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Avenga's 1980 Avenger wagon

Started by avenga, September 30, 2017, 01:46:23 PM

Spark Plug cover options

A. The original covers
0 (0%)
B. Original with silver strips
1 (33.3%)
C. Blank spark plug cover
0 (0%)
D. Blank spark plug cover, with silver strips
0 (0%)
E. The blank rocker cover with the Chrysler badge
1 (33.3%)
F. The blank rocker cover with the Chrysler badge, with silver strips
1 (33.3%)

Total Members Voted: 3


Been up to heaps more adventures in the wagon.

Went down to Leadfoot Festival. There was a sweet Cortina wagon there. My wagon always gets mistaken for a Cortina so I couldn't help but take a photo of the two, what do you think? I can see why some people get confused, especially with how rare the Avenger wagons are.

Went camping at Wagnats in the wagon so did a last minute run to the camping store with the roof racks on

The funnest thing happened while I was at the mall. Somebody left a flyer for Seniors morning tea at the movies, along with her business card for a seniors taxi service. I found this freaking hilarious because I was going for that sleeper look. She probably thought I was an old grandpa going up to do my weekly shop in my old Avenger wagon with roof racks. I checked the whole car park and there wasn't any other flyers so I totally fooled her with the sleeper wagon :)

Packed up the back of the wagon for camping. Tons of room for everything.

Set up my camp site. The bed mode worked awesomely and just brought a little sun shade to go over the back of the tailgate.

Brought a spare wall for a tent that I could use as curtains to keep the car cool.

So many cool wagons

The camp ground was by a big river. Had so much fun, camped out for 5 days. You can see the wagons in the top left of the photo.

On the way back I got to test the "Service Due Soon" warning on my dash. It pops up after 4,500km. Once it goes over 5,000km then it will change to say "Service Immediately"

Next up it was time to do a bit more engine bay cleanup. I know what you are going to say, the engine bay already looks tidy as but I still wasn't 100% happy so I pulled off the rocker covers so I could vapour blast them.

The inside of the rocker covers have baffles on them which needed to be removed.

With the baffles and seals removed they were ready to vapour blast

The old baffles where riveted in so I had to grind them off and tap the rocker so we could screw the baffles back in.

While the rocker covers were away I could do a bit more work on the car. Brought a New Old Stock Hillman bumper.

One last look at the old Chrysler bumper vs the Hillman bumper. You can't really see how much smaller the hillman one is in photos but IRL the Hillman one looks tiny.

Removed the old bumper. It was a bit of a pain with all the fuel system and exhaust in the way

New bumper looks amazing!!

Got the rocker covers back from the vapour blasters. They look amazing

Screwed in the baffles using heaps of Loctite

Put the rockers back on and the engine is looking super sweet

Also at the same time I finally got that dent removed from the bonnet, and I painted the bonnet pins body colour, what do you guys think? at first I was unsure but it has grown on me.

Also got the dent on the engine bay repaired, fulled in a few more holes and repainted the engine bay.

Took the car out to the Brit and Euro show. It was a good day, hung out with the Hillman Humber club. On the way back, getting on to the motorway they have these traffic light, straight in to a 100kph zone, so you start side by side like a little drag strip, lined up beside a modern 911 turbo from the show and was neck and neck with it. Still amazed how quick the little wagon is.

Lastly I got some new tinted windows. Looks pretty sweet now, they aren't as dark as they look in photos.

1975 Hillman Avenger 1300 Super, 1972 Chrysler Valiant Charger 770, 1980 Chrysler Avenger 1.3GL
RPM Photography


I have been playing around with spark plug covers, trying to make the engine look less Toyota like. I wanted to do a quick poll to see what you guys think.

Vote up at the top of the page

A. The original covers

B. Some models had this silver strip on the bottom and top of the spark plug cover.

C. A hacked up blank spark plug cover, this is the cover from the other side without the "V8 FOUR CAM 32" This gives it a real clean look without the writing on it, but does it look too plain?

D. Same as above but with the top and bottom strips painted silver (Ignore the bad photo shop)

E. The blank rocker cover with the Chrysler badge that is normally on the bonnet of the Chrysler Avengers. This will really mess with people because it will look even less like a Toyota engine, I'm hoping it will fool enough people :)

F. The same as above but with the silver strips.

1975 Hillman Avenger 1300 Super, 1972 Chrysler Valiant Charger 770, 1980 Chrysler Avenger 1.3GL
RPM Photography


Tried the new idea of the painted fins IRL on the old "V8 Four CAM 32" covers. They look pretty sweet. Obliviously I would be doing them on the plain covers without the writing.

