Avanti R2, 1963, refresh

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Mike, thanks for you recollections. Great stuff. Re the Matheson engine. Greg said that he is waiting on a few parts from the plater so he can begin final assembly, which should be within the next month. I asked if it was still the plan to start it at the shop before shipping off. He said yes, but did not have an idea on how he was going to do that yet. The rest of the Matheson is ready out in the Northwest US someplace. So Greg's work on the engine is holding up the train and he knows it.

It is Tuesday, August 28th. The reason that David Coco wanted to go to Rob's car museum was to look at his 1909 REO. Rob wants a buggy top made for it to keep the sun off and a little rain if that happens. He also wants take to construct a front storm curtain to keep rain from the front. Kinda like a poor man's windshield. Rob loves taking the REO on tours, and he beams talking about it. A beautiful car. He also started it up. Started on the second pull and sprang into life. Here are some pics.

After looking at stuff and discussing old cars, Rob grabbed the keys to his 1954 Chrysler New Yorker, Deluxe, Newport. We had a great ten mile drive through the country side to the local diner for dinner. Great time. Here are a few pics of that car. Rode like a magic carpet.








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Benefits of AACA Membership.

Still Tuesday, PM. Alice headed off to Baltimore for a couple of days so decided to do some little stuff on the Jag. First up was to see if I could glue the windshield interior chrome strip on the center windshield post. I have to glue it as the rubber bracket will not hold it as it is bent. So thought the easiest thing to do is to glue it. So far, so good it is holding. See pics.

Then I tackled the missing knob on the header vent. I have one, but one is missing. I bought two, but only put on one, and will keep the other as a spare. I kept the old one that is still on there to keep the car as original as I can. See pics.







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Oh no, Alice is back home. She got about 45 minutes away and decided to close the sun roof of the Passat. Went half way and then did an auto retraction. Will not close and is in the full open position. So she traded cars and headed off in the Trailblazer. Now I have to stop on the Jag and figure out what is up with the Passat.

But I did get to put on a special style clip on the shifter boot. I asked a question on the Jag forum on where to get them. No one knew. Found them and let the group know that I was putting them on. That caused a furor of comments from, incorrect clamp, never any on there, etc. I even wrote the chief Jag judge and he confirmed that it should be there. So put it on.

So here are a few pics. I have also included a couple of pics from a restoration guide showing the clip. All I can say that it is ugly. They could have put on a nicer clip/clamp.

The new clamp is larger than the original, but the smaller one is unobtainium. So will use what is available.






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Roger, me too. I will live with it for a while and see if it grows on me. I am going to spend three days at Hershey so will look for something better and use this one when I am being judged at at show.

Oh, and fixed the Passat sunroof. I got out the emergency crank and closed the sunroof manually. Then tried a couple of times with the electric controls. Worked OK, just like normal. I figure some debris from the trees got in the track last night and got itself jammed in the tracks to the point that the auto kick back switch sensed an obstruction. So manually closing it cleared the tracks. So we are in good shape. Let the rains come.

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It is Wednesday morning, August 29th. Think I will pull the Jag out of the trailer and take a run with the pooch, Shadow. He loves to ride.

And here is Greg's report from last night.

"Lunkenheimers R Us. OK Baldwin, now for the hard part. I've got to get it boxed, addressed and taken to town for it's ride cross country.

Tonight I cut that last bowl gasket and assembled the exhaust regulator. Nowhere near as enjoyable as last night's excursion.

That was the result of an early morning call from friend Coco. "When are you ging to Rob's?". Found out I was going that very evening because Coco wanted to. As the day progressed, decided to call friend Feser. "Can you come out and play tonight?". He could, so we all met in different places and we were off to Rob's Auto Emporium near Frederick, Md.

Coco is pursuing a new career in early auto top and upholstery, is in the midst of maybe having some vintage fabric manufactured and Rob is in need of a top for his REO and also in the same building is my REO that has it's original top fabric for a comparison.

The four of us hung out for a while, then decided that dinner was a good idea, going in Rob's '54 Chrysler hemi hardtop was an even better idea.

A wonderful evening, all the windows down, (top would have come off it it would) and we took the old way into the diner.

I had the back seat on the way in and as we cruised along, I couldn't help but recall a long time ago when in my Dad's Packard, I'd lie on the rear package shelf and look up at the stars as we rolled along.

A great meal, still warm out, this time Coco had the back seat. As we rolled along into the night, he told us of the times when he was a child riding in his Dad's Olds. He'd get up on the package shelf and look up at the stars. These cars are time machines, and I guess Coco and I were riding on different package shelves together.

