HOME 1941 Packard 1949 MG TC 1951 Studebaker 1962 Centaurs 1963 Morris Minor 1972 Avanti
  1974 MGB-GT 1978 MGB-GT 1979 Motobecane 1986 Buick 1993 EV Warrior  

1972 Avanti II
One of 127 Built

RQB1803

350 GM V-8 w/Automatic
Air Conditioning
Tilt Wheel/Power Steering
Power Disc/Drum Brakes
Cruise Control/Power Windows
Blaupunkt AM/FM Stereo
Updated by the Avanti Factory in 1984

Prior Owners:
Tom Richards, Virginia Beach, VA - 1995-2020  Randy Jetton, Halls, TN - 1995
Rion Mac Connell, Dayton, OH - 1994

RESOURCE FILES:  Click to open. Right click the title and select 'Save As' to save a copy.

1963-64 Studebaker Avanti
Chassis and Body
Parts Catalog

Avanti II
Electrical DIagrams
August 1, 2022 - A little cleanup work on the manifolds tonight.  I bead blasted the left side manifold and painted it with high-temp manifold aluminum.  The left side had a heat riser still on it, though missing the flap, thus the longer studs.  I will probably replace all the studs to be safe.  Also, a friend pointed out that I can at least start the car with no exhaust - it will be loud, but I can get it running before I invest in an exhaust system.
July 23, 2022 - Not much progress on the Avanti but I made a major find today.  The new exhaust manifolds I had installed were 2.5 inch instead of the correct 2", and I was told by a respected expert that the Speedwell manifolds I had bought did not have the right exhaust angle.  I needed to find some early SBC 2" manifolds, or do some jury-rigging.  At my antique car club's annual swap meet today, I found just what I was looking for - mid-60s GM SBC ramshorn exhaust manifolds in great shape!  Now I can order an exhaust system.  The missing head pipe on the right side is only one issue - the rest is welded together with cherry bombs and of unknown age and condition.
January 30, 2022 - Tires and sunlight make for a much better picture for the parts car.  It backed up and down the driveway under its own power, but the brakes turned out to be pretty well useless, and the parking brake is seized up.  No cruise around the neighborhood after all.  That's OK.  I was able to get the car off jack stands and can start stripping and transferring parts to the 1972. The video of my exciting drive can be watched by clicking here!
January 29, 2022 - The parts car is now running on its own fuel pump.  I changed oil and filter, and it is showing 30 + psi oil pressure at hot idle.  The battery died, but was still under warranty, so I picked up a new one today.  Also, the new power steering hoses came in.  So far, everything purchased to get the parts car running will transfer to the 1972.  Once I am done checking out the parts car I can start the transfer of needed items to the 1972 and get it going. Well, one exception is the build sheet for the parts car, which I ordered from Nostalgic Motors - Avanti specialists. The car had similar equipment to the 1972, which was updated by the factory in 1984.  You can see the Build Sheet by clicking here
January 23, 2022 - The snow outside didn't matter much thanks to a torpedo heater in the garage.  I didn't do much over the weekend, but I did manage to get three of the four wheels/tires on the parts Avanti and ran it for a short time.  I also installed a new fuel line.  The old one had rusted together at the bottom and despite liberal soaking with penetrating oil, twisted the metal line.  I was able to pick up a new one pre-bent for $25 - not wasted since it will migrate to the 1972 when I am done with the parts car.  Of course, trying to disconnect the electric pump caused a big mess before I found something to catch the escaping fuel in.  I need to replace the inlet hose, but once that is done the mechanical pump should work fine. With a bit of luck, I should be able to drive the parts car around soon to test out the systems.
January 17, 2022 - Big event today - the parts car is running!  You can see the YouTube video by clicking HERE. The fuel pump didn't seem to be drawing fuel, so I hooked up an electric pump.  After a few tries, she started up and smoothed out with no smoke or leaks.  The transmission is shifting and the hubs are turning in gear.  No noises from the power steering pump or drive train.  I plan to get the wheels/tires back on the car and get it off the jack stands - with luck I can take it around the block once.  Best I can tell the car has a 305 V-8 based on the 17081207 Rochester Quadrajet carb.  That was the standard engine in 1981.  My 1972 has a 350, which is identical externally, so all the brackets and accessories will fit.
January 15, 2022 - The fourth tire went flat, just slower leaks than the other three.  I used the bead breaker and sealant and got it holding air. Then I rolled all four tires outside so I could give them a bath.  Certainly not perfect, but they look pretty decent and are actually in good condition.  I also cranked the car over a bit and got a fuel filter installed just ahead of the fuel pump.  The tank seems clean and the lines have some bad gas, but no obvious crud.  I'll blow them out with compressed air and see what I have.
January 11, 2022 - All four tires on the parts car were flat and held air for no more than an hour at best and maybe five minutes at worst.  Combined with the locked steering column and gearshift, it was a tribute to the fellow moving the car that he managed to get it to me at all.  I have since gotten the ignition switch replaced to free up the wheel and transmission, and had the 1972 Avanti's old tires mounted on the parts car's rims.  BUT - the rims were cruddy inside and three of the four tires were flat the first night.  Tonight I used a 1940s bead breaker, a new can of bead sealer, and a drill with a wire brush.  The tires needed to have both sides cleaned and sealed, and one even had a bad valve stem.  At the end of the evening, I had all four tires up and holding air reliably.  I even added fluid to the dry brake master cylinder and got a fairly decent pedal!  If the car starts and runs, I just might be able to drive it!
January 6, 2022 - The new tires were mounted today and look really nice.  I kept the old tires and will have them mounted on the parts car rims to get it off the ground.  The Mandrel wheels are in excellent condition and I like the look and fit.
