done 30-40 years ago, but this is the best I can do now.

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It sounds like a major undertaking.  I wish you luck on getting it finished.  I calculate you to now be about 74.  I would have suggested that you buy a better Avanti to start with.  I know that you plan changes to it, but if the body and frame, including torque boxes, were good, you would be far ahead.

Where was the location of your father's dealership?

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Having done my 74 Avanti from about the shape of your current 63, I can appreciate the amount of work necessary. But I'm currently 78 and won't discourage you in your quest. Mine took about 6 solid years to complete from hog troughs and frame repair to complete body, interior, suspension and engine rebuild. I converted from a 4 speed to 6 speed but with an SBC so no big deal. 

You'll want to add an avanti/lark clutch setup and let me recommend you switch to a hydraulic setup for the clutch. A go-to for transmission adapters is Fairborn Studebaker in Ohio. http://fairbornstudebaker.com/WP/

They show an adapter from 289 to GM automatics but I know there are a couple 5-speed's wandering around with their kits. Give them a call and discuss your needs from engine to trans conversions and, I'll bet they'll fix you up. Good folks.

Also think about converting to flanged axles in the rearend and also upgrading from the OEM to a high spline count. Again, Fairborn can help.

I did everything on my 74 from metal work to painting so that adds up in time. Farming out some of the work can shorten the time but add costs and the satisfaction of doing it yourself.

Good luck and keep us in the loop. If you have questions about certain modifications, I have a lot of pictures and posts I've done over the years.

Also acquaint yourself with Bob Johnstone's website for a ton of valuable information on repairs and modifications. Forum member Brad Bez name - brad - is in the restoration business and a quality reference here for questions.

Bob's website - for technical help go to the Tech Page logo on the left side of the page. https://www.studebaker-info.org/

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2 hours ago, studegary said:

It sounds like a major undertaking.  I wish you luck on getting it finished.  I calculate you to now be about 74.  I would have suggested that you buy a better Avanti to start with.  I know that you plan changes to it, but if the body and frame, including torque boxes, were good, you would be far ahead.

Where was the location of your father's dealership?

For example, I see a 1964 Avanti (called 1963) currently on eBay that has a good frame, torque boxes, and body with the exception of one spot.  The engine is out and needs to be rebuilt, but it is the original R2 from the car. 

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Thanks for the comments, much appreciated.  My father's dealership was in Medway Mass (Goodwin Auto Sales).  Good guess on my age (74) but I still have a lot of energy and looking forward to doing this car with my step sons help (he wants to learn).  I screwed up back in '85 and bought a Mercedes (230 SL) and joined the local Mercedes Club... didn't realize there was a Studebaker club until a couple years ago.  Anyway, I bought a real good car that didn't need much work so I could start enjoying it right away.  Drove it the first summer and then when winter came I put it in the garage to do "a few little improvements".... Twenty years and $85,000.00 later it is so perfect I don't enjoy driving it!  It has sat unused for the last 4-5 years and is going up on "Bring a Trailer" next week to make room for the Avanti.

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Not wanting to dissuade you from your project, but before you start anything undoable...you really need to think through what your plan is...what you want out of it and the best way to proceed.  These kind of projects can get out of hand financially very quickly and almost exponentially.  

Turner brakes...excellent move.  Go ahead and keep the rear drums...that will simplify the project and save beaucoup dollars for little gain in braking efficiency if any at all.  

With the engine work you're proposing...I'd give serious consideration the the LS engine swap...probably much more cost effective.  Regardless...the idea of a Tremec transmission swap is a good one.  

Wheels...lots of options.  What appeals to you might no appeal to someone else.  You have to go with what you like.  A 6" wide front rim with standard offset is probably optimum considering the limited clearance.  The rear has much more room.  For a spare tire...find a donut spare from a Jeep or Chrysler product...it will fit in the spare tire well with room to spare and allows space for added items.  Anything but a stock Studebaker rim and tire will not allow the spare tires cover to close flush.  

Best of luck with your project.

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On 4/19/2021 at 10:42 AM, 64studeavanti said:

Since you are not staying original, it would be more cost effective to replace the drive train with SBC or LS, Tremac trans and Ford 9" R/A. 

I was born and raised a Studebaker guy, and am doing this car to get back to my roots, so I will stay with the Stude engine, but I want a higher ratio TT rear end for extra "zip" off the line, but a fifth (or sixth) gear for better fuel economy on trips.  I don't know the "pros and Cons" of a ford 9" R/A over the Stude unit, so more research will be needed in that area.

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On 4/19/2021 at 5:24 PM, Gunslinger said:

Not wanting to dissuade you from your project, but before you start anything undoable...you really need to think through what your plan is...what you want out of it and the best way to proceed.  These kind of projects can get out of hand financially very quickly and almost exponentially.  

