Avanti R2, 1963, refresh

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I have been following the "REFRESH" from the beginning. So much for just freshening up a tired old car, huh? She is sure looking good now. Money well spent on the restore. Can't wait to see it all together.

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There are people who think they can restore a car for 10-12K and here's a 30K "refresh". Nice job John.

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There are people who think they can restore a car for 10-12K and here's a 30K "refresh".

Yes, it's possible! It depends the condition of the vehicle at starting point, what and how it will be done (polyester instead of sheet metal to repair rust for example) and the expected standard...

Usually, those "restored" cars are a disaster!

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It is Thursday, February 16th PM. Just got home from a day at "work". Work being at the shop on the Avanti. It was a busy day. Spent about six hours stripping the black vinyl paint off the entire interior. I used acetone as the stripper, and it did a good job. Most of the black paint just melted away after a few applications of the acetone. My commute time to the shop is about an hour and a half R/T. Glad that I only have to do it for a few more days.

I can report that everything is now back to red. I also had the time to do the console, so that is done also. If I do not say so myself, she looks pretty good. The vinyl is in very good condition. Of course, I forgot the camera so you will have to wait until tomorrow to see what she looks like.

Tomorrow I will install the sound deadening material that they have at the shop. It has a foil face and a rubber sticky backing. I am sure that it will take me all of the day to do that so plan on installing the carpet on Monday. I think that it will look like inside of a space ship with all that shiny stuff installed. I am also going to do the cover for the fuel tank as I am sure that a lot of road noise is transmitted through the trunk.

Oh, and UPS delivered the big wooden box with the Avanti bumpers. I will open it over the weekend. The box sustained some damage, but I doubt that the bumpers are affected. Here is a pic of the damaged box. I hope that Greg did not expect that his box would come home without "battle damage".

Pooped, now where is that glass of wine?




Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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They should be OK. Just be happy they weren't in a cardboard box. That's why I crated my grille in wood to send to the platers. That way they have half a chance.

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John, you wrote that you cleaned the trim parts with acetone; does this product not harm the vinyl? I'm sure you had a respiratory mask as the vapors of acetone are agressive...

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Roger, yes, had a mask and a fan blowing through the car. No on harming the vinyl. Looked good and made it a little more pliable. I have some boat vinyl protactent so am going to put some on today also.

It is Friday, February 17th. Heading off to the shop in a few minutes. But I received a report from Greg. Enjoy your coffee this morning.

"I know, I've been neglecting you.

This week has flown by without a lot of actual progress to show for it. I did have some visitors this week. I was honored by a visit from the Fesers, they in their new Jag XK120 coupe on it's maiden voyage away from Feser Farm. Alice stood by while John took me around our test track. Really a nice piece, John. Proud of you.

Frank Gable arranged a visit to show some of his friends through our factory. And he bought me lunch. Bring guests any time.

I remember some maintenance on ol maroon Avanti. That failed clutch linkage, a recurring problem on these cars, led to a communication from John Shanahan describing some simple hardware modifications that make the system more reliable.

After noting the various ways to skin the cat, I ordered a couple clevis ends and screwed them together with a piece of 3/8 NF allthread to replace the fragile link originally used.

Yesterday being the pleasant day that it was, I decided to take Ol Seabiscuit out for a (test) run. Doing what it does best, it took me over the highways and byways to Rob's for a visit and dinner, then the trip home. I really like that car. After three hours on the road, it was hard to put it away. The clutch worked great.

Day job: I sent out the V8 cam bearing patterns and devoted some time to fitting the babbit main bearing inserts to the four cylinder case. Then at quitting time today I was handed a box just in from the foundry. Maybe tomorrow I'll start the machining process on the cam bearings.

Otherwise: Last night's visit to Rob's did result in a favor in my inbox. Rob's '28 Chrysler depot wagon is really progressing. Tending to details, he found that the gas pedal had worn through. A formed cap of .062 aluminum was done. I brought it back and today I took a close look. Too thin to weld, I used a can opener to remove the cap. I then machined a replacement to roll back into place. A tight fit, I had difficulty during the installation. Since I'd decided to JB Weld it in place long enough to roll the edge over, it was airtight and because of the airlock I had to clamp the works in a vise until it hardened and the edge was peened.

Then back to the lathe to dome the face of it. As it always happens, on the finishing cut, the whole thing started spinning free on its shank. No way I was going to peel the new one off to correct the problem, so I tried silversoldering the shank to the steel washer that held the cap. The trapped JB caught fire inside the cap. I kept after it and as of now....Rob, ready for pickup.

