Avanti R2, 1963, refresh

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It is Thursday, August 2nd, PM. I have not heard anything from Greg. Just too busy I guess. But I did see the R5 engine over on the Studebaker forum. Here is the link. Pix from SB '12

We had another storm last night. This is what it looked like at sunset. Just an awesome sight.







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It is Friday, August 3rd, AM. Here is a report from Greg for your morning coffee. His first report from South Bend.

"From South Bend. The past few days have been busy and good. Weather cooperating so far, lots of Studebakers, and the best surprise is the number of old friends that I haven't seen in almost forty years.

Steve, not just the Dick Bennetts, but Bruce Slifer and family, and even Truett Ray from North Carolina. When bringing up our old days, I'm surprised at the number who remember my black Avanti, one conversation even recalled the meet at Indianapolis in '76. With great delight I was told that they recalled how when they were ushered onto the Indy track for a parade lap, we were given a speed limit of sixty. So with total disregard, they let'r rip. Another bystander was called over , as a young man he was in the back seat. When he recognized me he added that they were doing ninety and he look out the back to see me and old Blackie, Steve in his Seabiscuit closing the gap. That was just before we were flagged off the track. No sense of humor I guess.

I even met the guy who sold me that recent set of Halibrand wheels, in for the weekend from England.

Yesterday was setup for the engine display and a couple Avanti seminars, today was the show. I'd heard over five hundred cars, a major number of them Avantis.

Tomorrow's plans are for our visit to the Studebaker Museum, a shopping trip to the Studebaker International parts supermarket, So it's been nonstop Studebaker cars and people.

Saturday we hopefully get some time on the Studebaker Proving Grounds track. We got kicked off of that one too.

Yes, it's been a special event. Barb has taken some photos, she'll have to process and post them later.



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It is Saturday, August 4th. Heading our in the heat of the day to haul a ton of wood pellets. But Greg sent me a quick report.

Just a note to document that we have had a good morning. Just got back from the old Proving Grounds track. Although they had published that it would be available from 9 - 1, we got there at 9:30 and were among the last ones allowed onto the track. We had signed a form that specified a forty mile per hour speed limit and no passing.

Steve, you'd be proud of me. I didn't read it. It didn't take us long to catch up with the pack, surely I doubled the limit and might have passed a few.:} They allowed two laps.

Oh yeah,, and there were some people who had positioned themselves around the infield with their video camera. I'd sure like to have some of one guy's footage, especially the part where I dove down from the outside of the high banking to almost run over his feet.

We all parked on the infield for a few minutes, group photos taken and some good byes.

Seabiscuit , even in these temperatures and running on ethanol, has done exceptionally well this week, today the highlight,.

But all good things must come to an end. Car is loaded on the trailer with the R-5, we're heading out. Time to get home and back to work.

There will be some video of today's track time coming your way sometime.




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It is Tuesday, August 7th. The dog days of summer. Just plain hot, but not as bad as the midwest. And what did we do. Big sale of pre-season wood pellets for the stove. So we made a couple of trips with the horse trailer and picked up two tons. That is 100 40lb bags. Then we loaded them into the tractor bucket, 10 at a time, drove to the rear of the house, unloaded and stacked them. Let winter come!

Oh, got a note from Greg. All he said that he is too tired to write a report, but they made it back safely. Expect we will get a report later on in the week.

I also received a preliminary Jaguar Heritage report for review before they send me the final certificate. This report is great basic information and if you are going to have your car judged at any Jaguar show you must have it to document your car for authenticity.

The report reveals that the car is a Special Equipment Model and was painted Pastel Green with a red interior (check, check, check). It was built on the December 29th, 1952 and dispatched to the shipping company on January 3rd, 1953. It was delivered to the US distributor, Chas. Hornburg, Los Angeles, California. There is no record of the first owner.

According to oral history the first owner was a gentleman in Florida. I am waiting for some documentation from a previous owner so will see what that says.

I have spent some time over the past few days working on the Jag. Mainly cleaning and gluing. A number of interior parts are starting to loosen over time and require some tucking and gluing. Just piddly work, but it does make the interior more clean looking.

