Avanti R2, 1963, refresh

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It is Tuesday, April 17th. Yesterday it was a blistering 90 degrees. What happened to spring? No car stuff as I did farm stuff and continued work on the barn extension. Putting hurricane straps on all the joists.

But we have a great car story from our friend on the forum, David Coco (Trimacar).

"Spent all day thinking about it, I had to solve the problem of changing a clincher tire, without the help of my buddy Greg. He is going all out to fix the hood, and I couldn't lay the tire change on him too. So, all day to think of a plan.

Also, I have some period tire tools, with clamps and curves and wedges, all made to dismount and mount clincher tires, although the use of some of the french curves and wedges escapes my comprehension.

But, I made a plan.

First, the wheel had to be stationary. I have a huge vise, grabbed an old axle shaft, clamped it in vise and slipped the wheel over the shaft.This put the wheel horizontal, about chin level. Remember this, it's important.

Now, to remove the old inner tube. A french curved tool, bend the tire nine ways to Sunday, and out comes the tube. New tube, apply flap, bend tire again and insert stem (remember I only have one side of tire off rim).

Now, stuff tube and flap into tire, using hands only so no pinching. Inflate slightly, take a nice white mallet, and hit tire all the way around to seat tube. Deflate tube.

Take another of the period tools, that clamps the two sides of the tire together. Clamp. Secure clamp with c-clamps. Now, start working way around with big screwdrivers, barely inserted in rim so as not to damage tube or flap, and get 80% around. Now the hard part.

Needed to take a big bite, so grabbed the closest thing that might do it. A pry bar. Got a big bite, pulling it down toward me, FLOOPT it slips and hits the top of my head. Ouch. That'll leave a mark.

Walk over to work table. Man, that was dumb. Rub my head. Ouch. Rub it some more. Quit rubbing because it feels funny. Look at hand. Red. Oops.

Walk in house. Daughter Emily, "Pop, what happened?" Uh, I hit my head, does it show? "Well yeah, the side of your face is red with blood...."

Crap. Wife takes charge. Off to emergency clinic. 5 stitches in scalp.

Gotta love old cars. Wife says "are you all right?" ....well, no, the damned tire isn't all the way on the rim yet....."

Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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Been out working on the barn and when I got back in Greg's report was waiting for me. So I have a nice report to read for my second cup of coffee of the morning.

Here is Greg's report.

"Another day, more to do.

First I'll get back on the Wright engine case. Set up in the mill, yesterday I machined the first deck reducing the thickness and down to a certain distance from the center of the main bearing. First side went well and now to get the second done.

Also, after work I returned to Lee's machine shop for another round with the Studebaker block. He had been successful with the sleeve installation, I was to assist with some grunt work. Remounted on his boring stand, I was to run a tap into all of the head bolt holes to make sure they were good to go. With this done, we did some layout work to prepare for the valve reliefs that help define the Paxton engines. He pulled a homemade tool from his arsenal, one that allows the use of a valve grinding stone to grind the chamfers. Nice job he got.

The next step will be for him to hone the cylinder bores, to do this he uses a deck plate of thick aluminum that when bolted and torqued down to the head surface, will simulate the stresses of the block in service. Couldn't find the bolts. So on today's list of things to do is a trip to the hardware store for bolts.

And didn't I have a hood for Trimacar to work on? While I'm doing that, I can plan the rear axle swap for the maroon Avanti car, the resistor installation for the Dodge coil, maybe try to recall where I was on the black Avanti car. And maybe even check on Matheson piston ring manufacture.

Guess I'd better sign this off and get to work."





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Ah, the joys of clincher tires.....if I had it to do over again, I'd buy a set of rims for the Hupp with slip rings, originality be damned.....my 1910 Buick has the three piece rim set for each wheel, so it was period technology, two tire holding rings, one lock ring....and the tire locking rings are reversible so you can use a straight side or a clincher tire.....

I feel a little dumb about doing this of course.

Asked the doctor if, after the hit on the head and the stitches, I'd be able to play the piano. "Of course," he said......I told him great, because I never could before.....

