Snow Day Test Drive

Another Stude that’s been kept in the family. Richard inherited this Avanti which belonged to his Dad and brought it to me to fix the usual oil leak problems. We discovered the engine needed more than just fixing oil leaks. Bearings were worn, crankshaft was scratched, carb was sloppy and worn out – in other words the car was chugging. The engine had been replaced once before and was not an original Avanti engine. It was a standard 289.

After discussing it with Richard, he decided to replace the engine with a re-build-able full flow block with R3 headers. He also decided to upgrade the engine performance. I ported, polished the heads, re-used the .040 dish pistons, matched all the piston deck heights and had the block machined to accommodate the .006 deck height. I polished the crank to .010 with all new bearings and resurfaced the rocker arms. Added a new Avanti vibration dampner and a new Avanti water pump, a correct R1 fuel pump, Isky ST5  grind cam, new timing gears, new lifters, bronze valve guides, teflon valve seals, new valve springs. I cleaned out both rocker shafts and polished the connecting rod beams, matching their individual weights to within half a gram.

At this point, Richard decided to go further to upgrade the car for safety and have some needed cosmetic work done. The following is a run down of work done on his 63 Avanti R1:

Engine Rebuild

Wiring Modifications and Replacements
Rebuilt Front Suspension
Turner Brake Upgrade, Dual Diaphragm Chrome Power Booster and Cuprin Lines
Fabricated New Booster Mounting Bracket
Edelbrock Carb Install
Corvette Chromed Aluminum Dual Master Cylinder Lid
Replaced Rear Pinion Seal
AC Sanden Compressor with New Bracket
New Mechanical Brake Light Switch

LED Instrument Lights
MSD Ignition System with Chrysler Electronic Pickup Distributor
Repaired and Painted Steering Wheel
New Steering Gear Coupler
New Radio Install
Painted Dash and Steering Column
Battery Change-out to Group 52
Cleaned up – Painted Engine Compartment
New Stainless Exhaust System
Re-Chromed Valve Covers, Power Steering Lid, Front Bumper
Seat Mounting Repair
Door Adjustments


Handing the keys over to Richard, who was very excited to get behind the wheel. I followed him home in his ‘other’ car – was tickled to see he couldn’t talk through the “new engine” grin. Next up, after the holidays will be a transmission valve body repair/replacement on this car.