Sunday, July 19, 2009

SDC Meet 2009 - A Few of the Custom Rides

Cedar Rapids, Iowa
A sampling of the customized
Studies at the show

Low Flying P38

Still not sure what this started life as....

Marshmellow Stretch

Hot Pink 'n White - No AC Needed

Bright Stude-A-Mino
(Photo Credits - Brad Bez)

Stude Notes - Questions and Answers

How's your restoration project or engine rebuild and tune-up coming along?

Are you hung up with a problem you can't solve?

Check out my Stude Notes. This is an ongoing column of Studebaker focused repair questions and answers and a bit more. You may find an answer to problems you're dealing with in my Notes. You can also email me with your question and I'll post an answer for you in the Stude Notes.

The back story: I've worked professionally in automotive repair and paint for 30+ years. You could say cars are in my genes. My grandfather, who emigrated from Bohemia, worked for Henry Ford. He made his way up to the top ranks of the Ford Motors tool and die department.

My Dad put me to work on his personal cars when I was 10. The first Stude I helped him with was a '54 Champion. From this starting point, there's a long list of Studebakers that my Dad and I bought, fixed up and sold. A few of the high points: a '50 Landcruiser, '53 Commander Hardtop, '58 Packard-Hawk, '56 Golden Hawk, '63 Daytona Wagonaire, '63 GT Hawk, '63 Daytona Lark. Add a '66 2+2 Pontiac Catalina and 4 Toronados into the mix and you get the picture... a family of bona-fide motor heads.

Today, I own and work on a '63 Avanti. This is one car that probably won't be sold anytime soon. My wife fell in love with it the first time she drove it and declared it as her car!! ...and you know, it never hurts to keep your women folk happy - grin!

Check out my Stude Notes.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Show Girl Shots

Bez '63 Avanti

These photos were taken in front of the Elgin Cottrell House in Clarksville, MO. This elegant old home is listed on the Natl' Register of Historic Preservation and has been carefully restored to it's former glory by Richard Cottrell, who also owns the Rose Cottage Antiques Shop located at Hwy 79. The house is open for tours. For more information, call Richard at 573-242-9688 or email him:

(Photo Credits - G Bez)

Friday, July 10, 2009

More Of Lew Shucart's Avanti Restoration

(Photo Credits - GBez)

Here's some back story on this Avanti provided by Lew.

"A little history here: This Avanti R-1250 is the first Avanti restoration attempt by Jon Myer. The original owner ran into a southern California highway bridge abutement and died. Jon Myer got the car, changed frames and mated the body back on the frame. Here's an original picture before Jon started his work, parked behind Jon's old house in the early 1970s in southern California."

"It was originally the 15th black Avanti built, and the first black car with a black interior. The original owner from Pennsylvania had it painted in the dark gold color you see in the above photo."

"The late Ron Hall towed it home to Chicago about the mid-1970s using a 64 lark convertible, now owned by former Turning Wheels editor Larry Swanson. He eventually sold it to another Chicago AOAI member and bought a white R2 Avanti that his wife drove, and later went on to Bonneville fame. I bought it from the other Chicago AOAI member, partially restored it and put 18,000 miles on up to now, when Brad is doing a full restoration."

Lew Schucart
Editor, Avanti Magazine

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Fly - nnnnnnnnn.........

(Photo credit - GBez)

My wife's rolling purse!
It's much prettier when she washes it. ;-)

1963 Avanti R1.
I bored the engine out to R3-A (299cu in)
with R3 spec' heads.
Dayton wire wheels and spinners. Originally an
Texas show car.
We're the 4th owners and still working on it.

My wife passed one of our neighbors awhile back, out on the road and when he finally caught up with her at the local post office, he asked, "Just how much deeper will that gas pedal go? Your car was purring with a low slow rumble when it went around me. There must be a lot more."

She just nodded yes and smiled at little speedy-gurl!

Bringing Her Back From the Edge

July 2009
In the shop with restoration work underway is Lew Shucart's 1963 Avanti. Lou is a dedicated fan of Studebakers. Not only does he own two Avantis and a Lark, he is also editor of the award winning Avanti Magazine, produced by Avanti Owners Association International, Inc. Lew's fine photography, magazine layout skills and his willingness to hunt down great stories about Studebakers, specifically Avantis has earned the magazine, over the past three years, two Golden Quill awards.

This Avanti was wrecked and repaired sometime before Lew bought it. According to Lew, the body had really been through a lot of hard use during its life...especially the accident. The original owner ran into a bridge abutment and died in the wreck.

Many of the previous repairs were coming apart, literally, at the seams. I removed the radiator (and fan and shroud) and straightened the core support by putting a hydraulic ram behind the support to push it forward. Because the top of the core is fixed, this had the effect of lowering the far end (towards fan) of the fan shroud by nearly 1/2 inch. That made the fan shroud pivot downward where it now it clears the hood.

I also placed 1/4 inch of shims above the support for added measure and to take stress off the cowl area. When I set the hood back on it lined up perfectly!

I had to re-fiberglass all of the previous repairs underneath as they were hanging loose in many areas. Some of them were applied over undercoating!

This fender had been replaced, but wasn't bonded to the outer edge of the foot well or the hog trough where it meets the rocker panel. I re-bonded this area and tied it together with fiberglass repair. It will be good to go for a long time.

It was impossible to adjust out the passenger door to make it fit flush with the fender, so I split the outer door skin apart from the inner shell. I then re-bonded these pieces and the door now fits correctly without any bondo filler.

The seam above the shackle box was cracked. I re-fiberglassed this area and smoothed out factory wobble in the original body surfacing.

(Photo Credit - all above photos - Brad Bez)

The rear panel was cracked from the corner of the trunk lid to the bumper bracket hole. I repaired this with new fiberglass and then skim coated it with polyester finishing glaze.

All the typical areas of wear, repair and then some....a lot of fiberglass and smoothing work on this old beauty.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Two Previous Brad Bez Restorations

1963 Studebaker Avanti R2
Owned by Paul, Brenda and Peter Miller

(Photos taken by Peter Miller)
This '63 Avanti received 398 judging points
out of the possible 400.

(Photo taken by Lew Shucart)
Dr. Miller's 1963 Avanti R2 on display in the Automotive Hall of Fame Dearborn, Michigan

(Photo credit - Peter Miller)
Avantis restored by Brad Bez consistently place in
Studebaker Drivers Club Shows.

Thom Gipe's Avanti

(Photo Credit - Gipe)
Thom, another Stude devotee edits a regional publication for St. Louis area Avanti enthusiasts. He does a great job with the Avanti Arrow Newsletter, as well as with his '83 Avanti. It's painted in Sterling Silver Blue with an Eagle Ottawa blue leather interior, has those sporty Recaro seats, a Nardi wood steering wheel, a moonroof and full power early 83 with chrome bumpers.

(Photo Credit - Gipe)
The car was in basic good shape as Thom had done a quite a lot of work on it, including putting in stainless steel hog troughs. I evened out the factory body wobbles (it had a lot of wash board), reset doors, hood and trunk gaps...did general body work before it went into the paint booth.

(Photo Credit - Gipe)