When I bought the car I told myself that I was not going to start collecting spare parts. Well, I guess I lied. Three SU carbs came up on Ebay for not much money. These came of a 1953 Jaguar in the early 70s according to the owner. Missing a few bits, but basically complete and sound. I am not going to do anything with them right now as my carbs are great. But you never know. I guess now I will have to start a Jaguar "box" in the garage. It will go next to the Buick boxes (about 15), Avanti (about 4) and Ford Taurus SHO (about 10). I need more room.

And here is a pic of the carbs.


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It is Wednesday, August 8th, and we have a report from Greg.

"Car 5054, where are you?

Even though Barbara has begun relaying trip photos, tonight I'll send current news.

While I was off to South Bend playing, my paint guy Jason has been working. I had dropped off the paint he needed to do the hood, doors and deck lid for old Blackie 5054 (Avanti). First thing Monday morning he called , I was to pick them up and bring the big piece! Although I'd been waiting since last October, I wasn't ready. Yesterday evening/night, I got more work done on the body. Used a cutoff wheel to gnaw the exhaust system off, struggled with removing the gas cap door, some other prep to have it ready to transport to his shop today. As of now the painted parts are temporarily stored in the main hangar

Covered up with things to do, I finally am taking the time to scrub the Miller Mile asphalt off the Stoddard's allwhites . I've been trying to get to this job for over a month now. You might think I'm wasting my time, it takes about an hour a tire, but everything in life has a cost, and I really like all whites on a pre-WWI car. They really make the difference.

Well, tires 3 , 1 to go."






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Still Wednesday, but PM. Driving the Jaguar at speed always bothered me as we felt naked without seat belts. A few weeks ago I bought a set of period style seat belts without the "Leaping Jaguar" on the buckle. The emblem will get you a deduction when being judged. Besides they were less expensive.

So with a bit of clouds to take the sting of the heat, I decided to see if I could install them. I pulled back the carpet and to my surprise I could see holes where seat belts must have been attached sometime in the past. So I decided to use the same holes, and all I had to do was to drill them larger for the brackets. A couple of the holes bumped up against the frame, but there was enough room to get on the big washers, lock washer and the big nut. So we now have seat belts, and I feel much more secure and a bit more safe.

Here are the pics.








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It is Thursday, August 9th, PM. Was on an airplane for six hours, not the most fun. But here is Greg's report from Wednesday.

"Still recovering from the trip. The Avanti body is out for paint, but there's a few pieces yet to go. I could paint them myself, but since they are exterior items, I'd rather Jason do them. I like the way he lays the paint down. Those items, cowl vents and the gas cap door needed to be cleaned and primed, so I took a few minutes to blast them with sand, hang them up and blow on a coat of epoxy primer.

Maybe tomorrow I'll drop them off.

Otherwise, my plan for this one is to keep it moving without a deadline , no express line. I really intend to get back on the long lost Matheson project. And did I mention that during the scramble to get ready for the Milwaukee and S. Bend meets, I really tore this place up. I've got a lot of cleaning and sorting to do around here.

That reminds me, I need to clean up the blast cabinet.

And if you were wondering if I still had my day job, enclosed is a pic of fixturing the Wright 8-60 for line boring the main bearing babbitts.




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It is Sunday, August 13th. We are in Seattle, WA visiting family and friends, great weather too. And Greg just sent me his weekend report. Too late for the east coast readers, but the west coasters are still up.

"Nice weekend with some things accomplished.

A little joyriding in the '21 Dodge too.

Enclosed photo of the hinges for Avanti 5054.

The door hinges have been disassembled for new pins and bushings, they, along with the hood and trunk lid hinges have been sandblasted, coated with epoxy primer. I'll order the repair parts. I could machine them, but they are available. I'm using the theory.......Time is money, but money buys time.

Speaking of time, it's time to clean the paint gun so it will be able to spray these parts with gloss black in a few days."


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It is Wednesday, August 15th. Oh boy! Our little vacation is about out and now we get to head home tomorrow. Having a great time, but do miss the farm. And Greg is back in the thick of it. Here is his report from last night.

"Tonight is a dark and stormy night, power was out for a while, so not much got done in the shop. However, here are some pics of another project in the works. Our own Bill Hadden has been enlisted to apply his talents in sorting out the decorations that were applied to the Due Cento Avanti. Using skills he's developed in the research of our Wright aircraft, he's computer analyzing some photos supplied by Dick Bennett.

