Avanti R2, 1963, refresh

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Still Thursday, PM. Well I did take the Avanti out for a long run to the body shop and then over to the paint shop. Both groups worked on the car so it was great to show them the finished product. Chris, the painter, was very happy to see the car. He said that he paints them and usually never sees the finished product. Glad I was able to bring the car to him.

There were just a couple of spots on the paint that needed to be polished out. Chris gladly did them in about three minutes. Always pays to take it to a pro.

Then I got two neighbor kids and we went off again to load hay for the llamas. Filled the horse trailer and then an open trailer. Some of the bales were so heavy that it took two of us to lift them. We have about 100 bales put away, another 50 or so to go. Ah, the life of a farmer.

PS: Forgot, we also decided to take the Avanti to the Car and Coffee get together on Sunday. Chris, Seventhson, said that he might bring his now running Avanti. Wayne in his 72 Corvette will caravan up with us too. Going to be a fun morning.

Edited by unimogjohn
added a PS (see edit history)

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It is Friday, May 4th. Going to be hauling hay for most of the day. Oh joy, and it is only suppose to be 90 degrees today.

I have decided to try to mount the glass headlight covers on the Avanti. Greg said to tape them to the body so I do not drop them. Also going to put foam rubber on the ground just in case. Remember, try means no promises.

More work and stories from Greg. Here is his report.

"Ok, looks like we're going to get a thunderstorm. That means I won't be holding onto any heavy equipment and shutting down the computer so it doesn't blow any fuses.

Nice evening, nice enough to resume scraping paint. Took a look at the dwindling amount of paint remover in the can , the really pleasant evening weather and then Ol Seabiscuit (maroon Avanti). I don't need much of an excuse to go cruising in it.

It was dying to be exercised, so off to Home Depot for more remover. Even though I'm nearing the end of the chemical stripping, I bought a gallon.

Tonight I was able to do the firewall on the black Avanti, or at least what I could reach without climbing inside the engine compartment. Crawling under dashboards, over fenders, beneath cars....it just isn't as much fun as it used to be.

An otherwise busy day, I did find time to see if Lee had my cam bearing and headgasket. No and no. He had to knock out the rear bearing for his tooling to pass through, guess the little people came out from under the equipment and squirreled it away.

I'll have to order another set of bearings and it sounds like old friend John Erb has offered me another gasket. Studebaker people are good people.

And by the way, for those of you who care: Tomorrow is National Steve Rhodes Birthday Day.

My friend since childhood, we've known each other since the days when we set up discarded roofing tin to serve as super speedways for model cars. Push started him on his Moped (the one that had the broken muffler, it sounded like a B-36), the same Steve who drove first a nice '56 Plymouth (with a billion miles on it). Last seen on the day we were cruising Winchester's Valley Avenue and it started knocking , hammering and engulfed us in smoke. We walked away, the last time I ever saw it.

The same guy who's Mother replaced it for him with a '57 Chevy two door. 210 model I think? Cheapest one without even a radio. Six cylinder three speed. But it was a 261 truck block with a 235 head. Geared to climb trees, When street racing , friend Steve would take on anything. Cobra, GTO, Corvette, a rail job dragster if one would have been at the light beside him. None of them stood a chance. The high horsepower stuff would be burning rubber, Steve'd be banging high gear. But it wouldn't take long before the Chev would max out. Like the night we were racing Dickie Breeden in his hopped up '56 Chev. We had him until we topped out at ninety-five when Dickine pulled up beside us, flashed that goofy grin and held up three fingers. Then he casually dropped it into fourth gear and went on.

The Steve Rhodes who always found the pot of gold. Once he was going to take up tennis. Told me he'd flinch when the ball was driven at his head. The instructor recommended that he take up Karate to get over it. It wasn't long before Steve was representing the US in Karate competitions .... in China.

A best friend who I've only seen maybe once since the eighties. He has moved on to become Winchester's (known for it's apple harvesting) premier Avacado orchardist. Sometime I'll have to make the trip to Southern Califorinia in Seabiscuit so that he can again drive his old Studebaker. It's got some stories too."