Matheson engine. working up small parts that add up, but don't seem to count.

Black Avanti. I'm ready to grind the end gaps of the piston rings. Nothing else happening.

We'll see what tomorrow brings."




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It is still Friday, only PM. Just arrived home from the shop. I am exhausted. Tough on an old man. Anyway, I got all the matting down. It is called the "Right Stuff". It worked really good. The floor is all done. Ready for padding and carpet installation.

I was going to install the carpet myself on Monday, but the trimmer said that he could do it all in about two hours including gluing and fitting. I said, "go ahead". I was going to use him for about an hour anyway so another hour is not going to break the bank.

Here are some pics of the work. The first couple are of the work I did yesterday stripping off the black vinyl paint. The next ones are of the mat installation. And finally a couple with the big pieces of carpet laid in just for a quick beauty shot.

The shop will install the seats and the door panels. They need another day for final inspection of the paint, some minor imperfections to sand down and then detail the car for delivery. So it looks like sometime next week for me to bring her home. Cannot wait.









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The shop is closed from noon to 1 PM and everyone heads out for lunch. I took the opportunity to snoop. The business down the street was bring out cars so they could rearrange their shop area. I took the opportunity to take some pics.









Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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They had the Willys running on the street. Sounded really sweet and very mean. Set up for the drags. Here are a couple of other pics I took. I think that the "M" car was a 1987. That was the year on the license plate.




Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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It is Saturday, February 18th. Been doing lots of farm stuff today as we are suppose to get snow tomorrow, maybe 8 inches or so. So far winter snows have been a bust. We will see.

But I took a break and opened the box from Jerry's Chrome. Wow, the bumpers are beautiful. All the bangs and bumps are gone, and the chrome looks fantastic. Here are a few pics. Can hardly wait until I can start putting stuff back on.





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It is Sunday, February 19th. We spread another ton of lime today. I loaded most of it in the tractor bucket and then Alice opened the 50lbs bags and emptied them into the spreader. 200 lbs each fill. She manages the bags, but its a struggle as they weigh half her wait. One tough girl for sure.

I, while Alice was working hard, took the Jaguar out for a run,about ten miles. She sounds so good. It is like being in a small airplane fighter in WWII. Very tight with lots going on.

And of course, Greg is working. Here is his report.

"Ok, I've got to empty this camera disc, I'll send along these poor pics. The camera is good for closeups or long range in good light. These pics are neither.

Yesterday found us at Rob's and he was at work on the '28 Chrysler depot hack. I keep getting queries about it's progress.

Look at these pics and try to visualize: All bodywork done up through paint and pinstriping. You'll notice that the original combination has been copied. Dark blue body and wheels, crimson panel on the door, light blue pinstriping and aluminum mouldings. Fenders and aprono black.

Engine is now in, he's putting on the refinished hardware and cad plated things. The rebuilt rear axle is out for enamelling.

Clutch and transmission is rebuilt and ready for installation. He's also near the end of the instrument restoration and installation.

In other words, if he stays on it, it'll be finished soon."

And here are a couple of videos taken by Jim about a year ago about the beach wagon.







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It is Monday, February 20th. Looks to be a nice day today. Expected snow yesterday PM, and most got it. Not us, not even a flake.

Here is Greg's report from yesterday/Sunday.

"When I don't know which view to send.....send them both. Costs the same.

Another busy weekend. Got in more driving time. A nice drive to Maryland to deliver Rob's gas pedal.

The nice drive home was punctuated with a panic stop in the dark to avoid a collision with a deer. Just what I need is the front end bashed in by a deer. Locked the brakes, got a little sideways, deer wandered off. But on a more pleasant note, another stop along the way to have an evening out with friends. Seabiscuit was built for a group of four.

Today I got in some R-3 time. I machined a bore in a piece of scrap aluminum plate to simulate the cylinder bore. I used this to check and adjust my piston ring end gaps. This done, the rings were loaded on the pistons and I've just finished pushing them in their holes and torqued the rod nuts. Opened a brand new box of Palunuts to finish the job.

Good company, good food, got some work done. As good as it gets."





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Still Monday, but PM. Not much going on in the garage today. Nice day, but just too cold for car stuff so just wandered around the pastures doing farm chores. Came inside as my hands are frozen and found a big box on the porch. My oh my, it is from Studebaker International. So the hubcaps, seat belts and vent repair kit have arrived.