Bill takes the photo, overlays a line drawing, and then using a program that determines where the lens was located that took that original photograph, he's using Old Seabiscuit as a full scale model to for dimensioning. He's applied a graph to the car, a grid of two inch squares. You'll notice that his tripod wasn't tall enough to duplicate the shot, we had to improvise.

The goal is to provide Dick with full scale templates and placement data for his restoration of the car.

Also is a pic showing that the large STP decal on the rear window was crooked.

Lots more to go, to be continued."







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It is Friday, August 17th. Arrived home last night from a week in Seattle. Had a great time seeing old friends from high school and college. Had two reunions. We also were able to visit the Chihuly glass exhibit. I was in awe of the colors and the size of the glass works. Here are a few pics.

And today I received the Jaguar's certificate. Also a couple of pics.

I also picked up the truck and trailer from its two month stay with Greg. I set the computer when I gave it to him so here are the results. Greg went 4,511 miles and used 474 gallons of fuel for an average of 9.5 mpg. He also averaged 43 miles per hours. Greg said that he had a great time.











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Chris, I know. Have received several emails wanted to know if everything was OK.

But it is early Saturday morning, like 1 AM. Cannot sleep, jet leg. But Greg is still working. Here is his report.

"After the Fesers stopped by this morning to retrieve their truck and trailer (he clocked me at 4511 miles and 474 gallons of gas for the two trips), I took a few minutes to check on 5054 progress. It's been sanded again, then the coat of epoxy primer I specified , and he's applied the first coat of his preferred sanding primer. With the application of color coats as soon as next week, he's asked me to get more of the gloss black and hardener. He used a half gallon on the doors, hood, trunk lid. So I'll run to Winchester tomorrow to get it. Don't want him to run out in the middle of the last coat.

It's looking good.

And your bonus photo for tonight. As of quitting time today, I've gotten another big chunk of the Wright 8-60 done. The main bearing have been align bored, now I've cut the many thrust faces of the bearings in the block iteself. I'm now able to lay the crankshaft in it's bearings for the first time. Next week I'll fit the caps and their bearings, perhaps mount the assembly in the Webb lathe and run them in.

This engine may actually appear out of thin air."





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It is Monday, August 20th. And we have a report from Greg.

Also I have started prepping the Jaguar for a big show in mid September. It is going to be it first showing in the big Jag community. I have entered her in the driven class. So over the next few weeks I will spend some time primping and cleaning. I have her in the trailer as it is the only place where the cats will not walk all over her.

On the way home from Greg's I noticed that the oil pressure gauge on the Suburban is pegged at full pressure so the sensor has probably failed. So ordered a new one yesterday. Now to figure out where it is located on the engine.

And I got a call from a friend of Greg's who lives close by. He is looking for someone to trailer his 1973 Bentley to White Post Restorations for brake and suspension work. I told him that I would take him in the enclosed trailer as it is all hooked up. So will do that this week. Should be fun. Never been to White Post before. Greg says they are restoring a Jaguar 120 so it will be great to look at that too.

And here is Greg's report from the weekend.

" Spent some down time this past weekend, a little under the weather. I did find time to finish one project, one that I'd been working in during lunch.

I have been looking for the proper rear axle snubbers for the Stoddard Dayton. No luck so I decided to just go ahead and make them. Studied the period photo with a magnifyer, sketched them out and then started hacking.

The brackets are 10 gauge steel that were cut, bent and drilled. The rubber cut and ground from a block that came in Friday's UPS.

Another check mark on the list."





Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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It is Wednesday, August 22nd, PM. Sorry that I have not written much. Been a busy few days, and Greg has not sent me a report.

But here is a recap. I have been working on a barn shed roof. The old one had started leaking due to water sitting on the shingles (not enough pitch), so decided to put a metal roof over the shingles. That has taken two full days. Here are a couple of pics.

And then this morning I picked up the old car to be taken to White Post Restorations, which is about 35 miles from me. I knew it was a Bentley, but since I have never seen a Bentley, I had no idea what to expect. So in comes a 1954 Midnight Blue Bentley model R. What a beautiful car. New paint and interior, but mechanicals are a bit of an issue. Bad brakes, leaking fuel pump, etc. Been with it current owner since 1970. So it is going to White Post for a mechanical refresh. Starts on the first pull and the engine sounds great. Here are a few pics.