Best Birthday Wishes.


Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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Glad to see I am not the only one who have left a car or two along the side of the road, never to be seen again. A Datsun staion wagon and a Vega are the two I have walked away from.

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It is Saturday, May 5th. Before the kids come over and we start loading and unload hay, I decided to tackle the Avanti headlight covers. I figured out the gaskets and mounted them on the covers. Then fitted the rings and drilled out the rubber gaskets for the mounting screws. Both the covers and the little beauty rings have R/L on them so it must be easy to line everything up. Wrong, the little beauty rims are bent a bit and do not exactly fit correctly. But after some fiddling and gentle persuasion I got them to fit.

I thought if they do not fit correctly I can always get new ones from SI. So I took a look at the catalog. Well for $140 EACH I could replace them. I think not. So will keep these for now, probably forever.

Here are three pics. The first one is the headlight without the glass cover, the second, with the cover, and the third with both covers.

Then spent 30 minutes or so with vinyl cleaner and wiped down the interior of the car. So she is all ready for Cars and Coffee tomorrow.

I must admit, the old girl looks pretty good.




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It is Sunday, May 6th PM. We met Greg and Barbara in their maroon Avanti in town and then proceeded up the freeway for thirty miles to the Cars and Coffee event. Great to see a couple of Avantis running down the road at speed.

We had a great time showing off the cars and talking to folks. But the weather was threatening so not that many car showed up, maybe 50? But we had a good time. Chris, Seventhson on this forum, and Diane came, but did not bring their Avanti. Greg and I were a little bummed that he did not bring his project Avanti. Oh well, next time.

After a couple of hours we left and headed out for breakfast.

Here are a few pics.








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Still Sunday. Well next week the 1928 Buick, model 29, Town Brougham will go to the annual Apple Blossom Show. Greg with his 1921 Dodge and I will follow each other to Winchester, VA, about 35 miles one way.

The 28 Town Brougham was the top of the line of the standard Buicks. Only 10,640 were produced. It is estimated that only a dozen or so still exist. We have owned the car since 1984, she has always been part of the family.

She is a survivor too. Still sports her original interior, top, and body color. Only the fenders, hood and driver's door have been repainted. She still looks really good when cleaned up.

She has been asleep in the big trailer since December. So put water in the radiator, turned on the fuel, and she fired right up. I am always amazed on how easily she starts right up after a long slumber.

It will take me a couple of days to clean her up for the show. The interior is fine, but the car needs a good wax and polish.











Edited by unimogjohn
added pics (see edit history)

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It is Monday, May 7th, PM All the hay is put away for this coming winter. Glad that is done. And Greg sent me a pic of David Coco's Huppmobile. He said that he thinks it is running too. I guess it really smoked up the house. I will let Trimacar tell the story. She looks pretty spiffy.


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It is Tuesday, May 8th. Barn roof work this morning and then hope it stays nice enough for a ride in the 28 Buick and then the start of making her pretty. When I put her away for the winter I had to drive through the muddy pasture. Now it is everywhere on the car and as hard as concrete.

And here is a report from Greg about his day yesterday.

"First, thank yous to those who sent birthday wishes my way. If I've been able to do anything right in my life, it's been my abililty to chose family and friends.

On my sixty-fourth year and I've misplaced sixty-three of them. One of my contacts mentioned that he thought I must have done something right in a past life to be able to do what I'm doing in this one. Maybe he's right, but I don't remember.

As I take a minute to reflect, there have been some hard jolts in the road, but for the most part a pleasant ride. I've tried to do what's been expected of me, volunteered to serve my country, pay my taxes and occassional fines.

I grew up in a family that was very much like living in the Beaver Cleaver household. In some regards it sent me out into the world unprepared for losses that life has in store.

