Summer and the heat have rolled in! Between the 96-100 degree days and vendor order delays, I'm experiencing a fair amount of frustration. Even though I put two of my orders in 7 months and a full year ago, I'm still waiting. Which has slowed the finish-up of the R3.
However, I continue to work - progressing soundly on the second restoration project - the R1. I've hopped up the engine in this car from the original R1 to an R2 (with blower) power house.
Here's a sneak peek at the car owners color choice, Ionized Bronze.
This '63 Avanti, owned by Lew Schucart (body work and paint by Brad) won one of two highly desirable red ribbons in the Class C judging. It is a Design of Distinction award, given at the invitation only 2011 Eyes on Design show in Grosse Ponte Shores, Michigan, which is held at the historic Edsel and Eleanor Ford home. The judges select two vehicles, in each class, to receive these awards, recognizing stylish appearance and uniqueness of design.
Congratulations, Lew! All your hard work in bringing this car back to her former glory girl beauty has definitely been noticed. The award is well deserved. It makes us proud to see an Avanti, Studebaker win this honor at such a prestigious auto show. Great job!!
Beautiful Sunday morning - perfect weather and not much traffic. Great for fulfilling David's request (Raymond Loewy's son-in-law) of taking the Loewy Avanti out for a spin to check the car's road worthiness. The mechanical repair work checked out fine. Good thing we did get this classic out on the road, because......
Those signature yellow headlights!
Big Bad BradHanging with the '76
Photo Credits - GBZ
As we toured through the tree shaded old home district, slowly cruising along the bricked streets, Brad hears a low rumble that shouldn't be a part of the normal car noise and we feel a mild vibration coming from under the car.
Back to the shop we go, the Avanti is up in the air on the hoist and within 5 minutes Brad has nailed down the noise/vibration cause. It is a worn slip yoke bushing on tail shaft on the Turbo 400 transmission. Within a half hour, he has the drive shaft and the extension housing of the tranny out of the car and cleaned. Just waiting on the new bushing and seal, which will be available and installed Monday morning. Then this car is good to go!
Raymond Loewy's personal 1976 Avanti. After storage and sitting on display (not running) for approximately 8 years, this historic Avanti is running again and almost road worthy.
New parts on the suspension and brakes, rebuilt carburator, boiled out - repaired radiator, inspected gas tank and filter, replaced hoses, checked for engine seize - turning first by hand, then gas primed carb and cranked it over. The engine ran rough for about the first 30 seconds due to the gas load-up in carb - then smoothed out. This is the Chevy engine that was put in later model Avantis - ready to rock and roll!
This Avanti arrived at the shop yesterday, brought down by transport from the Studebaker Museum in South Bend, Indiana. It's Raymond Loewy's personal Avanti. The car is in the care of the Loewy family and has been brought to me for preservation work.
The above photo, shared by David Hagerman,Raymond's son-in-law and director of Loewy Design is from the family archives. The late Laurence Loewy (Raymond's daughter) is seated behind the wheel for a photoshoot.
The stickers on the windshield are interesting. They include parking stickers from France, as the Loewys resided their later years in Monte Carlo. There's also a logo sticker from NASA Skylab Space Station (Loewy designed skylab interior).
More pix to come as I work on the car. To start, I'll restore mechanicals, replace old hoses, do clean-up work on the carb, etc. Generally, return it to good running condition. Minor bodywork and paint to follow. It's a honor to be asked to work on this historic car.
Every factory engine and transmission is aligned and dowel pinned at the factory. The dowel pins were missing from the previous engine work - approximately 20+ years ago. I checked the alignment and used oversize pins to hold the center line of both crankshaft and transmission. These have to be on the same plane or the flex-plate will crack and/or break and the front pump of the transmission will wear out or break.
Initial dyno engine readings = 377 HP - with the wrong carb.
Second dyno output = 394 hp on 93 octane pump gas with moded Edelbrock AVS.
404 hp with 122 octane racing fuel.
Reading 7 lbs boost at manifold (after carb). Which means around 9 at the blower. Boost dropped off higher than 5700 rpm.....at the limit of impeller design speed. We calculated 37,000 rpm at the impeller is too much - just won't produce boost above 35,000 rpm.
While tooling around the panhandle of Florida - enjoying the local scenery, our motorhead/car stuff radar went off. Look at this 'in progress' novelty. We found it sitting in the open doored garage of a gear-geek. We were tickled to make a pit stop and talk to him about his cars, trucks and more. All fiberglass - all hand-done.