What do you guys think? I'm liking the one with out the silver strip at the top and bottom. The bottom one in this picture

And here it is back on the engine

This is my fav because it pops out more, without the writing I think it will look awesome

Almost reminds me on a BMW engine

1975 Hillman Avenger 1300 Super, 1972 Chrysler Valiant Charger 770, 1980 Chrysler Avenger 1.3GL
RPM Photography


Been having tons of adventures in the wagon.

Won a few more awards. Best 8 Cylinder at 4 and rotary jamboree

And my favourite, the "What the ?" award from the Automania festival. Pretty much sums up the wagon :) You put a V8 in what???

So, back to my adventures and what not. I decided on the spark plug cover look I liked the most so I went with just the plain black covers. It worked quite well because I had heaps more people asking what the engine is, so I guess it fools them just enough without the V8 FOUR CAM 32 badge on it

Before my trips I figured I would find a new brake pedal pad, I found it a hoot that it is a dodge truck part!

Looking sweet, I will have to get another for the clutch at some stage, they are both the same pad

So with the engine sorted and the brake pedal sussed I went for a cruise down to feilding for the 4 and rotary jamboree. I stayed at a sweet little B&B just outside of town.

Got to Manfeild on Saturday for the track day, super excited because it is the only track in NZ that I haven't done a track day on, so I can tick every track in NZ off my bucket list now.

Got out on track then on the first lap disaster stuck!!! The track had been used for field days the weekend before so it was super dirty, and the car in front of my chucked up a rock, smashing my windscreen!!!

I drove the rest of the lap with my hazards on and my head out the window. When I got back to the pits I gave my friend Jared (A.K.A Joker) a ring and got him to bring me a spare windscreen over from Dannevirke. While he was making his way over I drove down to the local glass place and got them to swap the windscreen over. I got some funny looks cruising down the main road of feilding with a busted windscreen in a V8 Avenger, it was only about 1km from the track so I just drove with my head out the windows.

Made it back to the track with the new windscreen just in time for the afternoon session.

As a thank you, I took Jared for a cruise around the track. It was quite a blast

My favourite picture of the wagon out on the track

Out on the track I had a bit of a lean backfire off throttle so I pulled the car off the track early and set it up in the show and shine,

After the show and shine I found the problem was the idle adjustment screws on the back right pair of throttle bodies had vibrated up so those throttle bodies weren't closing fully, fixed it in the car park.

On the way back home I stopped in at Horopito, AKA Smash Palace to get me some wagon parts.

They have a few Avengers there, 2 wagons and 4 or 5 saloons.

Got me a good haul of parts, got some rear bumper brackets to replace the ones I had to borrow from the 75 Avenger when I swapped to the NOS Hillman bumper on the wagon. Got me a tow bar because there is nothing cooler than a V8 Avenger wagon towing stuff, am I right?? And also a pedal box for a friend, and a new door card.

Got back home and gave the bumper brackets a good sand blast

Then painted them with black zinc paint

The next weekend I went off to a friends house warming down in Taupo, So I figured I would camp out in the wagon on his front lawn. I am really digging the wagon for camping. The bed mode is really comfy, so I think I might do that more often rather than staying at hotels.

On the way back up I meet up with the Hillman Humber club and we did a run out to a truck museum. Pretty good turn out. We had 3 Avengers there!!

Then the weekend after that I had the Automania festival!! I entered my wagon in the indoor show.

I figured I should actually get a photo with the bonnet down as 99% of the time it will have it's bonnet up, because V8!

I went with a nice little in car display of some of my old Avenger sales brochures. I especially like the one on the back of the drivers seat because it has all the original prices hand written and a dealers stamp on the front, it must have been kept all these years by someone who was thinking of buying one, it's either 1979 or 1980 so it's from the exact era of my wagon, and even has the van pricing on it, and that you only needed 30% deposit, rather than the 60% deposit you needed for a normal car or wagon.

I also entered my 1975 Avenger in the outdoor show. It was raining all day so my poor little Avenger Panther felt very unloved while it's younger brother sat warm and dry inside (Can you tell I have a favourite child at the moment?)

1975 Hillman Avenger 1300 Super, 1972 Chrysler Valiant Charger 770, 1980 Chrysler Avenger 1.3GL
RPM Photography


More adventures in my wagon.