The covers are really extra nice, and the seat belts are good too. The little "Studebaker" sticker on the belt latches are a bit cheap looking, but the new belts will look nice inside the Avanti. One good thing is that they have the same mounting attachment as the originals so I do not have to try to remove the old mounts from the car.

Here are a couple of pics. No word from Sterling Hot Rod on car today.




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It is Tuesday, February 21st PM. The movie, J Edgar, was released on DVD today so we picked one up. We plan on having a neighborhood showing at some point. Our cars, the 23 and 28, and as you might remember, were in a couple of scenes. I took a couple of pics of the cars on the PC screen so you can pick them out.

The first pic is in the garage of the Lindbergh house, you can see both cars in the background.

The second pic is at the house and you can see the 28 Buick (it has the white wall tires).

There are a lot of antique cars in the picture. It all looks very authentic to the period.



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It is Wednesday, February 22nd. Suppose to go into the low 60s today. Looks to be a good day to be outside and doing stuff.

I got a new radiator cap for the Jag. I have read that the cause of the radiator loosing coolant is a wrong pressure or bad cap. Only has a 4lb pressure cap. Took the Jag out for a run and checked when cold. Did not loose any coolant. I did notice the coolant was darker than normal, and then remembered that the service records said that they had just put in a "stop leak" product. I will leave it in for now and put in new anti-freeze in the fall. Depending on how hot she gets in the summer I may add an catch tank. They make one for the 120, but they are expensive, like $360. I may add a plastic one for now for $20 and see how it works.

And I received a report from Greg. Here it is.

"Time spent doing little jobs.

Day job: Wright eight cylinder engine is coming along. The cam bearing castings are underway. Mating faces have been milled, the halves have been match drilled and pinned for proper assembly. Temporarily soldered together for machining.

The inside diameter has been drilled undersize and a quick and dirty fixture made to allow turning of the outside diameter to size. Now I'm working on a fixture that will allow me to position each bearing in it so I can accurately bore and ream the inside diameter to final size. Without runout.

Evening play time: On the Matheson engine, working up some of the many small parts to match the parts book drawings.

The black Avanti: Cleaning and prepping parts like the front engine mounting brackets, the oil pan.

and so it goes....."



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Still Wednesday. Just got a note from Sterling Hot Rods. The Avanti's interior has been installed and looks great. Tomorrow the car will be detailed and inspected by the owner of the shop. Any imperfections will be reworked and corrected.

We can pick it up on Friday if the weather cooperates. If not, early next weeks looks pretty good weather wise. They will send me pics of the Avanti tomorrow. We are excited to be able to bring her home.

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Hey, congratulations !!! Even tho' it's not your first "baby" you're waiting on, it never gets any less exciting, does it ? I watched a video of Greg and I think his Dad (??) driving Seabiscuit, expect the next one to have at least a herd of two Avantis in it. Anxious to see the end result in that Virginia sunshine! John

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It is Thursday, February 23rd. Temperature is heading to the upper 60s today. Almost spring time temperatures. Another great day to work outside until the rains come later in the day.

And here is Greg's report from late last night.

"This evening being so pleasant, I decided to begin the search for the cause of an annoying shimmy in the front end of the maroon Avanti.

Intermittent, it sometimes happens on a sweeping right hand turn. I can't remember if Steve went through the front end when he overhauled the car back in the seventies, but even if he did, that was forty years ago. Numerous inspections with the car on the jack, and although there is a little movement here or there, nothing looks worn out.

Time to replace some of the underpinnings. Tonight I removed the tie rod assemblies, measured them before assembling the new components. The old ones felt fine.

Now the tie rods are back in place, wheels back on and ready for a test run tomorrow to see if I made any difference."


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Still Thursday and early afternoon. Just sitting down in front of the TV for the NASCAR Sprint Cup shootout. Have to get the popcorn into the microwave.

But this morning I fitted a piece of thick carpet to the spare tire tray of the Jaguar. I am getting a tremendous amount of exhaust rumble behind the front driver's seat. It is to the point that on a long trip, it is going to be an issue. My first rule is to do no harm, so decided to see if a carpet in the trunk would do anything. So that is done and will take her out this afternoon. There is also a package shelf above the spare tire. I may put some matting material under that also. Here are a couple of pics.

I also may attempt to insulate the area directly behind the seats. It contains the batteries and also has no insulation of any type. I will have to think a bit to see how I might insulate that area.

I asked for some pics of the Avanti now that it is ready. Plan to pick her up on Monday and bring her home. In my mind's eye she certainly looks great.









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