I've been fortunate to have made a career of something I enjoy, preserve the past, make some incredible friends, some of which have included me in some real adventures. I can only hope that my two sons , when at near retirement age, can say that their ride has been as enjoyable.

Usually on a birthday someone will come up with a tape measure, pull it out to about eighty inches and have me point to the inch mark that's the same as my current age. It's a graphic demonstration of how far I've come, and perhaps will go. The problem with that illustration is that in life, as the numbers get larger, the inch marks get closer together.

Days like today are the reason they do. Early start, constant course corrections, fires to put out, unexpected lunch and dinner plans, then after clocking out an hour late, I did get in about an hour of sanding on the once black Avanti.

So now, as May 7th comes to a close, what I do remember about it is that it was another good day that also brought contacts from many special people.

Let's all do it again next year."



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Still Tuesday, but PM. Brian and I worked on the barn for four hours. Now the roof is about 60% done. He is coming back on Thursday, and I hope to finish the roof. I do have to finish putting on the rafters tomorrow so he can make some headway to the finish.

Rained all afternoon so I spent time in the big trailer with the 28 Buick. I got some things polished so it is a start. I maybe have a third done in three hours.

I took a pic of the rear quarter panel without wax, and then another pic with two applications of wax. I do not use any rubbing compound as I do not want to take off paint. Most of the paint is still original as it left the factory 84 years ago. So I do enough to take off a bit of the oxidation and leave some wax protection to the paint. It is enough to give the old girl some shine.

I hope to have her polished by tomorrow PM and then I can start on some detailing on Thursday and Friday. But as usual I will probably run out of time so it is as it is come Saturday morning.

Forgot, there is a pre-show tour on Friday afternoon. So I think that I will fire up the Avanti and take her. They are leaving Winchester, which is about an hour from the farm, and heading up to West Virginia to visit a restoration shop. I know the owner, but have never seen his shop, so it will be see his work shop. I could take the Jaguar, but this crowd is a USA group, not that the Jaguar would not be welcome, but the Studebaker is all American.



Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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It is Wednesday morning, May 9th. Getting ready to head out for a day of polishing the 1928 Buick. But first, here is a report from Greg.

"I've been ciphering on the Wright 8-60 (eight cyl, sixty horse) pump layout. Did the math, sketched it out to double check and then milled the mounting pads for the pumps (one oil and two fuel). Today I drilled, tapped and mounted them to test the drive gear placement. Looks ok.

Black Avanti R5054: Another hour of sanding the front fender apron, this time the right side of the engine compartment. When this rainy spell has moved on, I'll roll out the car, blow it off and get the nooks and crannies. I notice a couple fractures in the battery box, so there's a little fiberglass repair in my future.

Paxton Avanti block: I couldn't find the original depth soft plugs locally, I had shortened the deep ones available. Those are the ones that are still lost. Tonight I shortened another set and knocked them in the block for safe keeping.

Hitting the showers and calling it a day. Obviously getting into some fiberglass with the sandpaper."

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Still Wednesday, spent the morning cleaning and polishing the 1928 Buick. I pronounce her ready for the show on Saturday. Here are the pics. Cleans up pretty good for a 84 year old, don't you think?

I also put in five gallons of fresh gas, so I have almost a full tank. The old gas is about five months old and does have Stabil in it. Smells and looks good, so I should be good to go.

Also spent a couple of hours putting on more rafters on the barn so will be ready tomorrow to put down more metal roofing. I would do more, but I am not ready to get on top the roof and hop around. Will leave that to the youngsters.

Now off to mow a pasture before the rain comes in this afternoon.





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Oh, forgot. This is what I hand out at the shows. Thought you all might be interested.

1928 Buick, Model 29, Town Brougham

In 1928 Buick produced both Master and Standard series cars. This is a Model 29, Town Brougham, and is the top of the line in the Standard series. The Master series were larger cars and held up to seven people, the Standard series held up to five.

This car is one of 10,840 produced of this model. It is estimated that only a dozen of this model still exist, and fewer than six remain in original condition.