Decided to break out the old DLSR camera and take some nice shots of the wagon, instead of just using my iPhone

Lots more car shows.

Went to the Waiau Pa Hop and Papakura Club car shows. Parked up with my mate Hamish in his 1978 Avenger GLS

Went to the Renegade Hot Rod and Custom Anzac show and one Best Other

Went up to Whangarei for the Rev Up show. Parted up with Kevin's 1979 Avenger, love the shade of green, it looks so beautiful in person

We then drove out to the Packard museum

The day after that I cruised over to Caffeine and classics with my neighbour Rob in his 1974 UK imported NZ new wagon. It his so interesting seeing them parked side by side. They almost don't even look like the same car. Mine is so much lower and as a result looks really wide, where his looks tall and skinny

Here is a good shot of how much lower mine is, and how big the back wheels are

With the wagons, the only thing they changed over the years were the front lights. Mine is a later model Chrysler and Rob's is an early hillman.

The wagons are super rare, there is only 28 left registered in New Zealand, including ones with their rego on hold, so I would guess that maybe half of them would be still on the road. So maybe just over a dozen left driving around. To see two of them parked next to each other like this would be extremely rare.

1975 Hillman Avenger 1300 Super, 1972 Chrysler Valiant Charger 770, 1980 Chrysler Avenger 1.3GL
RPM Photography


An exciting update this time!

My wagon was featured in this months NZ Performance Car Magazine (Issue 271). Definitely one ticked off the bucket list, I never thought I would have one of my cars featured in a magazine, so this is super exciting.

It's a really great 7 page article, it's out in stores now so pick up a copy if you get a chance, well worth the read

Back to upgrades on the wagon. Finally got my custom carpets installed. I brought a standard set of Avenger carpets from Autodec, then got them modified and installed by Supertrim.

It makes it look so much more finished now

The rear carpets didn't need to be modified, I only needed to customise the front for the bigger transmission tunnel

Also got carpets for the boot, and brought a bit extra to do the back of the rear seat

Got some New Old Stock tail lights from Ebay UK. The shipping was more than the lenses themselves! Ouch!

Also got some NOS clusters also

New tail lights installed. Looks really nice

Now that winter is coming? I wanted to figure out a way to still be able to show my engine bay at car shows but also keep rain out of the trumpets. I took one of my trumpets off and went down to the local hardware store to find a sink plug that fits the trumpets. They are 50mm trumpets which is a common size so I had a good selection of plugs, so I could find one that I liked.

I brought a little "Remove before flight" tag so I can just pull the chain and take them all off in one go, and also  it will remind me to take them off before I start the engine, not that the engine would start with them in place.

What do you guys think of the plugs? I might tighten up the chain, and also change the hoops on top of the plugs for something a bit smaller, like a little keyring.

1975 Hillman Avenger 1300 Super, 1972 Chrysler Valiant Charger 770, 1980 Chrysler Avenger 1.3GL
RPM Photography


Really fun weekend at the Kaspa Transmissions CAR-nival. It's a 3 day track meet with cruising, drags, drift, burnouts and racing.

The drag racing was super fun. The car was hooking up perfectly and I managed to win the drag racing tournament in the Naturally Aspirated class!! I was up against some tough competition in the form of a 300KW Holden Commodore, and 396ci big block Holden Premier and another big block HQ Holden. I also went up against a 323, Intgra Type R and an RX7 but that wasn't really a fair fight. I was quite surprised that I managed to beat the big block chevs, I guess it was just down to how light my wagon is and how well it hooks up.

Here is a video of all of my runs, I went undefeated 7-0 

And they had a sweet as trophy, I also won best engine bay but they didn't have the trophy there so they will send it out to me.

Had a real blast hooning around the track.

Went a bit too hard on the first day and wore out my brake pads. It was a total nightmare trying to find some Wilwood race pads at 4:30pm on a Friday in Taupo. None of the brake shops down there had any so I had to call around my friends and found one of them who had a close enough match, so I had to drive out to his place with pretty much no brakes and swap some pads over.

In the morning I had to go get the rotors skimmed.

The petrol stations loved me down there. The Avenger is pretty good on gas when you are on the road, but it chews through the gas on the track.

1975 Hillman Avenger 1300 Super, 1972 Chrysler Valiant Charger 770, 1980 Chrysler Avenger 1.3GL
RPM Photography