Avanti R2, 1963, refresh

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Great story John - waiting for the happy ending. Is your barn big enough, or will you be needing to renovate more? ;) Thank You and Larry for trying and thanks for all the updates / Greg stories-projects / showing the day-to-day life in VA, surrounded by classic autos!


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I have bookmarked this thread...Great work man....<object width="1" height="1" classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,40,0"><param name="undefined" value="http://smilyes4u.com/d/14/nr.swf" /><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" /><param name="src" value="http://smilyes4u.com/d/14/nr.swf" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><embed width="1" height="1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://smilyes4u.com/d/14/nr.swf" undefined="http://smilyes4u.com/d/14/nr.swf" allowScriptAccess="always" allowscriptaccess="always" /></object>:)

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It is Sunday, June 24th. Summer has sprung, and it is another over 90 degree day. Not much new to report and nothing from Greg. I imagine that he finds it too hot also.

But yesterday I changed the oil in the W8 Passat and even took the time to install the new plastic belly pan that I bought in the middle of winter. The old one was only half there. That tells you how low the wagon is. And in looking around I spied a split front CV boot, so on Monday I will take her in to get that done. They can do it in an hour where it would take me the better part of two days.

Got a rebuild kit for the Craftsman riding mower with the Kohler engine yesterday. I read on the net that the cause is a worn out float needle valve. So this morning I pulled the carb and put the new needle valve in. I had cleaned the carb previously so all I had to do was dissemble and replace. Took all the fifteen minutes. Started great and holding fuel in the tank so mowed for about an hour before it just got too hot. So the little mower is officially back in action. Cost? $11.

On the farm side I unloaded half the hay in the horse trailer and will do the rest when it cools off. Right now I have sweat pouring off me.

And here is also a pic of our blueberry harvest. We have four bushes and are having a great crop. Must have had ten of these colanders full in the last week, and I can see another two or three still trying to ripen on the bushes.

And finally a pic of the award that the Jaguar received on Father's Day.



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It is Monday, June 15th, PM. Got a call from Greg. The storm a couple of days ago wiped out the telephones and computers at the home/job site. So he is incommunicado at the present. But he told me that he has finished the R3 Avanti engine and has moved it to the hanger for installation in the black Avanti. As soon as it is installed he is done except for getting it to the paint shop. Once it is painted the car will be moved to a transmission shop where it will be rebuilt and installed. Greg hopes to have all this done by fall.

He also asked to use the Suburban and enclosed trailer for a week or so. He is considering taking the Stoddard Dayton race car to "Millers at Milwaukee", which will showcase the race cars used in the Vanderbilt racing era. He will decide in the next few days if he is going to go or not. The SD need some work to increase it oil pressure at idle. He needs about two lbs of pressure, right now he thinks there is less than one. Here is a link to the show. Vanderbilt Cup Centennial at the Miller Meet, July 6-7, 2012

Tomorrow I am going to work on the green Avanti's rear brakes. Going to readjust them and make sure that the emergency brake is adjusted too. Also going to check out the parking pawl on the transmission. It sometime catches, sometimes not. Going to clean up the linkage and see if that makes a difference.

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It is Wednesday, June 27th. Yesterday picked up the W8 Passat at the shop and Alice headed off for a couple of days. So I am left to my own devices. I was driving the 02 Trailblazer and she was looking really dirty after the winter. So treated her to a "full meal deal" at the local high end car wash. A team went over her outside and inside. Not perfect, but much better. So went I got home decided to finish the outside cleaning, detailing and a good wax job. That took all day. Still have the top to do, but she looks great. Starting to show her age, but after all she is a "farm" girl.

Today I hope to get on the Avanti with its brake adjustments.

And Greg is back on the net. so here is his report.

"After last week's massive lightning strike that evidently had fried anything electrical in our computer system. Surge protector be damned.

Lots to catch up on. I got in some time on Avanti 5054. Intermediate crossmember cleaned, primed, painted and installed. The stainless brake lines had arrived and the front ones in place. That meant the R-3 engine was ready to put back. Strapped to my homemade stand, it made the trip to the hangar on the hill by being strapped to the lift gate of our big truck. Drug the engine hoist behind the pickup. As of now the engine is out of the building and back in the car. Talked to the paint guy and he might take the car in the forseeable future, but don't start asking me when. He's had the doors , hood and trunk for eight months and he's "almost ready" to start on them. But I'm ready for him.

