unimogjohn

Avanti R2, 1963, refresh

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It is Friday mornning, January 20th. We are home. Drove straight through last night as major snow events were predicted for Friday. So we arrived at about 10 PM last night. 1157 miles R/T. Mileage for the trip home was 9.7 mpg. So the mpg is about the same with the trailer loaded or unloaded.

We did stop at the Air Force Museum. What a place. You just have to see it! You could spend a couple of days there and not see everything. We spent about three hours before it really started snowing outside and we figured we better get going. You can see all the pictures that I took at the museum at https://picasaweb.google.com/unimogjohn/AirForceMuseum#

The snow was really heavy from Dayton to Columbus, OH and then we drove out of it. But it was following us and lots of plows and sand trucks were positioning themselves for the snow that was coming. So not wanted to be stuck on Friday and heavy snow predicted we looked at each other and decided just to head home rather than stopping for the night.

Unlocked the trailer this morning and peeked inside. Everything looks just fine. Glad to be home.

Don"t know if we will unload today as it is very cold and a winter mix is expect tonight. Maybe a couple of inches. We will just have to wait and see.

Here are some pics of airplanes at the museum. Sorry about the picture quality. It was really dark in there.

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Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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Glad you did your trip without major problem. If you are alone on the road, snow is usually not a problem if you have the right tires. But there are so many fools driving at 15 mph that I stay home when we get snow in our region.

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It is Saturday, Jan 21st. It snowed only an inch last night, but then we had freezing rain on top of it. So nothing is moving outside. Animals are even staying in the barns.

So it is a slow day for everyone. Have not heard from Greg. He is probably stuck in Ohio.

Decided to clean and polish one of the 1953 VA license plates that I will use for the Jaguar XK 120. Came out great. I don't know if you can tell in the comparison pic of the two together. I put some blue paint on the other plate, but it is not a match so will go back to the hobby store to see if I can get closer to the right shade of blue. At least I did one car thing today.

I have a good car cover for the Avanti when she returns home. And home will be the barn with a new wood floor to keep her off the damp earth. So I started to look for a car "bag" to put her in to protect her from top to bottom. Here is what I will probably get. Seems like a small investment (around $350) to protect her. Here is a link. Let me know what you think if you have an opinion or comment. Classic Car Cocoon rust prevention of classic cars and motorcycles

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It is Sunday morning, Jan 22nd. Brrrrrrr. Cold this morning. All seven cats are inside and curled around the stove.

Looks like Alice and I were right about coming straight home and not taking an extra day. Here is Greg's great report about his trip to Ohio.

"Well, I don't know how to tell the tale without naming names and dropping clues. It's a good story and since it involves someone else's acquisition, I shouldn't be the one to make the announcement, he should. And there are some other players involved .

But I'll try to describe Friday's epic. Long story.

PROLOGUE

I've made a lot of good friends. A life in the old car hobby and a career in it and then cross training into pioneer aviation results in exposure to some incredible people. Some of them are keepers.

In the course of my work I've made an acquaintance in a position that's not only scholarly, but of authority. He's been invaluable in assisting me in my research, providing me with some incredible favors. The other day he asked me for one.

Not known as an old car guy, he had one nonetheless. He'd mentioned that he had a Model A Ford, but that was all I knew. Not long ago he called and asked my advice. Should he sell what he's got and step up into what he really wants.

I made arrangements to view what he's got. A sedan that needed everything. Some new parts included. He'd had it for years, bought it right, and best of all, no sentimental attachment. He wanted to replace it with something up and running. Could I help?

I called on Trimacar to do his ebay magic. Sure he would, and within three phone calls after the Buy It Now, the car was gone. Our man was happy.

Next to find a replacement. He began scouring the net for classifieds, finding some that appealed to him. He'd forward the link and I'd look them over and relay my opinion. He really liked the one. A '29 roadster. It really did photograph well. Turn key and ready to enjoy. While considering the car, it was sold.