January 4, 2022 - With the parts car steering and transmission unlocked, I need to get some tires on it that hold air.  I started looking for some used tires and realized I had the perfect set on the 1972 Avanti.  Too old to use, but holding air just fine.  I ordered new Cooper 215/70R15s from Discount Tire and will keep the old tires to put on the parts car.  (I marked each of the old tires 'KEEP' to hopefully avoid having them pitched by the tire store after they trashed a decent set of MGB tires a couple of years ago.)  Pulling the wheels of the 1972 was a good experience.  After the previous owner's less-than-honest behavior, I was a little dubious over his claims of having rebuilt the suspension.  Happily, it is all done as promised, with new bushings, hardware, and shocks front and rear.  The front is ready to have the Taylor disc setup installed as well.  Progress on both fronts.  The parts car will be easier to use and sell as a roller, and the 1972 needed new tires anyway.
January 2, 2022 - I got busy with the parts car today - first step was getting the steering and transmission unlocked.  O'Reilly's had the ignition lock cylinder and keys on the shelf for $15, and YouTube provided instructions.  With the ignition and transmission unlocked, I installed a good battery and tried switches until a click from the back indicated the latch had opened.  The engine cranked when I tried the starter, and after making sure it had oil, I got it to fire on a burst of starter fluid.  Next up I will pull the fuel hose and run a separate source before trying to get it running.
January 1, 2022 - The 1981 Avanti (VIN  12AAV1237B1003293) arrived tonight - it seems the car was less than cooperative, with the steering and transmission locked and the tires going flat pretty quickly.  Then the trailer ran over some landscape logs backing into my driveway and and got a tire punctured by a spike.  However, the car is safely installed in the garage now, nose-to-nose with my 1972.  Despite the long exposure to the elements, the car is surprisingly complete and intact, with a solid frame.  The notorious hog troughs are rotted away, as is to be expected.  Still, the parts car is probably in restorable condition - I'll try to keep it that way for someone else.  First order of business - get the ignition lock removed, and then get some junk tires so I can move it easily.
December 29, 2021 - Now that I have a 1/25 model kit, the logical thing to do is find a 1/1 kit, right?  Truth is, when I got the Avanti it had a lot of pieces and no instructions, or even a puzzle box picture to get the engine bay back together.  A pair of derelict Avantis recently appeared on the Avanti Facebook page - for sale on Marketplace just a couple of hours away.  I had no use for the early 1963 with no running gear, but the 1981 (advertise as a 1972) had a complete and untouched engine  compartment!  Better yet, a friend is restoring an early 1963 Avanti that was a perfect match for the other car.  We combined interests and bought the pair today.  He trailered his back immediately, but mine has to wait for a flatbed Saturday.  Starting the New Year off with another car - a great way to begin 2022!
October 23, 2021 - One of the items I like to get for any car I own is a model of some sort.  The Avanti proved to be a bit mroe difficult, for all of the kits and diecast cars out are the 1963 version with round headlights.  Even the 1964 had square frames but round headlights.  I went to a local model show today and almost missing seeing this AMT kit sitting on a table.  While it does show the 1963, one of the custom options is the square headlights of the later Avanti II!  Also, it includes customer wheels very similar to those on the car.  Best of all, it was complete and only $15. 
September 27, 2021 - I should be ashamed to call this progress, but seeing as it has been four months since I did anything to the Avanti at all, efforts today count as a major breakthrough.  The car had been sitting since 2003 when I bought it, and the engine was stuck.  I put some Kroil in the cylinders and got it to pull through a half-turn using a strap wrench on the crankshaft pulley bolt.  That was more than a year ago!  In what was literally a five-minute job today, I covered the engine to prevent oil from spraying the engine bay from the open spark plug holes and hooked up a jump box to the starter.  The engine spun smoothly with no issues or noises.  Another big check mark for the 'to-do' list.  If I can get the various linkages sorted out, I might even try to get it running before Christmas!
May 4, 2021 - Work on the Avanti pretty much stopped for months both because I could barely move in the garage, and a conflict between the thermostat housing and the oil filler tube threatened to force use of the Edelbrock manifold and carb.  Being mostly a purist for originality, I have never really modified a car before.  It turns out that while the Chevelle 283 manifold, carb, and distributor fit and will work fine on the 350 block, the 283 top radiator hose is on the right while the 350 exists to the left.  When a friend stopped by to see the car, he mentioned seeing an adjustable thermostat housing for small block Chevy engines that might solve the issue.  Sure enough, Amazon has a polished aluminum version for $20!  As you can see in the image above left, the stock 350 housing is offset, while the adjustable housing is straight up-and-down.  It fit great with only a slight deviation from the stock angle, which should allow the use of a formed rubber hose. And I have added a second garage and moved the Morris Minor out, allowing room to resume work.
November 22, 2020 - Work continues on the Avanti.  The new fuel pump and water pump are installed, along with carburetor studs.  The carb and distributor are just sitting in place for now, but they look good. There is an issue with the thermostat housing - the neck is blocked by the oil filler tube.  Something to work out.
November 21, 2020 - Finally, some progress on the Avanti!  The crate engine was looking decent when I got the car, and once I got the block stripped down, the inside was very tidy. With the manifolds all done, I cleaned the block and heads thoroughly, did some repainting, and then installed the intake and exhaust manifolds with new FelPro gaskets.  I also loosely installed the new polished aluminum valve covers - it may not run yet, but it looks pretty!  Next come the carburetor and distributor.  I have a new water pump and fuel pump to install as well. 
 