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I just knew that it would show up. Found the radio antenna grommet. Spent a few minutes and put it on.

And the space shuttle Discovery is arriving atop a Boeing NASA 747. I was outside, but they turned before they got to the farm so I did not get any pics. But here is one from the TV.




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It is Tuesday, PM. Lots of new action on the forum. I like it.

And here is a quick report from Greg.

"Did time at Lee's after work on the black Avanti engine. As of now all cylinder bores have been honed, and it is scheduled to have the decks remachined tomorrow.

The Trimacar Hupmobile hood project moves along. In order to get acquainted with the paint Dave brought along, I decided to hose the insides of the panels. Single stage acrylic enamel. I'll let it harden for a couple days and then do the outsides.

Now, what's next?"




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It is Wednesday, April 18th. Raining here today and only 50 degrees. Big change from a couple of days ago. I am not complaining, we needed the rain badly.

So decided to work inside on the Avanti. I could go out into the garage, but decided to work on the little vent flappers that control the outside air and inside heat. When you open the vent then the ambient air from the outside comes into the car. When you close them, then you have heat. It is important to have a good seal when either is selected.

As you can see, my seals were none existent. They had become hard goo over the passage of time.

I carefully removed the staples that held the corners of the rubber to the cardboard like plate and then carefully scraped the goo and gunk off of each plate. The plates themselves are pretty good. I am gluing the edges where they have started to come apart. But they should do the job. Pics show the scraping and junk that came off.

After I was satisfied with the cleaning I put on some outdoor contact cement and put the new rubber/foam material onto the flappers. I am only doing one side at a time. After a few hours I will put on the other side and let them cure overnight. I have the flap and rubber/foam weighed with some iron to make sure I get them nice and tight.

A little job, but even the little jobs take time. I think that I have four hours into it up to this point. I will put them back into the car tomorrow and will have a functioning heating/venting system again.

I still have to rebuild the kick panels that go over the vents. I will leave that for another rainy day.








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Still Wednesday, now PM. Finished gluing the rubber onto the flaps. Here is what the entire assembly looks like. Will put them into the car tomorrow. Should be easy. You only have to put the pivot post into the fittings and then attach the push/pull cable. With that said, I wonder what will go wrong?



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It is Thursday, April 19th, 66 years young today. We are going out to a nice dinner tonight so am excited. I have been on a weight reduction effort and so far have lost 27 lbs since December. A dinner out will be a nice treat.

Also excited to work a bit on the Avanti today. Hopefully, the rain will stay away. Suppose to be 70 today.

The glue dried nicely on the little vent flaps. Hope to have them in this morning. Going to put a little anti-sieze on the the ends where they go into some little bushings. That should make for a very smooth operation. I had previously taken the control panel apart, cleaned and lubed all the controls.

Greg is really moving on his projects. Here is his report.

"An eventful day on several fronts.

The day job recreation of the Wright V8 engine reached a milestone. After much calculating (the old way, ciphering with a lead pencil), rechecking and rechecking the figures several times, I began boring the holes for the cylinder installation. Photo enclosed of the boring head in action and then a pic of the first cylinder set in place.

After the eight large holes are bored, then the thirty-two retention bolt holes and reverse counter-bores must be done. Each deck will also receive four holes for the push rod guides, but I'm not brave enough to drill and ream them until I can visually verify their placement.

I guess as of now it is a Wright V 1/8.

Another milestone. Lee called this morning to say the Studebaker black Avanti block had been resurfaced, and he's ready for me to get it out of his way. As rusty as the decks were, he said it only took .005" to clean them up. After work I got it unloaded and mounted on it's engine stand. Too dark and rainy, it needs to go outside for a good scrubbing and cleaning. Maybe tomorrow. Then reassembly can begin.

Yet another milestone. David (Trimacar) Coco, after having his '10 Hupmobile apart for a number of years for a "quick repaint", now has it off the stands and resting on four tires.