So last night was a terriffic night, four old car guys doing what we do best. Going out to eat and burning dead dinousaurs to do it."





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As John mentioned, I'm now retired, and will be looking to do some upholstery work in 2013 and on. My specialty is 1900's to 1930's open car tops and leather interiors. The Reo is this fall, along with a couple of Autocar tops.

Have a few jobs lined up now, will be pursuing more later, if you have a project coming up next year for trim work, and a shop on the East coast works for you, talk to me.

Also, we're working with Eric Haartz to do a run of reproduction Pantasote, black exterior with tan interior, something that's not available right now that I know of, but is a very correct material for a LOT of oughts to teens cars, particularly up to 1914 or so. If any interest let me know, it will be a limited run.

Thanks David Coco Winchester Va. david.coco@comcast.net 540-5332885

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Thanks for the info David. I highly recommend David for interior and top work for the teens and twentys something cars. First class work! David did the top for my 1923 McLaughlin Buick. Besides, David is a good friend and fellow car nut.

Still Wednesday. Was not going to post, but I received a couple of packages in the mail that I thought I would share. The first is four new knock-offs for the Jaguar. Mine are original and driver quality. I found these quality reproductions for not much money ($25 ea) so got them. My plan is to only use them for shows. I have ordered a special wood wrench to put them on and off, which will protect the chrome finish. I looked into having my originals fixed and replated. I was quoted $150 each. That estimate made my decision an easy on.

I also bought a repro parts book for the XK 120. A factory parts book is a requirement if you are putting a car back together. This is a copy from the Jaguar North American Club and was reprinted with permission from the Jaguar Heritage Trust in the UK.



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John - just got a chance to watch the YouTube videos. What a nice car - sounds great! In the third video I was very surprised to see that old bridge is still there! I thought they had replaced that - glad they haven't. If you go to that bridge at night and have a look down in the fields by the river bank you may make out several flickering lights here and there. Those would be the ghost Civil War encampments that many people have seen. Stories also abound about people hearing the distinct sounds of horses, soldiers, wagons, rumbling across that bridge. That's what they say, anyway - believe it if you want (I do!)

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It is Thursday morning, August 30th. Left the Jaguar out in the front of the house, so the cats used it as their high perch so spent the morning cleaning. Don't mind doing it as the car is so small and mostly flat so it is very easy to do.

About a year ago I bought one of those pocket video cameras from Kodak. Never have used it as I have been using my little digital camera in video mode. Not great quality for sure. So I dragged out the Kodak, read the instruction manual (go figure, I have never done that before) and made a walk-around video of the Jag and its engine. So I will post them here for your morning coffee.

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And just got this in from Greg. Great story.

"A brief recap of yesterday's progress.

I'd gotten a call the evening before from Roger. He's got the automatic transmission to overhaul, had it for a while. Now that he's got it apart, he said that it looked ok inside, but he'd like a new front pump assembly. That meant the search was on. I'd found one in the big Studebaker catalog, but felt more comfortable dealing with some of the "hands on" guys that deal in Studebaker parts.

Trying first thing in the morning, I couldn't raise any of them. Well, there was a supply company whose name kept coming up. Gave Northwest a call. When I asked about the availability of Studebaker pumps, the voice on the other end of the line obviously knew all about them. Lots of questions. How many teeth on the splined shaft, etc? They've got it all.

Since I didn't know the answers, and I wanted to keep Roger busy, I clocked out. Such a nice day demanded that I enlist the aid of Seabiscuit for the thirty mile run to the shop. Now that I've not only got the answers, but the pump has been boxed and shipped, I'm waiting to regain contact with Northwest with the particulars, and the order to get the pump coming.

Yes, I farmed out the overhaul. Not only to save time, but I've done it before, sort of. Back in '72 when I restored this car the first time, I was trying to do anything and everything myself. Good learning experience. With the transmission apart and the new replacement parts in hand, I reassembled it and considered myself pretty good to have done the rather specialized project. Shoved it back into the car to await the day to startup and go places.

When that day finallly came, I dropped it in gear ® and backed down our gravel driveway. Great! Dropped it in First. Away we went (gingerly) bumped it into Second and everything locked up and I blew the horn with my face. What the?! Back into R and back I went, shoved it into D and no dice. Drug the wheels in the gravel. At least with first gear working, I pulled it back into the garage, totally confused.