 

 

October 21, 2020 - It took nearly three months, but the Avanti is legally mine.  COVID restrictions have made the DMV an appointment-only organization with a two-month backlog.  I did cheat a bit, in that I got an October 9 appointment for the car but used that one for the 1951 Studebaker that I got back at the end of August.  Nice to have the paperwork done!
October 5, 2020 - Still mostly on hold with the Avanti while I get the 1951 Studebaker finished up. I should also get the Morris Minor project completed, as it only needs the master cylinder and one brake line.  However, I made a visit to the prior owner today and bought a pair of NOS Avanti logos that are no longer available. Despite my paying his full asking price, it turned out he held back quite a few parts to sell separately on Craigs List, including three sets of the headlight covers he told me had been lost. This was disappointing, as I had trusted his statement that everything was with the car.  He also threw out the original power steering hoses I had told him I wanted, but retained a new set to sell. Oh, well. I was happy to get the logos, as everything else is available. And it was a lesson in Latin that I've been lucky enough not to need most of of the time - 'Caveat Emptor' - or 'Let the buyer beware'!
September 4, 2020 - A little progress, if still only preparations.  I bead blasted the intake manifold and painted it and the new water pump gloss black.  The engine is already done up in that color, and it should look nice with the few bits of brightwork. In the meantime I have been getting the garage cleaned up so I have space to move around the car and the workbench.  I also need to sort and store my tools, which are scattered all over.
August 19, 2020 - The Avanti was modified both by the factory and the prior owner.   In 1984, the car was updated with square headlights and fiberglass bumpers, and the front-mounted parking and turn signal lights removed. Then the prior owner did some customization of his own, removing the fiberglass bumpers and mounting points.  He also cut the fiberglass front bumper to fit the recess between the front blades, retaining the factory parking/turn signal lamps.  Considering it would cost a good $3000 plus some additional fiberglass work to go back to the original chrome bumpers, I have decided to proceed with the previous owner's vision.  Using an image of a similarly modified Avanti, I  Photoshopped the wheels and color, and added the front center section and blanked out the front parking lights.  The result at left is pretty close to what I am hoping my Avanti will look like when I am done.
August 18, 2020 - Packages are arriving almost daily for the Avanti.  Today's delivery included the polished aluminum valve covers and breathers.  They join a new water pump, fuel pump, gaskets, and a Turner disc brake conversion kit, plus lots of other items.  The parts being reused are getting freshened up - like the fan and manifolds.  My plan is to reassemble the engine and do an oil flush, then see about getting it to start.  It should be fine, which is why I decided to go ahead and build the engine as if I didn't plan on taking it apart again.  At worst, I'll have clean parts to work with, and at best, I'll be done the first time!
August 13, 2020 - Most of the work on the Avanti so far has been disassembly.  With the engine freed up, I am getting things ready to put things back together.  One of my first purchases had nothing to do with practicality - new glass headlight covers to replace those missing on the car.  It just looked wrong without them. I also bought the buckets to convert the car back to its original round headlights, but still need bezels.  You can only tell I installed the cover by the glare in the photo, but it looks so much better to me now. I bead blasted the manifolds and removed the studs from one , but had a stud snap off in the other.  Car buddy Tyler is removing them for me, and also decking the manifolds, which turned out to be warped.  I went ahead and finished up the one with a coat of ceramic flat aluminum header paint - it looks a lot better!  One of the bigger overall issues I have faced with the Avanti is the updating done by the factory in 1984 and then the previous owner.  I found several cars on the internet that also had the bumperless design, but they looked incomplete.  The previous owner did a fantastic job fitting in a section of the later model fiberglass bumper between the front blades, which also has the parking lights built in. That makes the difference to me, so I am going to follow through and keep the smoothed look. Avantis are very personal cars, and it will make my already distinctive car stand out from other Avantis!  Best of all, it can be easily reversed.