His efforts have awarded him a place on my list of Greg's Laws of Restoration: *To be considered a successful clincher tire repair, it must remain inflated at least until the stitches come out*"




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Happy birthday John! And congrats on the weight loss! Have you found a third set of hands to help with the bumper install? I can try to run out there and help at lunchtime one day. Since I don't have my Avanti to play with at the moment...

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Happy Birthday John, and many more happy motoring years to go.

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Thanks for all the BD wishes. Glad I do not feel that old.

I did get some time in on the Avanti and got both vent doors in and operating correctly. Had to clean out the goo left on the sills. Boy, that stuff was welded to the fiberglass. No issues with them going in and did not break anything.

Here are the pics. Pic 1 is the open hole without the door, Pic 2 is the vent door in the open position, and Pic 3 is the vent door in the closed position.




Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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Happy birthday! All you old folks, I swear, I'm only 61, not old like you.....have a great day!

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It is Friday, April 20th. Looks to be a nice day today, will have to find something interesting to do. Maybe take a look at the side panels that go on the front of the Avanti console. They need to be redone.

But Greg has no problems with projects, he has them lined up. Here is his Thursday PM report.

"Nonstop busy kind of day. Was able to get all four left bank holes bored to accept cylinders in the Wright V8, now I'll get all their retention bolt holes done before I rotate the block and do the other side.

Pushed the Stude Avanti block outside, hosed it, wiped it down, took the air hose and blew the oil galleries and bolt holes out and then protected the exterior by brushing on a coat of epoxy primer. I'll use a small hone to clean the lifter bores and it will be ready to start it's reassembly.

I'm still getting these great incoming photos of the space shuttle as it was airlifted to nearby Dulles airport. Disappointing that we didn't know that it's flight path was right over our shop."



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Roger, yes, it was great. Had a nice steak, and roasted sweet potato and asparagus. A nice end to birthday. Oh, and then we stopped for ice cream on the way home.

But back to the Avanti. I pulled out the old panels and the new carpet to see if I can somehow get them to fit. Remember I bought this carpet kit off of Ebay. It was left over from a project never completed. I got a great deal so could not pass it up. The quality was good too.

The new carpet does not match the shape of the original panel. But by doing some creative fiddling I think I can "almost" make them fit. Of course I could take the old and new down and have them re-stiched, but what is the fun of that.

So this is what I may do, to make do.

First, here are the pics of the front and back side of the driver's side console panel. Second pic is of the new carpet and its shape, and then third pics are of the front and back of the new carpet over the panel and how it might look. I folded over the carpet on the back and this piece would be cut off. The last pic is what the finished panel would look like. The carpet would be glued to the panel.

Any other suggestions?






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Still AM on Friday. Went and pulled the Avanti from the garage and did a test fit to see what my plan looks like.

It works, but it would probably be better if I just took the time and have it cut and re-stitch to the correct configuration. I think that it just does not look right with the little tab tucked under the panel.

Here are the pics. One of the hole to be covered, the old panel fitted, and the new carpet in its configuration.




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it's been awhile since i recarpeted my avanti, but is it possible to pull the floorboard carpet out a little then secure the panel? the floorboard stitching would then cover that area...

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Mid afternoon on Saturday, April 21st. Has been warm most of the day and now it is getting hot, mid 80s. We are suppose to get heavy thunderstorms so put all the toys away.

But I did get some quality Avanti time. Alice and Melissa came home from Master Gardener and helped me put on the front bumper. Easy deal with three people. I even put on the rubber grommets on the bumper arms where they go into the body. Then put back on the grill. I still have the wings to hook to the attachment points, but will save that until tomorrow.

I can now say that all the exterior body parts are back on the car. A major milestone for the Avanti. She is looking good.

Here are pics of without and grill and with.




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Still Saturday, PM now. I am sitting here with my glass of wine, and it popped into my mind that David "Trimacar" Coco was going to rag on me for not putting on the eye lids on the headlights. As it sit here, stewing and getting ready for the onslot, I decided I better get one step ahead of David and put on the headlight beauty rings.

