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short/quick steering arms


pantera928
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Did any of the 1980s Newman and Altman Avantis come with short steering arms?

I have heard the Blake put them on his cars. True? Was that using the same steering box as the 1980s N&A cars?

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No...the Newman & Altman cars started with the fork-lift steering box sometime after 1977 and the original steering arms stayed in use.  As far as I know Blake kept using the fork-lift steering box but changed to the short steering arms to restore the steering to original specs.  

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8 hours ago, Gunslinger said:

No...the Newman & Altman cars started with the fork-lift steering box sometime after 1977 and the original steering arms stayed in use.  As far as I know Blake kept using the fork-lift steering box but changed to the short steering arms to restore the steering to original specs.  

That is kind of what I thought. I saw a 1984 car that looks like it still has the longer arms on it. Did Blake make this change immediately or later on?

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I don't know at what serial number the quick steering arms began being used, but I doubt if it was immediate.  The first thing Steve Blake changed...according to the ad...was the tires...Blake made Goodyear tires standard.  It must have taken a bit of time to work out the engineering and manufacture of the quick-steering arms before installing them.  I'd also say add time for testing but Blake was a man in a hurry and may not have done any testing...the new body and paint process debacle is evidence of that.  

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Blake did try to make too many changes too fast. Some of them were good. THe Deltron paint thing surprised me as I never had a problem spraying it on fiberglass.

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The Delton paint debacle was more due to the new process body composition than the paint.  The new body required much more curing time than the fiberglass used previously.  When the Delton paint was put over it the body chemicals used kept coming to the surface and caused the paint to bubble and come off in sheets.  If Blake had done some testing with one or a limited number of cars the whole debacle could have been avoided or at least minimized.  Most likely...no one ever thought there might be a problem as Delton had a good reputation otherwise.  

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1 hour ago, Gunslinger said:

The Delton paint debacle was more due to the new process body composition than the paint.  The new body required much more curing time than the fiberglass used previously.  When the Delton paint was put over it the body chemicals used kept coming to the surface and caused the paint to bubble and come off in sheets.  If Blake had done some testing with one or a limited number of cars the whole debacle could have been avoided or at least minimized.  Most likely...no one ever thought there might be a problem as Delton had a good reputation otherwise.  

I figured it was something to do with curing. THat makes sense. Thanks

So what year did he change the body process/composition?

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There were no 1986 Avantis...too busy with handing the paint/body mess plus financial troubles from it...so probably 1985 era cars or possibly late '84 cars as well.  Someone else may have a better handle on exactly what time period.

If you look at Avanti history...it's rife with production issues.  Sherwood Egbert was a man in a hurry...he was known as "Mister Go-Go-Go".  He wanted the Avanti put into production quickly and lack of testing made for production problems...warranty claims...you name it.  The car's (and Studebaker's) name suffered for it.  Steve Blake was a man in a hurry...he made many of the same mistakes and the car and company suffered for it.  Mike Kelly and JJ Caffaro...much the same.  Only under Nate Altman did the Avanti really reach its intended goals...and then that statement can be qualified as Avanti Motors had certain problems and limitations.  After Nate's death the company pretty much lost its soul and driving force.

It makes one wonder with its convoluted history and mix of executives leading the company how the Avanti soldiered on and succeeded as well as it did for so long.  There's just something about that fabulous design that Raymond Loewy and his team molded strikes an emotional tone in otherwise conservative businessmen that makes them want to risk it all on building the Avanti.  

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The paint problem was the use of modern paint over the sealer coat. There was a time limitation not to be exceeded prior to application of finish paint. I think anything that was sealed without being finish coated within 48 hours had to be scuffed or lightly sanded before application of the finish color. My wife bought a new 85 Mustang and after driving it for two or three days we brought it to the car wash. The paint literally blew off the car in sheets. The problem was universal with the product used. A simple mistake caused the company, Avanti Motors, to go belly up.

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I have heard yet another story regarding the paint peeling problem and that was the paint manufacturer sent a rep to see what Avanti Motors was doing that could be causing the failures. It was found that during wet sanding of the primer the workers were dipping the paper into buckets of water that had dish washing soap added in an effort to avoid clogging of the paper which is commonly done on the final finish coat but not on the primer. Doing this was leaving a minute amount of soap on the surface which affected the adherence of the finish coats. The story continued that they stopped adding the soap and no more paint problems.

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5 hours ago, Randy Atkin said:

the workers were dipping the paper into buckets of water that had dish washing soap added in an effort to avoid clogging of the paper

Geez, what a dumb thing to do (in either case).  I can't imagine a soap or detergent that could be guaranteed not to leave a residue.

Twenty years ago there was one of the Avantis so affected that parked in the parking garage I parked in.  I would occasionally look at it.  Later it turned up with a re-paint.  Being black every imperfection showed.  I would bet money that it had been stripped (and had to be), but the owner didn't pay enough for the job.  It is quite an effort to strip an Avanti and prepare it for paint (I have done it).

--Dwight

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It would seem that the paint had to have peeled off either the primer or the primer-sealer (not off the bare fiberglass).  The sealer is applied on top of the sandable primer after it is sanded, then topcoated with the color coat.  It would be hard to tell the difference when examining the car whether it peeled at the interface of the primer-sealer or the interface of the sealer-color paint.

--Dwight

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Seems as if uncured fiberglass was the problem that it would have peeled all the way, and if the primer/sealer stuck to the fiberglass, the paint would have stuck to that. Whatever the cause, what a tragedy for Blake.  Mike

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