Since the Studebaker used the Borg Warner transmission as did Ford, I stopped by Lamar Sloan Ford to talk to their trans guy.

He said that I'd simply installed a sprag (one way clutch) in backwards. Easy to fix. Completely dismantle the transmission and turn it around, put it back together.

I found an easier way. Replace the transmission altogether.

So someday if you come to my estate sale and buy the really nicely restored Borg Warner AS2-10.........better go through it .

Now as for last night, that's worthy of an essay."



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OK, it is Friday, August 31st. I hope to tackle the bad pressure sensor in the Suburban. Has taken me a while to find the right socket to remove it so will make my first attempt today.

And Greg has given us a story from his past. Always great to hear or read Greg's adventures. As a note, Greg still has his Model A in storage. It maybe the next car he restores back to it former glory. You know the story of the Stoddard Dayton.

"Barbara is buying a new car! (Disclaimer! This is meant to be an observation, not a criticism and it may be considered by some to be gender sensitive. If you do...

tell it to Ollie North.)

I've been a car guy almost my entire life. Like, back to days when I'd slip away from school during recess to see how the guys down the street were doing on their forty Ford hot rod. Can't explain it, I've just been that way. Steam trains and airplanes always a factor, but always drawn to the turn of that last century.

And it didn't take long before I wanted an old car of my own. Santa didn't bring me the

'37 Terraplane sedan that I requested ( glad now) so the search was on. I joined the AACA in '62, so I then had a team of advisors in my search.

"Uncle" Dave Plank , the Model T guy, reluctantly offered me a '21 that he'd pulled from a collapsed barn for fifty dollars. Even though I liked it, when I got my Grandad to go with me to look at it, he, the old time garage man, staggered backward shaking his head. I still have the old photo of it in that shed on North Avenue.

John Jackson, always a mentor, said for me to go get that '29 Studebaker (President Roadster !) across from the airport. Two hundred and fifty dollars. Yeah right. Didn't even go look at it.

Then Bob Pierce . "How about a '30 Model A sedan and I could have it for one dollar and it was close to home. No brainer.

Beneath a tree for years, Bob had bought it for the spare overhauled motor.


In getting more towards the point of this, I went to check it out as it sat under a tree in Bob's back yard .

I took inventory of it.

* Engine - check


*sedan body - sortof

*top - no check

*wheels with tires - check

*air in tires - two out of four checks (but Bob would lend me some to get it home on)

Bonus!!, it did have a steering wheel.

As Bob towed it up the street to our driveway, my Dad had to stand on the frame rails and up through the missing top to steer it home. No floor, no seats.

This has been pretty much my method of evaluating the many cars I've bought in my time, although a two tone Avanti did teach me not to buy a car in the dark.

When I bought the Stoddard I was shown a catalog drawing for lack of dental records.


To be continued......."




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It is September 1st, Saturday. Woe is me. We took the Jag out last night to dinner and got about half way and the engine started to stumble. I pulled off to the side. I cycled the fuel pump and it was ticking like a machine gun. That means that it was not pulling fuel from the tank. We waited a minute or so and she restarted. We turned around and headed home.

Now I really do not trust that pump. I have written to a rebuilder so am awaiting a response. So in the interim I am going to install a Carter low pressure, in-line electric fuel pump. It will go in before the SU pump and will be a helper. I really did not want to do this, but nothing is reversible. I am not yet willing to spring for a new pump, which costs over $400. The Carter pump was $46 to my door.


Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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It is Wednesday, Sept. 5th. AM. Well, not much doing. Waiting for parts and the rain to stop. We have been getting bands of rain from Issac or what is left of him. I have been taking time to clean the Jaguar. Everything I can see and touch. Just about done. She looks great for the upcoming show.

And we got a note from Greg this morning. Just in time for my start of the day.

"It's been a busy Labor Day weekend, now it's time to get back to work. Now that summer's gone, winter schedule.

Part II, Barbara Buys a car.

So for the past couple years, my sidekick Barb has been looking to replace her car. She lives rurally-in fact on the edge of a battlefield from the days when Custer was ravaging our Shenandoah Valley. Not wanting to be stranded during snow events, she wants to step up to more than two wheel drive, a good idea.

Here's the hard part. When I mentioned to Scott abut how painful it is to watch a woman buy a car, he countered with

"No, its not watching them buy the car, it's making up their minds." Boy did he hit it on the head.