More links came, but I could tell he really liked that one best. Late last week let me know that the sale had fallen through, they'd hold it for him if he could see the car Friday. About five hundred miles from here, winter weather a real threat.

THE MISSION

So what, let's rock! He picked me up at 6:00 Am Friday morning. I didn't tell him I don't do Dawn Patrol very well, but I was ready. We headed West and North. Weather held as we crossed the Allegheny Mountains.

I've not spent any time with my new friend except in a professional way. This was a time to find something to talk about, tell stories and ask each other questions. there was plenty.

Arriving at the place by mid afternoon, we were greeted by the seller's son. Nice guy. Glad to show us around until the father could join us. Looked the car over, kicked the tires, shook the spindles, etc.

THE ROAD TEST

Then the main man arrived. A hard charger. When I mentioned that my evaluation of the car wouldn't be comfortable without some roadwork, things got a bit tense. It had been snowing, roads had been salted, a bit of a problem.

It was suggested that we road test the car on his driveway. Hardly the place to see if it wandered. Short, straight, and snow packed. Of course it dead ended on a rural highway. Didn't have much choice. It was decided that I'd drive it first.

Now I haven't driven a Model A in probably at least twenty years, but sliding in behind the wheel, it felt like slipping on an old tennis shoe. Dad got in beside me. The spark, throttle, choke, all fell to hand. Started nicely, I slipped it into reverse and gingerly slipped the clutch on the slippery slope. Turned it toward the driveway and urged it to move along. I was so pleased with my exchange of gears that I wished Bob Pierce had been there to see it. But NO! No!, No!, I was doing all wrong . Faster , faster! Here I was in someone else's car, on a slippery driveway headed for a dead end on a highway. At the end of the drive I was ordered to turn it around and relinquish the wheel. Dad took over and showed me how it was done. He jabbed that thing in first and floored the accelerator and let'er rip. Through the gears he went. Charging toward the end of the driveway, he got to within several car lengths of the street and he stomped the brake pedal. I knew those skinny tires on slippery snow would put us across the road and in the ditch.

The thing ground to a halt. Then, seeing that the roadway was pretty dry, he proceeded to show me what it'd do . Speedometer numbers steadily climbed until he found a turnaround. My turn again. This time at a more moderate pace. Did I mention it was about twenty degrees?

Returning to the garage, then it was time for the potential new owner to take over. I felt bad about letting him have it, I'm sure that if he had even ever driven a Model A, it was probably a lot longer than I had and he'd be in for a real driving lesson.

He took it up the driveway and out onto the road. Upon their return the undercarriage was hosed while they tended to the business of the transfer of ownership. I am pleased that our man had bought the car of his dreams. A rare thing.

THE RETURN

After a brief lunch and a few minutes sightseeing, we were headed home. Charged up, our new roadster owner got behind the wheel of his really modern really nice car. He'd been driving since five o'clock that morning and was ready for more mileage. It was decided that I would take over when we departed the Pa Turnpike at Breezewood. I could take it down the mountain, old familiar territory for me.

THE SKIING LESSON

That's when I slipped behind the wheel. I got a minimal checkout of what does what and we started out . That's also when the snowstorm started. My driving lesson was taking place white knuckled , forty miles per hour, thirty miles per hour, twenty miles per hour. All the way to Winchester. By now it was after midnight. I was dropped off at the Warrenton address and we congratulated each other. New car owner and trip survivors .

EPILOGUE

Two thirty in the morning and glad to be back, off came the coat, hat and shoes, but before I could turn off my phone...it rang.

Why was he calling me? On with the coat, hat and shoes. He was crossways in the driveway, stuck in the snow. Time to push.

Today he relayed that the remainer of his trip had been at thirty miles and hour for an hour and a half.

He's already begun his transformation . Car guy. Next he'll have the '29 as his screen saver.

Congratualtions, man! Old cars are fun!"