Meanwhile, that Glenn Miller got me stirred up the other morning. Casually mentions that the annual vintage race car celebration held by the Harry Miller Club was commemorating Milwaukee's anniversary of the 1912 Vanderbilt Cup race by featuring Vanderbilt era cars and there were already about a dozen pre '13 cars entered, including the Blitzen Benz twenty-some litre four cylinder chain drive Land Speed Record car. Why not bring the Stoddard? So in a flurry of broken communications and forwards, I've entered it too. Getting in under the wire, they limit it to sixty pre year engined vintage racers and there were fifty eight registered so far.

Neglected since last year's trip to the Indy and Springfield speedways, there's lots to do. A beautiful day today, I knocked off early to go get started on it. Seabiscuit seemed to enjoy the run as much as I did. The new and improved Rob Burchill was there to assist."






Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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Still Wednesday, but PM. Well, I had the best of intentions, but finishing the Trailblazer took five hours. I had to to the top, but then did a redo on the hood, removed scratches from the door where the dog had jumped out several times and glued several pieces of rubber seals that had ripped or come loose over time. Oh, and then cleaned and polished all the door jams to include the rear lifts. Oh well, it had to be done. The old girl, with 170K miles, was starting to look rather ragged. Now she is in her beauty again.

Was going to start on the Avanti PM, but it just got too hot, about 90 degrees. Tomorrow it is going to be almost 100 and about the same for the next several days.

But I started work on the Suburban when the sun started to go down. Got the vacuum out and cleaned out the rear area where I had hauled loose hay. What a mess. I have to get it all ready for Greg since it looks like he will be going on his road trip. Also the fan makes a wrrrrrrrring sound at times, especially at start up. I suspect that the thermostatic fan is about ready to go south. So I ordered a new Hayden HD fan, made in the good old USA. I don't know if I will get a chance to put it on, but at least I will have it in the truck for Greg in case the old one gives up the ghost on his trip.

So tomorrow I will spend a couple of hours in the morning doing the final clean up of the truck, and put on the mirror extensions. The trailer is ready to go, all I have to do is take out the 28 Buick and remove the supports from the underside so I can easily hook up the Suburban. I imagine that Greg will be going early next week.

Here are pics of the spit and polished Trailblazer. I have to post pics or I fear you all will lose interest.






Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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Still Wednesday. Surprise, surprise. Guess who showed up at the front door? It is Greg. He just stopped by to chat and to give his Avanti a little jaunt through the countryside.

On the Avanti, he said that it started to act up again and then noticed that the vacuum pressure gauge was going up and down erratically. He had a vacuum leak. He is running the R3 full pressurized box and does not have the hook up to take vacuum from the carb so he made up a t connection at the back of the engine where vacuum is pulled out of the intake. Well, the hose to the distributor vacuum advance was not tight enough and was leaking causing the distributor to act up.

Greg told us about the upcoming trip and show, and his plans to work on the Stoddard Dayton this weekend up in MD. I said why not haul it back to the shop where all your tools and resources are and avoid the four hour R/T each day. So we decided that I would hook up the trailer and we would head out tomorrow PM and pick up the SD. He is going early next week, probably around late Tuesday/early Wednesday. He figures that it will take him two days (800 miles) to get there. I told him just keep the truck and trailer at the hanger as I do not plan to use it. So after we pick up the SD, Greg will just drop me off at the farm and he will head home. Should be a fun day tomorrow, I am always ready for a road trip.

And am anxious to determine the Suburban's mileage with the big trailer on it, with and without a car inside. Want to see if the new K/N cold air filter system helps on the mileage. Pulling the Jaguar home from Muncie, IN in January I got about 9 mpg.

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Here are pics of the spit and polished Trailblazer. I have to post pics or I fear you all will lose interest.

I dion't remember if I wrote about it earlier: the Trailblazer was my last company car when I was at GM till 2002. I really cannot understand why this vehicle was not as successful as the old Blazer it replaced.

This Trailblazer is not in your signature!

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Roger, I hesitate to list my modern cars, but I have three of them. The Trailblazer has been a great little truck with the I6 engine. Plenty of power and comfortable for a truck. Has given me very little problems too. And we really need the 4x4 capability on the farm.

And just got the Greg report from last night. I will post it without comment other than I was in the pool.

"Real crazy night.

Sat down after work. The next thing I'm aware of is that I'm trying to get a melting Fudgsicle to my boss who's standing in his yard. He's pointing at the two squirrels that are following along. Then I'm awakened by a real squirrel who's scratching at the door, impatient to be fed a peanut. So then I stumble to where Seabiscuit waits. Trying to find a little bucking that occurs when at closed throttle, I check and tighten a couple vacuum hoses, possible culprits.