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Even though it is local I had never been to White Post Restorations. What a facility, first class. The shop is organized by compartment (interior, body, paint, etc.) But each car has its own permanent stall and parts move in and out. It also has one dedicated mechanic responsible for car and its restoration. Lots of cars being worked on, Jags, Rolls Royce, Chryslers, Corvettes, etc. I did not go through the facility but will one of these days. Had to get back home. Of interest were five identical Chrysler limos being done for an owner in Saudi Arabia. All are receive a full, body off, restoration. They are almost done. Each had dual AC compressors. I took a few pics. I dare not ask what things cost, but looks like you get good value for your dollars. Oh, the Bentley is not scheduled for a work slot for another month. They just wanted it there to get it in the Que. Also met the owner and his son. Both were happy to talk cars and were interested in what I had too. Had a great time.










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It is Friday, August 24th, let's us say its early. The cry of a kitten woke me up at 1 AM. Alice's mom is sick and had been caring for a mom street cat and her kittens. Well, long story short. Alice brought home mom cat and her two kittens. They are now residing in the master bath. So it looks like we now have ten, yes I said, ten. A proper cat house for sure.

On the car side I had a fun afternoon putting in new rear shocks on the 02 Chev Trailblazer. She is my little workhorse with 175,000 miles on the odometer. Still going strong. But the rear end floating was getting to me. Always looking for a deal I spied a close out shock on Rock Auto for $13 ea. Only two left, so sprang into action and bought them. Today was the day to put them on. Not a hard job and had fun doing it. Now the Trailblazer is now back to it proper form.

And Greg is pressing ahead on his projects. Compared to Greg, my stuff is boring. Here is his report.

"Fast and furious week. Haven't been able to catch Jason at his shop to see progress on 5054. Maybe tomorrow. A project tarnishing in my IN BOX is the Lunkenheimer regulator from Idaho. It needs replacement parts and while the sample is here (on the Stoddard), better get reacquainted with it. Tonight I began whittlling brass.

Day job Wright 8-60 progressing nicely. The crank is fitted to the maiin bearings and I've test fitted the plastic prototype connecting rods. As of now, the engine is loosley reassembled for me to ponder while I return to one of the Wright fours, a repro 1910 type that needs to be finished and run.

Trying to stay ahead of the power curve here. Where do the days go?

Ps. There's more to report on the Due Cento lettering project, but not tonight."









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1956 Chrysler Crown Imperial Limousine, 175 built - 5 are being restored at White Post Restorations. Wow! That sure looks like a great place. The history of the vehicles they restore is mind boggling. Thanks for the info John. I have missed your "for your morning coffee" updates. Many good cups of coffee have gone cold on my desktop, waiting! You sure stay busy enjoying your "retirement!"

Thanks again. :-)


Edited by Woodfiddler
forgot to cross my i's and dot my t's (see edit history)

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Chuck, thanks for the comments. Only 175 built, pretty amazing to see five at one place. And four were pink and one was a pale apple green. Odd colors for sure.

It is Friday, August 24th, PM. OK, here are a couple of pics of cats 8, 9 and 10. Alice promises me "no more". Somehow I don't believe her. After all she rescued me.

Well, when Greg had the truck he said that the oil pressure gauge on the dash was pegged. I figured the sensor was bad so got one to replace the old one. So this afternoon, after going out and picking up and stacking another 35 bales of hay, I looked for the sensor. Did a search on Google and everyone said that the sensor is on the rear of the engine on the block, below the right head. After looking for ten minutes I could not find it. Not much room to look around either. So got out my mirror with the extension and looked around. OMG, that thing is buried down there. You cannot get your hand down there from the side, you have to lay across the front of the engine and go straight down. You cannot see a thing, so you can only go by feel.

After scraping up my hand and arm I can feel the sensor and the little clip that holds on the wires. So I do know that I can get the wires off. I am going to get a blanket and triple it up so I can lay atop the engine without busting anything. I have to find a long socket to get the old one out too. It is going to take some doing to get a socket down in there with long extensions and swivel. I just hope that I do not break off the plastic end. Oh well, tomorrow should be interesting.

Here are the pics of the new sensor and the engine bay getting closer where the sensor is.