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Still Sunday. Could not stand it any longer so decided to go visit the Jag in the trailer. I cannot get inside as the doors hit the wheel well. I need Alice to do that. I did open the passenger side window so I could take off the emergency brake. Boy, the mechanic that drove it into the trailer really put it on hard. Took me several tries to get it to click off.

So I was able to release the hood and peek inside. I checked the oil and it was down a quart, and so was the anti-freeze in the radiator. Topped them both off. I was looking around and saw some oil seepage out of a hard oil line that goes from the head to the bottom of the crankcase. It has a couple of banjo fitting. Probably need a couple of gaskets. Will fix that at some point, not a critical issue. Everything else looks fine. It will be fun to clean up the engine bay. It is not all that dirty, but could use some TLC, and I do not mind doing detail work.

On the Avanti in the body shop I got a progress report. They have started the repairs to the fiberglass and the rear tube that supports the rear of the car and the spare tire well. I was going out to see it this week, but Alice reminded me that we are going to Seattle for a week and our flight takes off early Thursday. So it looks like it will be a couple of weeks before I can head out to the shop and take some pics.

I also finished cleaning up the section of the barn that will someday be the Avanti's home. Here are a couple of pics. The first pic is of the entire barn/run-in shed, and the second is the bay where the Avanti will reside. It will be 20 x 24 feet. I talked to my neighbor and he recommended that I skip wood construction and go with a strong concrete pad. He said why not put in a lift at some point as the barn as good height. I will have to take a look at that possibility. It would be nice to have a lift.

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It is Monday, Jan 23. Got us this morning to a very sick cat. "Lucky" is headed back to the vet again today.

Freezing rain again last night, everything has a good coating. But the plus side it is suppose to be over 50 degrees tomorrow.

And here is Greg's weekend report.

"After the trip on Friday, I feel like I coasted through the weekend. Did get a few things done.

Avanti black: When overhauling the Prestolite distributor, it was always a chore removing the keeper that retains the point cam plate. A barbed washer intended for a one way trip. Like a Chinese finger puzzle, the more you force it off, the tighter it grabs. I've learned the secret. A drill and drill bit is used to kill it. Once drilled through it can be withdrawn. Really makes short work of it.

The rest of the story is that one day while browsing the McMaster Carr catalog, found they supplied them a hundred at a time for about five bucks. I'd ordered some to do the maroon car. Of course I used one of them and misplaced the ninety-nine. Friday's mail brought a hundred more. Saturday I installed the point cam plate , flyweights and springs, everything but the new condenser that I'm lacking.

Avanti maroon: Friday's shipment also brought the ordered fuel gauge sending unit. Today I took a few minutes to remove the back seat and fiberglass panel to expose the tank. Removed the sending unit and installed the new (a SW unit). That's when I noticed a slight difference from the original . The wire connection pushed on a stud, the new one required the wire to have an eyelet for screw attachment.

I've spent my life cussing those who hacked up wiring harnesses , so I'm not going to change the original style of connection. I took the old sender from the other car and removed the brass terminal. What I then did was chuck it in the lathe, turned the base of it down to duplicate the 10-32 screw thread and I was back in business. Hooked everything up and tried the gauge. The needle went back to the tank and a half mark. Obviously it is the gauge that's screwy. I don't mind replacing the sending unit, though. Almost fifty years old and living in a hostile environment.....the old one needs a break.

I've decided to pull the gauge from the black one and use it. Might be able to use the free sender in the black one.

Other than that, we'll see what tomorrow brings."

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It is still Monday, cold, rainy and dreary outside. But my friend Wayne (his 64 Corvette is in the same body and paint shop) stopped by and took a couple of pics for me.

So here is the green Avanti. Work is progressing on the body panel repairs. When we get back from Seattle in a week or so I will go down and review the progress of the work and take some more pics.

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It is Tuesday, January 24th. Finally, above freezing this morning. Here is Greg's report from last night.

"We're back in the camera business! They discovered that it's internal calendar needed to be reset. Working now.