We've all had to suffer through the "shopping trip". Guys just do things differently. Take buying shoes. When we've finally worn completely through the soles of our most comfortable ones- we'll go for another pair. We walk down the aisle, pick out a pair (hopefully they had the kind we were wearing) and when the sales clerk asks "Do you wear medium or wide?", we say "Yeah , I think so." Then we go home.

Out to dinner- they'll scrutinize the menu forever, when the server arrives with pad and pencil, they are confronted with a barrage of questions. This past summer we even overheard one woman ask "Are the tomatoes vine ripened?" (oh sure, we grow them in a patch in the back parking lot - I"ll go pick some).

A guy ordering will glance at the menu and point at something.

Not only has Barb been studying cars on the internet, she's been out shopping. I think she knows every salesman in Northern Virginia by first name. And cars, cars, cars. That's all she talks about. Being totally ignorant on the subject of cars built since 1963, I just smile and nod as she goes on about the shortcomings compared to her police cruiser.

I've even gone with her when she's test driven a couple. She's thorough and knows what she wants. Magic carpet ride, great headlamps, some MPG, and comfortable seats. Plus AWD. Seems she's looking for a combination not easily found.

So the other night we go to look at another one. Found offered on the net, she'd been communicating with the guy. Arrangements were made and we went to see it. Although it had a little Safeway rash, it looked good as we spotted it in the parking lot. The owner appeared as we gave it a walkaround.

Barb had prepared a list of questions and she pulled it out. It unfurled like a cash register ribbon. Things I'd never think to ask. How old is the battery? How many times have you changed the coolant? She studied the service records, everything in the glovebox, even the original window sticker. Armed early on with the VIN, she had already contacted CarFax, even the manufacturer for information on the thing.

I found that my job was to inspect under the hood for leaks, color of the motor oil, and then in the parking lot, I was to take her flashlight and crawl under the car. "Look in the corners for signs of rust".

She idled the car with the AC on to see if it worked and for any overheating. She sat behind the wheel and turned every knob and pushed every button (although she did miss one). Tried all the windows, the sunroof operation, on and on. She'd brought a penny to check the tire tread with Lincoln's head, looked under the foormats.....

This was a real education for me.

Then the test drive. Finding a stretch in rush hour Northern Va to "get it up to speed" wasn't easy but we weren't turning around until we did. The road test went well.

After we were left alone to discuss things, she very cautiously decided to leave a hundred dollar deposit, which of course required a receipt. Worthy of an episode of Perry Mason, I'm amazed that a notary wasn't dragged out of bed, and that the serial numbers of the twenties weren't recorded.

Well, by now she's got the new car. It went straight to her mechanic to have a few things freshend up. Brake pads, trans fluid, some belts, etc.

Oh, and I was right, that button she missed was the horn and yes it does work.

Give me some time to come up with Part III The Epilogue."


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Friday, September 7th. Call me confused. Just received an update from Greg. Now I do not know if Barb did get a car. Sent Greg a note asking for clarification.

This is what I received from Greg. "Chapter III The Epilogue. Girls do things differently , they just can't help it.

So I guess the moral of this story is, if you intend to buy at the next Barrett-Jackson and need to take someone along to appraise..... I think you know who to choose. Me, I'd check to see if it had a steering wheel (although legend has it that Temple Baldwin once drove a Model A Ford mail truck from Flagstaff to San Diego without one. How did we ever manage before Vice Grips?)

This episode is another reminder of my old friend, the late "Big Al" Place - metalsmith and prophet who I worked alongside at White Post. He's another book.

One morning he had a pained look on his face and I asked what's wrong. "Oh, it's Margaret ...she's ovulating again" (?!)

he said with a sigh. "Just like a little bird getting ready to lay eggs, she's got to refeather the nest. We live in this tiny little house. The furniture will only fit one way, but we've got to move everything in the place to just put it back where it was."

"My back's killing me."

I wonder what Big Al would have to say about this current fad where the girls are scarring themselves up with this tattooing?

How in the world can they decide on what to get (it's kindof permanent ), and where to put it?

As for Barbara, I've already told her, show up with one, you're taking it right back!


And actually, I've been getting a little car work done as well as philosophizing.

The transmission guy needed another Avanti transmission front pump, got it coming. This morning he called to say it had arrived.

Avanti paint guy called this morning. Said he wasn't going to spray color today (another day of pouring drought). Maybe next week.

The Matheson engine cylinders are now at Lee's for a light honing. I made a trip over this evening for him to say he'd start tomorrow.