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It is Sunday, PM, August 26th. It rained its brains out today. Almost tropical. We got over two inches in 12 hours. I did get some time in the trailer with the Jag. Polished the spinners on the wheels, the front bumpers, and rear light covers. They all look pretty good.

And I just got this weekend report from Greg.

"Ok, as promised here is an update on the computer study of the Due Cento Avanti artwork.

Dick Bennett, he's included a great closeup of a letter showing the burnishing of the guilding. You gotta like that one. There will be more to come as his time permits.

As for me, this past weekend was spent indoors dealing with the drought that we've been subjected to this summer. Again this weekend it has been coming down, not in buckets but washtubs. Got in more good time on the Lunkenheimer project and for myself, I've gotten a couple door hinges overhauled for 5054. Machine a rivet, let some paint dry and then I can get the others together and off the list.



Here's an update with some details so you can tell what's going on.

1 First, the basic dimensions of the car went into a simple CAD drawing- just enough to have something to compare to the photos. This let me move around the point of view in the computer until the drawing matched the 1964 picture. We were then able to set the camera in the right place to photograph your car from the same perspective. A little graph paper was taped to the car where the Studebaker artwork would be.

2 With the new photo laid out in CAD, the distorted grid pattern was traced and copied onto the 1964 photo.

3 This results in an image of how the grid would appear laid on the 1964 artwork.

4 Here's a 1964 Studebaker print ad showing a lettering style that looks a bit like what was used on the car.

5 Using photoshop, I have straightened each letter using the grid as a guide. Here I've overlaid the shape of the 'S' from the print ad (in yellow) on the straightened 'S' from the original artwork, and you can see the lettering is different.

6 There seems to be a dark boarder around each letter. Here's a rough idea of how the 'S' might have looked with a 1/8 inch black border, 5 3/8" letter height.

We'll do the same thing with the other period photo.









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It is Monday, August 27th, AM. Greg sent another report late last night. So I get to have it for my morning coffee. Here it is.

"A few loose minutes so I might as well bring you up to date.

Enclosed are pics of the Lunkenheimer exhaust regulator project. Shown is the machining of the poppet valve in the lathe and slotting it on the milling machine, and removing some corroded assembly screws. Also a shot of the various components. Make a few gaskets, find a fitting, and it will be done.

I know, what in heck is it for? Friend Baldwin sent it for me to restore. I don't know his plans for it, but I'm sure it will find itself on a 1910-12 era car of some sort. It's purpose in life is to receive exhaust from the exhaust manifold, cool and strain condensation from it, then adjust and regulate the pressure to be fed to the sealed fuel tank. The resulting pound or so of pressure then forces the fuel from the tank to the carburetor. You might say the thing is a hot fuel pump.

Prone to being choked with carbon and tempormental, I'd suspect that they are so very rare because they likely were removed and pitched into the nearest lake. These things are nearly impossible to find .

Another photo shows the disassembled door hinges for my 5054 Avanti. I've got two of them back together, the upper ones to go.

I looked in on the car Friday. Coming along, he says it might be ready to come home from the paint shop in a couple weeks. He's usually optimistic."







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Still Monday, late, in fact almost Tuesday. Just got home from Rob's place in MD. Greg called and said that he and David Coco (trimacar on this forum) were going to go see Rob and his projects, and did I want to tag along? I checked with the boss and she said OK. So it is boys night out. We had a great time and will tell you what Rob is up to tomorrow. But Greg's Studebaker R5 was there and so here are the pics. One awesome engine for sure.








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The Lunkenheimer exhaust pump/regulator is interesting. They were standard equipment on several brands of 1909-12 era brass cars. I know they were found on Loziers of that era, both the four and six cylinder versions. Many, many years ago a former Lozier owner, Dr. Russell Hunsberger had a 1909 Lozier Briarcliff and needed one to restore his Lozier. Unable to find one, he had patterns made and reproduced a few and sold them. I don't know how many he had made and whatever happened to the patterns. He has passed on, and I checked into the parts and pieces he had left after his Lozier was sold....nothing found.

My 1913 Lozier also needs air pressure to force gas to the carb since the tank is lower than the carb. In 1913 Lozier utilized a valve lifter to provide the few pounds of air pressure to accomplish this. You are correct in stating carbon caused the Lunkenheimer to clog. They are next impossible to find today.

I really like reading your posts, but I must ask what is the current status of the Matheson motor? Thanks!

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