Also back in business is the fuel gauge. I cannibalized the gauge from 5054, the black Avanti.

I'd sent the Stoddard oil pressure gauge out for repair and it is on it's way back. I wonder if they service electric fuel gauges like the Avanti gas gauge? I'll give them a call.

Also for your enjoyment, picture of a mouse damaged fuel tank from the black Avanti.

Got in more time on the parts for Andrew's Kinner antique airplane project.

The Matheson engine camshaft still out. I had also made a request for a machining job. Early cars had eccentric bored piston rings. Supposedly it allowed an equal pressure against the cylinder wall throughout it's circumference. Nobody makes or supplies such a thing anymore. I was going to have some machined. Got the quote: almost a thousand dollars. I think I'll resort to Plan B."

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Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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I received this from David Coco, Trimacar on this forum. Here is what he said about mice sitting on top of the Avanti gas tank. Not a good thing. Of course the car was in storage for twenty or more years so the mice had time to work on it. Here is what David said.

"Mouse urine is extremely acidic, I don’t believe it’s the salt content. I’m not sure I’ve got it quite straight, but it seems that mouse urine is very high in ascorbic acid, which is not only highly acidic, but actually reacts with air forming water molecules (even the dried uring). So, while the acid is working, so is moisture…………..

Any chemists out there are welcome to correct me, but that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it! dc"

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Still Tuesday. I got to spend some quality time with the Jaguar XK 120. Used the tractor to pull her back on the trailer so I could get inside without bumping the door against the wheel well. Got in and started her up. Took a couple of tries with the starter and a full choke, but she roared to life. Boy does she sound great. I was tempted to take her out of the trailer, but that will have to wait until I get her registered for the road and the pastures dry up a bit. Here is a pic of the exhaust smoke rising from the car. It was cold, in the 30 degrees.

About noon I got a call from Sterling Hot Rods. They are finished with all the body repairs and need me to come down and agree on the paint color and to discuss the next steps. So off I went.

The car looks great with everything repaired. The next step is sanding of the entire car and then the car will be put in primer. The primer will be a medium gray, which will soften the look of the green metallic paint to the correct shade. She is going to look great. The final primer will be sanded and then the green applied. Chris figured that it would be a couple of weeks before the final paint is done. He said that I was probably looking at a months before I can take it home. I am very happy with the work being done at the shop.

Then I went to the main shop, which is a couple of miles away, and went in to settle up on the account. Tommy the trimmer came over and said that the seat cover kit from Studebaker International had come in, and they had done a preliminary look at the quality and finish. They said that it looked great and of very good finish. Tommy had the seats stripped of the original covers (which I asked him to save for me). He said that all the foam was still good except for the driver's bottom foam, which would be replaced. None of the fiberglass was cracked or broken on the seat backs. Now that was a bit of good news.

Tom, the owner, came over and we discussed refreshing the interior. They said that they would be happy to put in my new carpet, etc. I told him that I wanted to do that work and save some dollars. He then surprised me with his comments.

He said that it did not make sense for them to install the seats only for me to take them out. So he said that I should come to the shop, do my work over three or four days and they would complete the install of the seats. He said that they would sell me the soundproofing and felt at their cost. There would be no charge for using the shop. I thought that this was a great offer and will take them up on it. Really, it is great working with them.

While I was at the body shop I saw Wayne and his 1964 Corvette. Wayne was doing some of the sanding on his car to save a few dollars too. I have included a pic of his car.

Here are the pics that I took today. It was a very good day except for handing over my VISA card.

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While I was at the Sterling Hot Rod shop I drove by many other automotive shops and businesses. Seems as if this is a haven for restoration shops. As I drove by Dew Motorcars I was taken by this full sized 20's bronze race car outside. I peeked through the windows and saw many high end Mustangs, BMW M cars, Ferrari's, etc. Next time I will have to drop in.

Here are a few pics of the race car. Thought you all might enjoy it.