In 2000 this Buick was presented an Archival Award from the Buick Club of America. It still retains its original top, interior, and body color. Only the hood, driver's door, fenders, and head light buckets have been repainted. The mechanical components are original to the car. While they have been refreshed, the engine compartment is as it left the factory 84 years ago.

Top speed of the car was 70 mph, but a realistic average speed was about 35 mph in 1928. Today, on a good road, she cruises easily at 45 to 50 mph. The engine has 207 cubic inches, and is rated at 63 HP at 2,800 rpm. The car has four wheel mechanical contracting brakes, and an expanding emergency/parking brake on the rear wheels. Gas tank capacity is 17 gallons.

When new, this car costs $1,375 or $19,000 in today's money. A 1928 Ford Model A was $385.

Edited by unimogjohn
corrected the Ford model to A versus T (see edit history)

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One small correction for your information handout's next update.

The 1928 Ford would have been a Model A, not a Model T.

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Your Buick looks great, John....will plan on seeing it in person on Saturday, right now the weather looks typical for this show, sunny with clouds and a chance of showers.....

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Matt, thanks, glad you caught it. I guess I do not know my old Fords. The first one I remember for sure was a 1954 Skyliner as it took me to school. My first Ford was a 1959 Fairlane convertible. Ah, the memories.

David, see you there. Glad you are coming. Greg and I are meeting up at about 8 AM in Marshall and then will caravan down Route 50 to Winchester. Should take about an hour or so. Looking forward to the drive. The weather looks to be fantastic, sunny with temps in the 70s.

Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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It is Thursday, May 10th. Getting ready for a morning of roofing the barn. Hope that it will be done today, or really close to it.

In the meantime, here is Greg's report.

"Ok, I need to get more done on the Matheson engine. I've got some parts that need to go to the nickel plater's. Gathered them, inventoried and used Dychem bluing to indicate the areas to be masked. I won't ship them since it would be curtains for me if they'd get lost, so if the weather is nice tomorrow, I'll take time off work and hand carry them.

And now that the Wright 8-60 is off the Bridgeport, I've set up the repaired Matheson cylinder to touch up the patched bore. I'm really surprised how round the bore is after being subjected to welding and heat. Hardly a thousandth runout.

As for the Wright engine, today I spent time fitting the fluid pumps to the case and did some preliminary fitting of the drive gears. One of the mysteries remaining is how to anchor the driven ends of the gears , how to keep them positioned with the camshaft.

You'll see that I've been thinking out loud, carving some wood to determine what the bearing support must have been like using any possible dimensions from those in the four. When I'm satisified that they (mirror images) will work, they will turn into casting patterns.

I'm also beginning to believe that with the gearing and the eight cam followers inside the case, that the curious offset of the connecting rods because of cylinder mounting without staggers might also be required to clear this internal confusion.

I've made my revisions to the standard four cylinder shaft and have authorized metal to be cut. Don't have a completion date, but they are usually pretty prompt. While that's in the works, Scott and I are going to make a mould of the forged 6-60 rod and cast a couple in plastic so that I can do some full scale alteration and fitting.

It dawned on me that this whole Wright eight project amounts to something like a random thought, "Hey, I'd like to build a space ship and fly to the Moon!" And then the boss says, "Gee, what if we built a space ship and flew to the Moon".

So, considering this a green light to start making parts , extra time is devoted to filling a box with parts.

Now it has progressed to the point that it occurs to me..."Holy crap, I'VE got to build a space ship and fly it to the Moon?!"

So far so good."






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It is Friday, May 11th. The barn roof is only four panels from being finished. It is so shiny I think you can see it from space. Here is a pic.

Will do a quick clean of the Avanti this morning and then head out to the pre-show tour early this afternoon. It looks to be a very nice day and will be good for a run.

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

" Day job: I think I've got the pump gear bearings where I want them. After test fitting, the carvings were turned into casting patterns. I'll look them over in the morning to see if they are ready for a ride to the foundry.