That calls for a test drive of course. Another beautiful evening so I find someone to bother. The Fesers. When I get there, the place is quiet. Real quiet. I ring the doorbell. Alice comes to the door, looks and me and laughs. She says "Wait a minute" and then I see her cross the room pick up John's clothes and throw them out the back door.

Yep, crazy night. He'd been "out back".

So I had a nice visit, Alice found some food to put in me and all we formulated a plan to go fetch the Stoddard .

A nice drive back to town, took the long way home.

Gee John, aren't you (and everybody else) glad there's no pictures tonight?!"

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Whew, John, glad to hear you have a pool! When I first read the newest email from Greg, I was trying to imagine (and that was somewhat painful) what, exactly, you were doing "out back" sans protective wear..........

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Yeah, Chris, some things you can't "un-see", even in your imagination.............

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It is Friday, June 29th. Gong to be hot and hotter over the next few days, over 100 degrees and more. Pool weather.

Had a busy time yesterday. Had to relocate the 28 Buick from the trailer to the garage and then the Avanti to outside storage. Then packed the Suburban with supplies and hooked up the trailer. All ready for Greg's trip next week.

So headed off to Greg's about 4 PM to pick up the Stoddard Dayton. We arrived two hours later, the traffic was terrible. Before I forget the mileage with the trailer empty was 11 mpg, with the car inside, 10 mpg. So the new K/N filter system does save about two miles per gallon. I would image that the mileage will be close to 11 for Greg if he runs on the freeway at about 55 mpg.

Arrived at Rob's garage and Greg immediately ran to the SD and started preparing her for starting. It has been about 8 months since she last ran. Not wanting to get in the way, I looked around Rob's cars. What a great collection. Mostly Chrysler products. Greg also had is Reo and International Harvester there. They are both unrestored and look beautiful with all their patina. I have attached some pics of the collections.

One car I really liked was a 1935 Dodge phaeton that was made in Australia. This body style was not made in the USA. What a great car. It is the green one in the pics.

Rob came home and we all pushed the SD into the sunlight. Rob worked the crank and Greg played with the choke, throttle and advance. The engine roared to life on the first pull of the crank. I could not believe it. I was not ready for it. Did take a short video of the start and running activity.

After visiting for a while we headed back to Greg's place and arrived about 9:45 PM. I parked the truck and to my surprise two gentlemen were at my door helping me out. Boy was I surprised. It was very dark and they were all in black. What!!!!!!!

They spoke quietly and said they were DOD employees running an exercise. Greg seemed to understand and I got back in the truck and pulled the truck and trailer back off the grass runway. They explained that they were practicing infiltration and extraction with a twin prop "Otter". de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

So Greg grabbed a couple of chairs and sat in the dark and waited for the plane to come in. And did it come in, over the tree tops, and quiet. No lights. It swooped in and landed, turned around and came back to where it touched down, dropped off a bunch of folks who ran into the woods, and gunned the engine and rolled out back into the night sky. All this and it was pitch black outside. One of the controllers came over and let us look through his night vision goggles. Now that was amazing.

With the activities over we left to let the troops do their thing in the woods and headed home. Long day, but full of adventure.












Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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Wow - great pictures of some great cars. And then, clandestine activities in the night! I hope I have as much fun when I retire, John! (if I ever get to!)

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I also took a short video of the start up of the 1911 Stoddard Dayton. Greg seems to be very pleased on how easily she started up. He was concerned about the low oil pressure at idle. He had the gauge rebuilt as it was filling with oil and it is now back on. He will warm up the engine in the next day or so to see if he has a better reading for him. He said that it does not need to show much pressure 2 to 3 lbs at idle. Anyway, hope that you enjoy the video.

1911 Stoddard Dayton Speedcar start up - YouTube

And just as we were leaving, Rob gave me a present from his collection. So I present my newest Jaguar XK 120.


Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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It is Saturday, June 30th. Quick update. We had a big storm last night, all power to the area is down, about 1.5 million folks. Our generator kicked on about 9 PM last night as the storm approached. The generator is still humming along this morning. Suppose to be hot again today with more storms in the PM.

Real high winds too, 80 mph. Lots of debris down. Looks to be little damage to our place, but have to get out and walk the fence line.

Got a call this morning that the girl llamas were down the road at our neighbor's farm. The wind had broken the hasp on the gate and blew it open, the great escape was on. Llamas gone wild. Six were wondering the roads. Found them and Alice walked them a half mile home. Glad that they are herd animals, get one following you and they all will come. They were happy to be back home from their little adventure.

Looks to be a very busy day. Nice this morning, but heat and storms are coming back this PM. Just another adventure.