Tonight I applied the rubber seal to the Avanti 5054 trunk lid and also painted the white background for the backup lights."




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Oh, I almost forgot to comment on Barb's new car. Well done, Barb - everyone should be as thorough when making such a major purchase!

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Still Friday, PM. Wow, it is hot outside. Not much fun being outside on the farm.

I have been on the hunt for a Jaguar tool set for some months. I have seen a few, most over $1000 to a high of $1800. A bit to rich for my blood. Even individual wrenches are going for $50 to $100 each. I really need a tool kit so a week ago I bid on a kit in Denmark that had a low starting bid, so I bid. The winning bid was $330, and it was not me. I had reached the limit I wanted to spend.

To my surprise I received an email from the Seller. He has another set and would sell it to me for my bid price of $325. So I bit. Shipping was added in and the tool kit is on it way for $404. A good chunk of change, but necessary.

I am still missing a couple of items including a jack and a jack handle. I can buy a repo jack for about $200, but I think I will wait until I go to Hershey and see what I can find.

I also bought wood take off/on wrench for the wire wheel hubs. It should protect the new hubs that I bought recently.

Here are some pics. Tool kit in the red roll is an original. You can use it for reference to the black roll I purchased.






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It is Saturday, September 8th. Worked on the final detailing of the Jaguar for next week's show before it just got too hot and humid. Decided to put on the new knock-offs that I bought last week. The old ones were original to the car and pretty beat up and pitted as you might expect. It took about an hour to remove and replace all four. Boy, who ever put the old ones on they must have used a twenty pound sledge hammer. Those puppies were on tight. But I got them off and the new ones on. Put a little chrome polish on them too. Looks good now and completes the body. Here are some pics.

Expecting a huge storm this PM, will be interesting if we get hit.






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Still Saturday, but late, late. Almost Sunday, but Greg is hard at it. Here is his report.

"During my Friday, I did get that call from Lee who needed some sort of riser to adapt the Matheson engine cylinder to his power hone. We came up with a plan to use MDF compositon board for this temporary jig.

A scrap sheet of 3/4" MDF was cut into five 8 1/2" squares, a hole band sawed on their middles, and then glued into a stack.

Drying overnight, this morning I set the block on the milling maching to allow me to use the boring head to open up the center hole to accept the cylinder.

That led to a road trip to deliver the riser to Lee, that got him off my back. Also the trip was exteded to Roger's transmission shop where we dropped off the newly painted Avanti pan for the automatic transmission.

The nice part of the day made even better by exercising the Avanti.

Rob did make several calls from the Greenfield Village old car meet. His glowing reports only reminded me that "you can't be everyplace". Maybe next year."





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it is Sunday, PM, Sept 9th. Well, I washed the enclosed trailer today. Wow, that is a lot of surface area. At least it was all flat. And I put a coat of polish on the Jaguar. I think that my arms are about to fall off tonight. It is going to be a two aspirin night.

And Greg just sent me his weekend report. So some light reading before you head off to slumber-land.

"Today was a day to get a little more done on the black Avanti 5054. The painter might be getting color sprayed on the thing this week, so looking ahead to the day that it returns, I decided to bring the rear window out of storage and get it ready to install. Stripped the old rubber, scrubbed the glass inside and out. Then came the worst part. Buffing the stainless. Not a job for the novice and a very demanding job for the veteran. Nothing less than complete concentration and a good grip when holding a piece of steel spaghetti against a fast revolving buffing wheel. I've seen a lot of hard to replace things get mangled with the buffer, even when being polished by the best.

When the trim for the back window was done, I decided to press my luck and get some of the windshield strips done.

To further reduce some of the clutter in my bedroom, I withdrew the new rear window rubber gasket from storage and applied it to the glass. This one seems to be a better fit than the one I used on Seabiscuit, aka the Maroon Avanti


That's a bonus because that one required four attempts to get that window installed.

When 5054 comes back, there will be an effort to get the front and rear windows in place for their own safety.

Today's coolness is a further reminder that any work on the hilltop hanger will be drawing to a close, and......

Hershey is less than a month away."


Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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Hmmm...a timely post here, for me, since my window seals loom on the horizon. After I get the door locks straightened out and some interior cleaning done the windows are next up at bat. Not looking forward to it. I will be cleaning the stainless by hand, so I'm OK with not having to worry about sending a piece into the ceiling (or worse). I'm glad to see the pictures and how the rubber was installed on the glass. Is the next step installing the stainless? It will be interesting to see how those strips go on to the rubber.

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