Nice day today, so took the afternoon off to deliver the Matheson hardware to the plater's.

Evening shift: Got in a little fiberglass repair on black Avanti 5054. There were some cracks developing in the battery box. I drilled out the rivets to free the battery clamp retaining bracket to expose the fracture, also opened the ones on the lower edge, ground them out and layed up some fiberglass mat material to fill and strengthen them. We'll see how they turned out, then maybe go over them again.

Night shift: Set up the boring head and started sneaking out the repair in the Matheson cylinder bore. Taking a couple thousandths at a time to assure a good finish and lessen the possibility of oversizing the bore. Slow going."






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Still Friday, but PM. Just got home from the tour and visit to the restoration shop. All went well with the Avanti until I got about half way home. I was sitting at a light and the engine just shut off. Like someone had turn the key off. I tried to refire it, but nothing, not even a pop. I was able to pull over and out of the way and opened the hood. Nothing out of place. I checked and jiggled the ignition/coil wires, and they were fine. Got in the car, hit the starter and she fired right up. No clue as to what happened, but I think that it was electrical.

Had a great time on the tour and the visit to the restoration shop. Quite an operation. The owners handle everything except for plating work. They must have had fifteen or more cars in the shop for service or restoration. Paul, one of the owners, said they had eight full time employees. Lot of work there for so few people. They work ten hour days and get three days off.

Here are pics of some of the cars that went. And I will post pics of the shop in another response.








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Here are some shop pics.

And remember the big show is tomorrow. All I have to do is transfer the tool bag from the Avanti to the Buick and then I am ready to go. It will be fun following along with Greg.

The group leader said that they had about 270 registrations and expect another 40 to show up.










Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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It is Saturday, May 12th. The Apple Blossom AACA show was great. I followed Greg over and we arrived without mishap. Both cars ran great to and from the show, about 70 or so miles total.

One big hit of the show was David Coco's (Trimacar). I thought it was a Hupp, but I wrong. See the first pic. There are a few more pics of David's car. He has done a great job on it over the past few years. Great to see it back on the road. He told me that he still has a lot of sorting to do. Said that the throttle control is scary. But she is a great "Simply Orange" car thanks to Greg Cone.

I took a lot pics so will post a bunch. Lots of nice cars. Over 250 in attendance, a real nice turnout.








Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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Forgot, uploaded a short video Greg going down the road. The Dodge really scoots down the road. I think that we hit 45 mph at one point. We had no problems going up and down the mountains either, did not have to shift down, and my modern cars have to shift down. Go figure.

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It is Tuesday, May 15th. The loader bucket for the Kubota is done. We get to pick it up tonight.

We had a great car weekend with the tour and show. And on Sunday we went to a bring your old car farm party. To my surprise a 1962 Austin Healy 3000 rolled up. It was our neighbor. He had heard that I was bringing the Jag so he brought his blue AH. I had heard that he had a British car, but I had no idea. He said that he as owned it for 34 years. The car is in great shape for its age. Only a repaint in Europe twenty some years ago. Still very presentable. Here are a few pics.

Speaking of the Jag I have decided to install a radiator fan. I talked to several owners in person and on the net, and all have said that it is a must especially in the very hot VA summers. So I have done some research and am going to order a ten inch pusher fan by SPAL. I am restricted to the smaller size as I have a big air-cleaner canister in front of the radiator. Even a ten inch is going to be a tight squeeze. I will put in a auto on/off thermostat too, 185 degrees.

I also worked on the Avanti this morning in between storms and chores. I was not happy with the speed nuts for holding on the glass headlight covers as I only had three versus the four required. So I bought some nuts yesterday and remounted the glass/rubber/beauty rim combination. Here are some pics.

Finally, a few months back we rescued a little black kitten from a back alley in Baltimore, MD. It was just a little thing and so sick, we thought it would not last the night. But after a little time and many visits to the vet (the most expensive free cat I have ever owned), Lucky is fit as a fiddle and growing like a weed. Here is a pic.










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