Turner brakes...excellent move.  Go ahead and keep the rear drums...that will simplify the project and save beaucoup dollars for little gain in braking efficiency if any at all.  

With the engine work you're proposing...I'd give serious consideration the the LS engine swap...probably much more cost effective.  Regardless...the idea of a Tremec transmission swap is a good one.  

Wheels...lots of options.  What appeals to you might no appeal to someone else.  You have to go with what you like.  A 6" wide front rim with standard offset is probably optimum considering the limited clearance.  The rear has much more room.  For a spare tire...find a donut spare from a Jeep or Chrysler product...it will fit in the spare tire well with room to spare and allows space for added items.  Anything but a stock Studebaker rim and tire will not allow the spare tires cover to close flush.  

Best of luck with your project.

Thanks for confirming some of my decisions are going in the right direction.  I'm committed to keeping a Studebaker engine, and I want a Paxton blower, perhaps I could compromise on the R-3 idea and stick with a bored R-2 with R-3 headers.  Exploring engine options now.

I like the "donut" spare idea.  I'm thinking some sort of five spoke racing wheel with 6" rims in front and 7-8" in the rear.  

I'm not worried about resale value as I'll keep this until I can't enjoy it any longer and then my son-in-law will get it.  Looking forward to taking part in AOAI and SDC club events once I'm done having fun with the build.

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You can start to attend SDC and AOAI meets/activities now.  You may get some ideas, parts, encouragement.  The SDC Northeast Zone Meet is in Rutland Vermont in August. 

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15 hours ago, RoyG said:

I was born and raised a Studebaker guy, and am doing this car to get back to my roots, so I will stay with the Stude engine, but I want a higher ratio TT rear end for extra "zip" off the line, but a fifth (or sixth) gear for better fuel economy on trips.  I don't know the "pros and Cons" of a ford 9" R/A over the Stude unit, so more research will be needed in that area.

Ford 9" is the standard for performance rear ends and the aftermarket ones can be had in about any configuration at reasonable (not cheap) costs. The 63 should have a Dana 44 rear end but it came standard with non-flanged axles and a low spline count. Hard to do maintenance on the brakes and not as strong as later units.

The 44's can be upgraded to later technology but for a few dollars more you could get a 9". Both choices should be adequate for your needs. Moving the Avanti brackets to a 9" axle is straight forward.

Donut spare from my 74. https://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/forum/your-studebaker-forum/tech-talk/114056-avanti-temporary-spare

In the above post you can see the 17X8" Mustang Bullit wheels on it. They size match all around. I have staggered sizes on my 83 Avanti but much prefer the same size on all four from an balanced looks standpoint.

My write up and further thoughts on the Mustang wheels. https://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/forum/your-studebaker-forum/tech-talk/110102-mustang-wheels-become-avanti-wheels

Edited by Avanti83
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21 hours ago, Avanti83 said:

Ford 9" is the standard for performance rear ends and the aftermarket ones can be had in about any configuration at reasonable (not cheap) costs. The 63 should have a Dana 44 rear end but it came standard with non-flanged axles and a low spline count. Hard to do maintenance on the brakes and not as strong as later units.

The 44's can be upgraded to later technology but for a few dollars more you could get a 9". Both choices should be adequate for your needs. Moving the Avanti brackets to a 9" axle is straight forward.

Donut spare from my 74. https://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/forum/your-studebaker-forum/tech-talk/114056-avanti-temporary-spare

In the above post you can see the 17X8" Mustang Bullit wheels on it. They size match all around. I have staggered sizes on my 83 Avanti but much prefer the same size on all four from an balanced looks standpoint.

My write up and further thoughts on the Mustang wheels. https://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/forum/your-studebaker-forum/tech-talk/110102-mustang-wheels-become-avanti-wheels

I like the look of your wheels, thanks for the information.  I hadn't even considered going with wheels larger than 15" and/or 7" wide on the front.. but I've just started researching.  Thanks for all the information and ideas.

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Roy,

Welcome to the SDC Forum. I'm glad to hear your plans to save your 1963 Avanti. I realize most here replace the Bendix front disk brakes that have been federally certified on Avantis through the 1980 models. I find no reason to spend the money for a less quality disk brake system just to get around doing a proper brake adjustment. When others cringe at the cost of restoring these old Studebakers, I believe most pay someone to do the work. I haven't found the cost to be that bad because I do 99% of my own work on my 3 Avantis, my GT Hawk R1 or any of my other 8 collector cars. It sounds like you and your sons will build great memories as you bring this beauty back to life. It came with a Studebaker power plant and like you, I find it a tribute to Studebaker to keep it that way, so good job. As you progress with your restoration check back here frequently with updates, questions and pictures. It will inspire a new generation and infuse the Studebaker club with new members to carry on the tradition. Have fun and good luck!