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The mice making Swiss cheese out of Greg's gas tank has gotten a lot of response. Here is a very interesting one.

"One more story about mouse pee. There was a really nice Beechcraft Musketeer out here. The Musketeer has bonded aluminum wing structure. Mice got into the wing and built a nice little nest. In just one season, the mouse pee had corroded not only the wing skin, but also the bottom spar cap. Non-repairable. Totaled. Ouch.

Bill"

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Can't wait to see the restoration start on the Jag!!! Just kidding... Love the color of the Jag, can't wait to see the Avanti painted. Love your post.

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It seems that I like to upset people or do them uncomfortable with their decisions: you have an Avanti with red trim and you will paint it green? It seems to me that the combinaison is not very harmonious...Red trim is asking for a black, silver, white, red or some pastel outside color but a strong green?

At the end, I have to admit that it is your car and, if you like the combo, I have nothing to add!

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Roger, The red and green will look good, I promise. The black and green was just too predictable and boring. At least it give folks something to talk about for sure. I am just glad that it going to be a good looking Avanti again. Somewhere down the road it maybe another color. Who knows.

It is Wednesday, January 25th. Lots of farm stuff to do today and then jetting off to Seattle tomorrow for the week. But, here is Greg's report from last night.

"The temperature was moderate enough to get some time on the maroon Avanti this evening. Finished checking the connections on the new fuel sender, and also checked to make sure no mice had taken up residence in this car before I closed the tank compartment and drove home those countless screws.

Seat back and bottom are in, ready for a test drive. That will wait until the mud soaked ground dries out and the road salt has washed away.

Then, back to the Andrew King Kinner Sportster story. More milling machine work. The way I hear it, the airplane had been reconfigured into a crop duster and in doing so, a door had been discarded or covered over. The hardware gone. I'm to duplicate what is left.

Pics included of progress. I'm gaining on it.

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Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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While I was at the Sterling Hot Rod shop I drove by many other automotive shops and businesses. Seems as if this is a haven for restoration shops. As I drove by Dew Motorcars I was taken by this full sized 20's bronze race car outside. I peeked through the windows and saw many high end Mustangs, BMW M cars, Ferrari's, etc. Next time I will have to drop in.

Here are a few pics of the race car. Thought you all might enjoy it.

Looks like an Alfa Romeo grand Prix car.

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Still Wednesday. Just got this from Greg.

"Just for grins, attached photo of the Kinner Sportster when it was new in Yakima, WA in 1934. Sorry about the watermark, I tracked the photo down at a museum out there, and they sent me a good copy, but don't have it at hand right now."

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It seems that I like to upset people or do them uncomfortable with their decisions: you have an Avanti with red trim and you will paint it green? It seems to me that the combinaison is not very harmonious...Red trim is asking for a black, silver, white, red or some pastel outside color but a strong green?

At the end, I have to admit that it is your car and, if you like the combo, I have nothing to add!

Sorry but I kind of agree with Roger. :o

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But, but, but, my new Jaguar, in its factory colors, is green with red interior. Must be a British thing. Oh well, I hope the Avanti colors will grow on you.

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But, but, but, my new Jaguar, in its factory colors, is green with red interior. Must be a British thing. Oh well, I hope the Avanti colors will grow on you.

To be honest, the red interior of the Jag combined with that tender green is not bad at all. As I wrote, red with a pastel color can go; your green is strong and dark; these colors are not going well together. However, it's your car; if you like this combo, go ahead!

Another fact the denyers of green and red trim must not forget: your Avanti has probably the door jambs, inside of trunk lid and engine compartment painted green; to change the outside color, you have to let paint those places too and the bill will be totaly different; you may not be willing for that greater expense, unless the ones who don't like red trim with dark green pay the difference!

Edited by Roger Zimmermann
comments added (see edit history)

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Most Crosley's had red vinyl interiors, no matter what color the exterior was. So your Avanti will be in with a great class of cars.

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