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Rob is a generous soul, he gave me early Hupp and Cord models....and he has a Pierce Arrow hubcap that is used as an ashtray, which I tried to borrow permanently, but he wants to trade for another hubcap!!

Llosing Llamas is llousy, gllad you were ablle to corrall them again, llots of lloose llimbs and fences in that silllly storm.....

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It is Sunday, July 1st. Just got in Greg's weekend report. Looks like he had a tough time in the storm too.

"It began a wild and wooly weekend.

Friday evening we slipped out for dinner and almost didn't make it back in. Bad storm. Worst I've seen here in my twenty years. Winds in the neighborhood of eighty miles per, huge storm pattern with lightning activity on all sides of us. Pouring rain made it difficult to see the road and all secondary roads were blocked with downed trees and powerlines. After we returned to town to wait out the storm in a treeless parking lot, we then tried every back road, all of them closed and out of my hat I pulled an unauthorized shortcut through a neighboring conference center. A maze of roads in itself, every one of them was blocked with a downed tree. When we were finally stopped by one about a quarter mile of our own runway, I hiked back to the shop to get the pickup and my trusy tow rope. I've pulled everything except a car with it and this time it served well to drag that last tree out of the way. Saturday was spent in damage control. Power was off until Saturday evening.

Sunday was spend beginning to prepare the Stoddard for the trip this week. I've been wanting to try balancing the front wheels, so now is the opportunity. We have a lightweight homemade bubble balancer for trueing our hand carved propellers.

I got the idea to modify it to serve my purpose. A centering arbor was cut from a piece of wood to receive the sleeve for the props.

Things were looking like they might actually work out until the great weight of the Stoddard wheel broke the flange of the wooden plug. Plan B was to machine an aluminum washer to support the weight and then watch for the flimsy prop sleeve to fail. But it didn't.

A ball bearing inside the balance fixture allowed me to add weight to the light side as indicated by the bubble level.

I used what junk I had in my pockets to determine how much weight and where. Six ounces on one wheel, three on the other.

Now to find some stick on weights that I hope I can fit in the gap between the felloe and the rim. I marked each wheel and now they are installed on the car.


David Coco says the Model T guys are using some sort of liquid or powder that when introduced to the inner tube will automatically balance the wheel. I don't know anything about it.

Well, I guess there's a lot of cleaning to do, so back to the Dayton.

Ps, With some spare time on his hands (he was at work) I had Coco calucate the MPH per thousand RPM with the new 3.07 axle turning 225/75/15 Michelins on the maroon Avanti. 27 mph/perK

Lately just for grins, I gave him the Stoddard numbers. 36x4 tires on it's 2.6 axle is evidently a tad over 40 Mph/perK of the crankshaft."




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It is Tuesday, July 3rd. Another hot one today, and of course our new AC system says that it is sick. It gave up yesterday afternoon. At least it screamed before it died. I still have a little window AC unit so think I will put it back in the bedroom so at least one room will be cool.

And Greg is busy with getting the Stoddard Dayton ready for Milwaukee. He and Barbara leave tomorrow morning early. I told him to take a lot of pics too.

Here is his "getting ready" report from last night.

"Lots to do and time flying by. I found time to track down some wheel weights today. First tire store wouldn't sell any to me. They said try the nearby parts store. I said I already did and they didn't. He said try the one downtown where they get them when they're out. They had them but I'd have to buy a box the size of a brick just to get nine ounces. Then tried the local Firestone store and they came across. Didn't waste any time getting the money out at a dollar an ounce.

This evening I jacked it up, loosened the lugs and pulled the rim out far enough to reveal the channel that runs down the center of the rim. Just right to accept the weights. Did the same on the other side. It would have been a nice evening for a test drive but, I'm keeping the car in our shop/hangar. Any time I run the thing, after squirting fuel into the priming cups, a condition of starting is to tickle the carburetor which sprays fuel on everything. You do this until it runs out the bottom of the carburetor. That is your indication that it is rich enough to start. The excess fuel runs/drips into the belly pan. So what? This gasohol REEKS to high heaven and I work with the most sensitive noses on the planet. They gag, gasp, grab their throats and writhe on the floor like we've been attacked with mustard gas.

After running it in the building I have to aim an electric fan on the car for hours until it has dried off. So no road test.

Instead I spent some quality time installing screws that I hadn't, removing some masking tape from the dash that I'd used as an anti-chafe when I put the car together. Also, I guess the left outer seal in the rear axle isn't sealing. Gear oil finds its way to the hub cap and then down a spoke to the tire. A quick and dirty fix will be to put some thread sealant on the hub cap to keep it clean. A good plan thwarted by my lack of thread sealant. That's on my list for tomorrow.

