TMCP #242: Blake Anderman – How To Do an LS Swap and Body Off Restoration of an Avanti In a Home Garage!

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Blake is doing a full body off restoration of the Avanti in his one car garage. Where there’s a will……
Blake Anderman's Garage
Blake Anderman’s Garage

This weeks interview is with 30-Year Old Production Engineer Blake Anderman. Blake lives in southern Louisiana and is working on a few different high level builds out of his 20×23 garage, using a system he developed to get the most work done possible out of a small work space. He reached out to me initially not to chat cars…but as a request I put out a podcast show for advice on places to eat in New Orleans (which I used)!

As I learned in the interview, Blake’s interest in cars actually came from a difficult start to his life. When he was young he battled Rhabdomyosarcoma cancer and was at the Saint Jude’s Childrens Hospital. As a method of distraction from time in the hospital, his dad brought model cars to build. As time went on his dad threw away the instructions to the models to make the build more interesting. This got Blake hooked on building cars and has followed him in life.

Blake told me that he restores and modifies cars as something for him to do relax, enjoy, and help others doing (helping people seems to be what he does best).

Since he does it at home he is stuck with the small garage that came with his suburban home. Being an engineer by trade, he has developed some interesting ways to get the job done inside a cramped space. He has tackled many projects like a Nova, Challenger, and a Camaro.

Blake’s LS swap in the Avanti looks factory like! He chose the LS to get better performance and drivability over the old GM 305, plus it’s lighter!

The current vehicle in the garage right now is a 1981 Avanti owned by a retired work colleague of his. These cars were originally produced by Studebaker and the early 1960’s but spun off into their own line when a couple of dealership owners decided to keep the car alive and kept making them from spare parts.

Like the Corvette, the Avanti is a fiberglass-body car over a fairly exotic frame and suspension setup (well, exotic by 1960’s standards).

The car Blake is working on was a classic case of things hidden to make a quick eBay buck. He has had to dig deep into the frame and body to even make the car safely driveable. Throughout the course he found hidden bondo patch after patch, found foam stuffed into holes that had been coated over, and (essentially) had to make the call of going from a few “nice updates” to a full blown restoration.

Of course he has a long history of LSX conversions and this Avanti is no different. Blake told me that some of the low end LS engines make excellent swap candidates and can make up to 600 horse power with simple mods like a turbo. He also gave me some tips for using HP Tuners to make LS engines work stand alone in older vehicles.

You can check out the Avanti build at or look up “Advantageous Avanti” on In his “spare time” Blake is also working on a ‘Cuda project cor himself called the Project Yellow Fin Hemi Cuda! If all goes well, you’ll see him wheeling that car this year as well.

You can reach Blake directly via

Thanks for the great interview Blake. I am looking forward to seeing what comes out of your garage next.

-Rob Kibbe


This interview sponsored by our pals at National Parts Depot
your premier source for muscle car restoration parts!


NPD Update with Kirk Hansen!

It is time once again the monthly “NPD Update” with my great friend Kirk Hansen, Marketing Director of National Parts Depot.

Previously on the NPD Update, Kirk asked for help from The Muscle Car Place listeners to determine the next line of parts that NPD should produce. People that wrote in with suggestions were entered into a contest to win an NPD T-shirt as well as a $100 NPD Gift Certificate (which was won by Dennis Russell from Florida – Congrats Dennis). Kirk told me there were some great suggestions including many requests for Nova, Falcon, Fairlane, and Corvette parts. He doubts Corvette will happen any time soon but Cougar parts are probably on the way.

The big news from NPD is that they will soon be carrying a special line of Royal Purple oil that contains the best zinc and additives on the market. While the line of oil you can get at your local big-box store is good….it’s not “the good stuff” that will be available through NPD. Like all things, NPD has vetted, tested, and selected the best-of-the-best! They’ll also continue to carry the standard do-it-yourself ZDP additives as well.

Thanks for the update, Kirk!

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