Robert

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On 4/22/2021 at 12:57 PM, 1inxs said:

Roy,

Welcome to the SDC Forum. I'm glad to hear your plans to save your 1963 Avanti. I realize most here replace the Bendix front disk brakes that have been federally certified on Avantis through the 1980 models. I find no reason to spend the money for a less quality disk brake system just to get around doing a proper brake adjustment. When others cringe at the cost of restoring these old Studebakers, I believe most pay someone to do the work. I haven't found the cost to be that bad because I do 99% of my own work on my 3 Avantis, my GT Hawk R1 or any of my other 8 collector cars. It sounds like you and your sons will build great memories as you bring this beauty back to life. It came with a Studebaker power plant and like you, I find it a tribute to Studebaker to keep it that way, so good job. As you progress with your restoration check back here frequently with updates, questions and pictures. It will inspire a new generation and infuse the Studebaker club with new members to carry on the tradition. Have fun and good luck!

Robert

Hi Robert, Thanks for the message.  I worked on these cars back in the 60's when they were new, mostly for customers of my father's dealership.  Of course I exclusively owned and drove Studebakers as well, and no one else ever worked on them.  I regret getting out of touch with the brand and never connecting with the Studebaker owners community before now.

I wanted to find an Avanti that needed to be saved, because I wanted to feel good about bringing it back myself.  I may have started with a "rougher" project than I should have, but I wanted to do everything over anyway, so what the heck, here I am.  There are some great vendors that support us, and it looks like I'll be doing a lot of business with several of them!

Thanks to a lot of advise I've already gotten I'm starting to figure out a general direction on my drive train.  My car came with a regular issue '64 289 engine sourced by a previous owner from I know not where.  It also has an automatic transmission, but I don't know if that came with the car or the engine.  I also don't know what shape they are in.  I'll pull the motor and start tearing it down in a couple weeks to see what I can save.  In the mean time I'm looking for R-2 engine options, because it might be easier/cheaper to start with a real Avanti engine then to rebuild what I have to R-2+ specs.  I've gotten some rough ideas on prices for R-3 heads and it would appear that unless I was building a pure "race car" it wouldn't justify the expense.... so a good modification of standard heads looks like the way to go.  What ever block I start with will get bored out to 299 or 304.5 ci.....and most likely receive an R-2 cam.  Of course I'll add the R-3 exhaust manifolds.  I got a box full of blower parts, a carter four barrel, and intake manifold with the car.... so a previous owner was collecting parts I may be able to use.... more research will be needed.

This will be a process for sure.

Thanks for your interest.

Roy

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All full flow blocks are the same. You can have a stock cam  ground to R1/R2 specs. You could even do the Isky ST5 or R2+ grind. Hopefully, you do have a full flow block. Having the Avanti oil pan and breather tube is a plus as these are getting hard to come by. The R2 AFB intake is the same for all engines except for R1. Crank, rods etc are the same for all 289 engines. You should be able to go .060 over on the cylinders giving 299 C.I. to go larger, you should get the block sonic tested.  

The heads are the same as low compression trucks of the same vintage. The exhaust valves and the valve springs are different.

 

I may have forgotten other differences,  I am sure others will chime in. 

 

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The engine in the car (according to the serial number) is a '64 289 and it has the oil filter mounted below the exhaust manifold on the right side, so I'm pretty sure it is a free flow block...  Not sure what the condition is, but given I want to bore it out at least .60 and replace the pistons and have the cam reground I should have a good place to start.  What cam grind to use (and who to have do it) is another question.  I've been told that the standard R-1/2 grind is the best overall way to go for a street car, but still looking for thoughts/opinions.

HEADS: I think I've given up on R-3 heads due to the expense, so now do I try to use the stock heads that came with the engine (and have them reworked) or do I try to locate a set of HD truck heads?  What are the "pros and cons"....

Carb & Intake: The engine came with a standard two barrel, but the car came with five boxes of parts that a previous owner was accumulating.  In one of those boxes is a Carter AFB (tag 40346 L5) that looks pretty sad and a separate four barrel intake manifold (1557144).  In another box are several blower parts (blower, pullies, intake hose and mount to carb, and air filter housing), so I'm not sure if the carb/manifold go together or if they came with the blower, or are from the original R-1 engine....

Water pump housing: I've been told that the R-2 engine had a special water pump and housing.  If so that means the housing on my engine might need to be replaced?? In one of the "boxes" I found a spare housing (1550913), that might have come from the engine that had the blower????

If any of this "stuff" is correct for an R-2 engine I'll clean it up and look for someone to rebuild.  Other than that I'll be looking for more parts.

Roy

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You need to check the casting numbers of the heads. If they end in 570, you would nave too much compression  for S/C. IIRC, the R2 heads end in 582. Water pump manifold for Avanti R1 is the same as for R2. The standard Stude water manifold if quite different.