I also cleaned all eight spark plugs. They were sooty, but not bad.


* Six ounces of wheel weights for left front.

*Three ounces of wheel weights for right front.

* Casting where the missing screws used to be.

*Left rear hub cap removed to expose axle drive dog and prepare threads for sealing in axle grease.

*Intake side of engine . Four spark plugs to extract.

*Find (Waldo) the spark plugs that need cleaning.

Actually, it is kindof neat to spend some time with the old thing after having it stored away since May last year."







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Happy 4th of July. Hope that you are or soon will be enjoying all the fireworks.

Got a note from Greg this morning that he and Barbara were off on their adventure to Milwaukee. Hope that the Suburban does not give them any difficulty. It will take them two days to get there so I do not expect to hear anything until Saturday.

We decided to get out this morning and head to the neighboring little town of Culpeper, VA for their annual car show. There were about 60 some cars there. Mostly hot rods or modified cars. But they look pretty good. Here are a few pics.

Not much else going on, just too hot and humid to do much outside other than to take care of the critters. We make sure they have lots of water and hose down those that want a cool shower.











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It is Thursday, July 5th. Did I mention that it is hot and getting hotter in the east? Even the pool is almost too hot to get into. Thinking of adding a couple of ice chunks to cool it down.

But Greg made it at 5:30 PM. Here is his very quick and short report. "Stopped over for the night near Indy and have just made it in to Milwaukee. Reception and cookout tonight and perhaps then we can get our orientation as to what is happening. Radio weather said current temp about 106*. Later."

Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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It is Friday, July 6th, PM. Just in. A report from Greg.

"Awesome day.

Got an early start this morning, had to be ready to line up for a group photo at the Milwaukee Mile track. Sixty cars the earliest being the Blitzen Benz from 1909 (land speed record holder until I think the twenties @ 140something) up to the Indy cars from the sixties.

After a driver's meeting where they announced the track rules, the track time was divided into speed limited segments, the Hot Laps reserved for firesuited and helmeted high speed cars. I was of course in the first group.

This event is a great opportunity to hop rides, so after Barb and I made a few trial laps, I 'd pull into the pits to exchange riders.

Steve Davidson who flew in from the West Coast for his, Lee Stohr from Staunton was on board when after we idled in the pits for a few minutes, took off again. That was when the Stoddard began to go back on me. On the back stretch it began kicking and bucking like it was running out of gas. I pulled into the infield , lifted the hood and found the culprit right away. The GASOHOL was visibly boiling in the glass float bowl. The track trouble truck was on us immediately and with no further need to punish the SD, we accepted a tow back to our parking spot.

That's when I was offered a ride in the 1911 Cutting with Glenn Miller at the wheel. Nothing like big inches, open exhaust and tall axle gears. After sitting for a while with the hood up, the SD was ready for more. Glenn and I took it out for a few more laps and I'm pleased to announce that last summer's steering overhaul and last week's wheel balancing act were well worth the effort.

We've gotten many compliments on the car's looks and how well it sounds as it pounds down the home stretch.

But today my biggest thrill was when watching Bill Evans pour some gas into the Blitzen, he asked me for any advice on why it was running so crappy. Didn't even make it around the track when he tried. Popped, cracked, backfired. I just pointed at the gas can and told him the GASOHOL story.

When he wanted to try it again, I marveled at the starting proceedure of it's 22 litre four cylinder aero engine, hand crank start of course (and I so admire him for expaining that the car will never have an electric starter added like so many are doing these days) .

It started with a backfire that scared everyone within a twelve block area, then settled down to the sound of four cannons going of in concert. I was glad to help install and buckle the hood and watch him launch, but then he motioned to me to get in and help. I was in it in less than a heartbeat and my job was to man the fuel pressure pump under my seat. By the way, the mech's seat is hardly a foot wide, so you have to sit sideways. In first gear, leaving the pit area he gagged it a little and the torque wanted to take us sideways. As we entered the merge lane he began giving it throttle and slipped it into second (of four) gears. That's when it began popping and cracking. To make sure I wasn't falling behind on my fuel pressure duties, I pumped faster. Although we were flying, he was disappointed that it wasn't running at it's best, claiming while making a hot lap at past Indianapolis festivities, that he'd gotten it to third gear and it lurched just as it had in the pits.

We made it around twice and it wouldn't straighten out, but I'd come to this event just to see and hear it run, and I wound up with two miles in it as crew. How awesome is that. We discussed the fuel problem and we concluded that if he could find some avgas, it might run in these temperatures.

Meanwhile, tonight is the banquet and tomorrow is another day.

Barb has been taking some photos, but they will have to come later.


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