August 6, 2020 - Now that the engine is freed up, I want to paint it and put it together with new gaskets and accessories.  That way I only have to take it back apart of the engine is bad, which I don't think it is. And that's just as well, because nothing seems to be attached properly!  Three bolts and no gaskets for either exhaust manifold, one bolt missing from the fan assembly and none of the water pump bolts tight.  Also, the suspension A-arm bushing bolts and cup washers are missing!  I'll need to check everything on the car to make sure the job is finished.  Still, the fasteners should all be standard and I wanted to replace most of them anyway.  The fuel pump wasn't on tight, but at least had both bolts snug.  All the parts are very cheap and available - I'll keep the old stuff as emergency spares.  Looks like the replacement 350 was black - I will probably repaint it Chevy orange as it would have been in 1972.
August 5, 2020 - Car Buddy Dan suggested using Kroil (a super penetrating oil) to free up the Avanti's engine, and provided some for me today.  However, when my neighbor John heard the plan, he produced his own can of Kroil for me to try on Monday.  I put a small amount in each cylinder, and was going to put another dose using Dan's supply tonight.  I had stopped off at Northern Tools to pick up a good strap wrench this morning, and decided to give it a try.  The engine turned with the first pull!  Now it's time to rotate the engine and put clean oil in, then start putting it back together! I have friends with a 1967 that I can get photos of, which will be a lot more helpful than trying to follow the factory manual.
August 1, 2020 - As I had pretty much expected, the Avanti's engine is stuck from sitting for what turned out to be about 17 years.  The prior owner sealed off the engine intake valley with newspaper from October 11, 2003.  It looks pretty clean inside, so I filled the intake ports on the heads with ATF and will do the same with the cylinders through the spark plug holes.  Once it has time to soak I'll work the engine until it frees up.  Expectations (or hopes) are high that I can get the engine back together and running.
July 31, 2020 - Weather reports for the weekend looked iffy at best, so I scrambled to make room in the garage and got the Avanti delivered today.  The seller got the car down off the jack stands for the first time in 20 years, and was very pleased by the results of his suspension work. He had lowered the front end slightly with new springs to restore the Studbaker Avanti 'rake' that the Avanti II folks had evened out.  The trip was made without incident, and I also brought home the boxes of removed parts.  The Avanti got the 'Kitty Seal of Approval' in the form of 'I'll punch you in the nose if you ever get rid of this car.'  Garage space is a little tight, but I can get in and out of both cars and have room to get around them and to my toolbox in the back.  Car skates are coming for both the Avanti and Morris that will let me move them around easily for better access.
July 29, 2020 - The Avanti seems to have been meant to be - Car club buddy Richard presented me with a major treasure trove today - the original 4-barrel manifold, carter 4-barrel carb, factory air cleaner assembly, and Delco distributor from a late 1960s Chevelle, all correct for the Avanti. Of all the parts, I am happiest about the original air cleaner, which can be very hard to find for a 4-barrel.  Best of all, the parts are in excellent shape, nearly new in condition.  I think a restored car was modified with aftermarket components.  This all means I can restore the Avanti to original specs, which makes me very happy!
July 28, 2020 - After watching the listing in Craigslist for many months, I finally had to go look at this 1972 Avanti. The car has been sitting for 20 years, and there was a good chance it was rotten underneath. But close inspection turned up a perfect chassis, nice interior, and crack-free body. The owner had done a lot of work to it in 1999 and 2000, then other things gradually took his interest and the car sat. At this point, the engine bay is down to the radiator and long bock, with all accessories and the manifold/carb to be attached. Wiring is loose, but undamaged, and the engine bay itself is cleaned and painted like new. The car started life green with velour seats and shag carpet (1972 chic), but the second owner took it back to the factory in 1984 to get updated as a replica of the factory black and white rally cars. The original special-order 400 ci engine was replaced with a more standard GM 350 crate engine, which is still plenty (pre-emissions) for the fiberglass sports coupe.  The main work will be reassembling the engine bay and the front brakes.  Most everything else is done. A bit of a scary project, but friends in my car club have Avantis I can look at for reference. And of course, I bought it. After all, I need another project!

Back to Home