Thursday, July 9, 2009

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.

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