I was going to put on the glass headlight covers with new gaskets, but that is an involved process so decided to just put on the rings. At least the Avanti would have her eye brows.

So used some chrome polish on them and put them on. David, hope you are happy now.......



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Now it's looking like a real car! One small note: the wiper arm on the driver side should be set one teeth lower (or towards the hood), to be parallel with the other one.

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OK, Roger, will do.

It is Sunday, April 22nd. Lots of lightening and thunder, and a gush of rain last night. The temperature dropped like a rock from 85 to 60 degrees. Cold this morning and more rain coming. We may get up to two inches today.

Greg usually doesn't report on weekends so was surprised to see a report. You will too. Here is his report.

"Got some work done today.

I returned to servicing the Dodge ignition. Realizing that I hadn't used a resistor to reduce voltage to the coil and points, I decided to replace the replacement coil with another replacement coil, this one having an internal resistor. Rob supplied me with a NAPA number and the new store in town actually had one in stock.

This morning while making the change, I noticed excessive play in the ignition drive, so I removed the whole distributor assembly. Found a lot of slop in the flange that connects it with the engine. I was able to flow some silver solder in it and when reinstalled, took the car for a successful test run. So now it seems to be makeshift, but serviceable.

Upon return, decided to direct some attention to the Maroon Avanti axle swap. The ebay New Old Stock axle assembly looks like a winner. The maroon car was ordered new with the four speed transmission and a 3.73 axle ratio. Good for acceleration and ok for the fifty-five speed limit, disappointing to me out on the open road. And at the gas pump. This 3.07 will give the car the long legs it is known for.

Taking a closer look at it today , I decided to pull the axle shafts out and repack the bearings with their fifty year old grease. Very surprised to find the grease just as soft as the day it was put there. Other than the petrified gasket and some slight rusting of the cover, everything looks great. It even retains its original painted part number intact. After I repaint it and install a new gasket, it will be ready.

I think I've figured out a way to remove the old unit without having to break the hydraulic brake connections. That's the plan.

Our spell of nice weather has now been replaced with cold and wet. Bring on the hot and humid.

Also an update on the Wright engine V8. As of now the left bank cylinder mounting holes have been bored and drilled. Guess that makes it a V 1/2."





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Still Sunday, PM. It was a dark and dreary day, raining non stop. Kind of a do nothing type of day. A slow day on the forum too. Is it raining and cold everywhere?

But my goal of putting something back on the Avanti kept bugging me so decided to at least refit one of the little vent screens. So I cleaned up one, found some new SS screws and buckets and put the passenger side on. I do not have enough room to pull the door open on the driver side without pulling the car out of the garage so that will have to wait another day. At least I get to say that something was put on.




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It is Monday, April 23rd, PM. Wow, the rain is still coming down, and it has been really cold all day, did not get above 40 degrees. They are saying that we may get a dusting of wet snow tonight. I thought this was suppose to be spring.

In between sprinkles I pulled the Avanti out of the garage and put on the second vent screem. I then crawled under the car and attached one of the support arms for the wing on the bumper. My fingers got so cold that I gave up, not having fun on the Avanti. I will do more when it warms up to 50 degrees.

Greg has slowed down too. But he continues to move ahead on his maroon Avanti axle refit. Here is his report.

"I don't know. Is tearing things apart progress?

While Seabiscuit is in the stall during this bout with bad weather, I decided it's time to do the rear axle deed. I got started tonight. I was able to loosen the hardware retaining the brake line tubing to the axle itself, remove the hardware and spring the brake backing plates over the axle shafts, and after all the other nuts, bolts and washers were off, shove the unit to one side. Then down and out.

The problem was one that I'd forgotten about, having done this job years ago. The traction bars. They should unbolt at the axle but their method of construction involves a steel bolt through a steel bushing, secured by a nut and washer.

Rust has done it's job, locking the bushing in place. I had to loosen the bars at their forward mounts and bring them along. It might be easier to find new bars and mounting hardware than to free these.

Tomorrow I'll probably spend time cleaning and painting hardware prior to putting in the new axle."




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