Carolina on My Mind

Updated: Oct 1, 2021

This 1963 Avanti - R2 - four speed came to the shop for freshening and some mechanical work, including the install of a new supercharger. As I dived in, it quickly became apparent that the car needed more work than expected to be safe or drivable. The owner wanted to keep the stock Avanti appearance with modern functionality.

The owner told me there was a leak on the rear main seal area on the crank and that the crank had been gouged by the previous mechanic. When I took the oil pan off to inspect the crank I discovered the crankshaft was gouged and scored. The bearings were worn out - grooved. The oil pump had a broken casting and was only held on by one ear and one bolt. I replaced the entire oil pump, cleaned the oil pan and removed the dents.

The carburator was rebuilt and sealed for a new supercharger install. Checked the hardened valve seats and there were none! Yes - a valve job was done, including new bronze guide liners, new valves and, of course, addition of the hardened seats. Also did a ring job - the oil ring tension was extreme because of incorrect expanders behind the rings. The valve covers were rechromed to bring back that old sparkle. The transmission collar had a big groove worn into it from too much clutch spring pressure. In the bell housing, the cross shaft that pushes on the throwout bearing had grooves worn into it where it enters the housing at the cast iron bushing. I replaced the clutch release shaft and put a new collar on the transmission. The fuel pump was rebuilt and a new clutch was put in the car. I added a complete new YNZ main wiring harness and LED instrument bulbs with an electronic dimmer. While the engine was out, I clean-smoothed the compartment and repainted it.

The dash pad was repaired and dyed and the gauges were refurbished. I had the original radio upgraded with a AM/FM five channel output with USB input and bluetooth input with microphone to pair with a phone for hands free calling. Freshly upholstered door panels were installed, detail cleaning of the front seat upholstery was done and the rear seats were re-dyed. The parcel shelf was cleaned, a new back half of headliner was installed and new carpet was put down. I rebuilt the steering column and the steering gear box. It was full of sand and rust. Power steering was also added. A new Hurst shifter was installed with a Dave Thiebault stock appearing shift handle. Brake lines were replaced using stainless steel - the entire braking system was inspected and new rear drums, shoes and hardware were installed. The front calipers were stainless sleeved with EBC Green Stuff Pads. Five new tires were added. Eventually, the owner will have the body work done and the car will be returned to it's original Avanti gold paint color.

When I took the car out for the first test drive, it wallowed down the road. No road feel at all. I replaced the shocks and re-adjusted the steering sensitivity - in this video, it drives and handles like an Avanti.

This Carolina bird is now winging it's way back to it's owner. This Avanti is a two generation car, handed down from father to son and filled with many family memories. An "in memorandum" plaque was made for the car and installed on the flat glovebox space in the engine compartment. Happy travels, little bird!

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