 

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1 hour ago, RoyG said:

The engine in the car (according to the serial number) is a '64 289 and it has the oil filter mounted below the exhaust manifold on the right side, so I'm pretty sure it is a free flow block...  Not sure what the condition is, but given I want to bore it out at least .60 and replace the pistons and have the cam reground I should have a good place to start.  What cam grind to use (and who to have do it) is another question.  I've been told that the standard R-1/2 grind is the best overall way to go for a street car, but still looking for thoughts/opinions.

HEADS: I think I've given up on R-3 heads due to the expense, so now do I try to use the stock heads that came with the engine (and have them reworked) or do I try to locate a set of HD truck heads?  What are the "pros and cons"....

Carb & Intake: The engine came with a standard two barrel, but the car came with five boxes of parts that a previous owner was accumulating.  In one of those boxes is a Carter AFB (tag 40346 L5) that looks pretty sad and a separate four barrel intake manifold (1557144).  In another box are several blower parts (blower, pullies, intake hose and mount to carb, and air filter housing), so I'm not sure if the carb/manifold go together or if they came with the blower, or are from the original R-1 engine....

Water pump housing: I've been told that the R-2 engine had a special water pump and housing.  If so that means the housing on my engine might need to be replaced?? In one of the "boxes" I found a spare housing (1550913), that might have come from the engine that had the blower????

If any of this "stuff" is correct for an R-2 engine I'll clean it up and look for someone to rebuild.  Other than that I'll be looking for more parts.

Roy

Casting number 1557144 is the correct intake manifold for an R2 (or regular 259 or 289).  Note that the casting number is cast into the manifold (top rear) and is not the part number.  That's what my 64 Avanti R2 has.  The water manifold is shaped like a "dog leg" -- see pix below.  In the pix the light is reflecting off the water manifold showing its "dog leg" shape.  The Avanti water pump must be the heavy duty one that is available from several Studebaker parts vendors.  If I can provide more pix or info let me know.

-Dwight.

Avanti R5255 20210425 (1).JPG

Avanti R5255 20210425 (2).JPG

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Thanks Dwight,

So it looks like I have the correct intake manifold! Which is a good thing.  Now if the AFB is the correct one I might be good to go in that department.  Is there any advantage to using an R-3 intake and air box?  And, if so, how hard are they to find?

I read somewhere that you can use a fuel injection system inside the R-3 air box for better performance and it is well hidden.  Just looking to research my options while I have a little time (completing the body and frame work).

 

I couldn't see what you were talking about with a "dog leg" on the water pump housing... a better picture would be great, but there sure isn't much room on your engine to take pictures!

 

Thanks

Roy

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The R3 intake manifold has much larger ports, so won't match up to your R2 heads.  You would have to have R3/R4 heads to use the R3 intake manifold.  Those are scarce as hens teeth and very expensive.  Many people have fitted an aluminum R3 carburetor box to an R2.  It looks impressive, but there's no horsepower gain from it.

In the pix above the metal line going from the supercharger to the fuel pump exactly follows part of the "dog leg" in the water manifold.  That is the dog leg I mentioned.  The water manifold for a non-Avanti engine will have just a gentle curve from one side to the other (one head to the other).  The Avanti's water manifold has quite a "kink" (or dog leg) in it.  It was designed that way to mount the water pump further forward than with a non-Avanti water manifold, and for clearance for other engine components.  One vendor who has Avanti water manifolds for sale is Jon Myer in OH.

There has been some discussion of putting FI inside an R3 air box on the SDC Forum.

Your carb # doesn't ring any bells.  You WILL need to get a copy of both the Avanti shop manual and parts catalog.  Reprints of these are available from vendors.  If your carb is configured like the originals then it may be possible to use it, but it would have to be rebuilt by someone like Dave Thibeault.  It needs to be sealed for use on an R2. 

-Dwight

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Thanks for the pictures and information Dwight.  I defiantly don't have the correct water pump housing!  So that gets added to the list.  I purchased the parts book and repair manual from the Museum so I'll see what I can find on the AFB.  I'll get ahold of Jon, I need to talk to him about having my heads done and a bunch of other things anyway.

Thanks again.

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The intake casting number of 15557144 does not necessarily indicate the correct intake manifold. R1 intakes have the same casting number. The difference is the R1 does not have the transfer slots. The first picture is R1 manifold. R2 and other Studes have slots similar to the ones in picture 2 of an older WCFB manifold. 

20210427_094320.jpg

20210427_094338.jpg

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So the only difference in the R-1 and R-2 intake is those slots?  Can they be cut in?  What's the benefit?  Did anyone ever make an aluminum four barrel manifold that would improve the performance of these engines and could be used with standard heads?

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