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Old 07-12-2016, 07:22 PM   #1
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Curious about vintage tow vehicles

While running the numbers on the capabilty of my current vehicles ability to tow my 69 sovereign 31ft., I was curious as to what they would have used back in 69.

I can't help but think that even the Trailblazer with a tow rating of 6700 lbs that we are using would be more capable than anything less than a 1 ton truck in 69.
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Old 07-12-2016, 08:07 PM   #2
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My parents 1973 Plymouth station wagon with a tow package and a 440 could tow 7500 pounds. The car itself weighed about 5000 pounds.
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Old 07-12-2016, 08:16 PM   #3
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Interesting. I mispoke in my earlier post. My Trailblazer is rated for 6400 lbs. It has a curb weight of 4600 lbs.

One of the major differences in new vehicles compared to vintage is stopping ability. The TB has 17" wheels with 4 wheel disk brakes.
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Old 07-12-2016, 08:35 PM   #4
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Win a few, loose a few...

My parents had a Plymouth Station Wagon with a 440, too! 8 kids, tailgate often down, flying down the road. If you lost a kid, or two,...well, that's the way it goes! Couldn't expect them all to survive! How times have changed!

Susan
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Old 07-12-2016, 08:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e5earley View Post
While running the numbers on the capabilty of my current vehicles ability to tow my 69 sovereign 31ft., I was curious as to what they would have used back in 69.

I can't help but think that even the Trailblazer with a tow rating of 6700 lbs that we are using would be more capable than anything less than a 1 ton truck in 69.
The modern car/truck has 45 years of evolution relative to your trailer's build date, and as you note it's mostly in the brakes that you see the huge improvement. The old-school trucks and station wagons had body-on-frame design, and the fact that they were generally not designed with computers meant that there was usually more 'build margin' in the frame, suspension, and running gear. Depending on the options that the vehicle was ordered with, the engines, transmissions and differentials could be such that towing a 5000 pound trailer was really not a big deal, provided that you watched your speed.

That's another big difference between then and now, I think... the roads then were such that it was less likely for a trailer to be pulled for hours on end at speeds over 60 MPH. And the gas mileage of the car or truck would have required you to stop every few hours anyway.

If I found a 1974 Ford full-size station wagon on Kijiji I'd be pretty tempted to pick it up as a perfect match for the Trade Wind... reinforce the frame and suspension with an eye to about 600 pounds of tongue weight, put in a big block crate engine and four wheel disc brakes, and we'd be good to go AND stop.
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Old 07-12-2016, 08:49 PM   #6
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Brings back memories! Our family had a Dodge 9-passenger wagon, and we filled it up! It had the 440 engine, fake wood grain side panels. Folks pulled a pop-up Apache camper. I can still smell that treated canvas!

My assigned seat was a cubbyhole between the middle and rear-facing seats, or I was on the fold-down armrest in the front seat. No seatbelt, of course.


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My parents had a Plymouth Station Wagon with a 440, too! 8 kids, tailgate often down, flying down the road. If you lost a kid, or two,...well, that's the way it goes! Couldn't expect them all to survive! How times have changed!

Susan




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Old 07-12-2016, 08:51 PM   #7
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If I had my vintage choice in tow vehicle I believe I would go with an old Dodge power wagon, or 80's suburban. Is 80's now considered vintage? Man I'm feeling old.

Towing with the TB was not too bad. Had no trouble getting up to and maintaining 55-60. Stopping wasn't an issue. Fuel mileage was a different story. It was like driving my old Chevy 1 ton with a 454. 6-7 mpg on average.
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Old 07-12-2016, 08:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulnGina View Post
Brings back memories! Our family had a Dodge 9-passenger wagon, and we filled it up! It had the 440 engine, fake wood grain side panels. Folks pulled a pop-up Apache camper. I can still smell that treated canvas!

My assigned seat was a cubbyhole between the middle and rear-facing seats, or I was on the fold-down armrest in the front seat. No seatbelt, of course.








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Although it was never a tow vehicle, my parents put many a mile on their 79 Lincoln Continental. Man that hood went forever. As kids we would either lay on the rear floorboard or the area below the rear window glass. I can still hear the sounds from the road coming through the floorboards.
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Old 07-12-2016, 09:04 PM   #9
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My dad towed a Catalina 22 sailboat at about 3,500 lbs with a 1973 VW Bus having about 80 horsepower. It went pretty slow.
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Old 07-12-2016, 09:59 PM   #10
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I had a customer with a '76 VW Bus pulling a tent trailer melt down the Catalytic Converter in 1976. It was not rated to pull it.

Back in 1969 a friend had a '68 Charger with a 440 that he used to pull a twin Chevy V-8 engined Chris Craft 31' wood cabin cruiser from Marina Del Ray over the 405 to the San Franando Valley and back a bunch of times. The Charger would haul a$$ over the pass at 75 mph with that boat.
At least it had front disc brakes to slow it down ....

One thing to do is check with your insurance co. about towing with a vintage vehicle to be sure they will cover it towing a vintage trailer.
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Old 07-12-2016, 10:27 PM   #11
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I spent my childhood in cars, trucks and vans. Think grapes of wrath backwards. My vehicle I currently tow with is a vintage Ford. Granted I only toodle around town with it, but its gone on long trips, too. I don't mind going slow, I'm am build for comfort, not for speed.
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Old 07-12-2016, 10:53 PM   #12
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This has need my TV for the last five years:



1985 Power Ram with a Cummins conversion. Is 32 years old vintage yet?

It has been a good rig. Only one breakdown, a transmission and TQ that already had over 265k on the clock when I pulled it from the donor truck. We still were able to pull home and then drive to the Trans shop.

I just bought a new TV for the quieter ride, AC, power windows (so don't have to pull over to adjust my little kids' window), and cup holders. Yes cup holders.

Having an old TV will certainly get you more attention, and there are plenty options that can do the job. I personally think a well appointed Jeep Grand Wagoneer 4x4 with a Cummins 4bt (4 cylender little sister to the venerable 5.9) would do the trick nicely.

Ultimately, bulding cool old iron comes down to time and money. For me I already had the donor and getting the crew was just a matter of asking grandma for the old truck before my cousins had the same idea and the. Retrieving it from the desert ranch it had sat at for a decade, but I still had a lot of hour and money, especially body and paint. There are a lot of ways to spend money on an old rig. I am keeping my old truck, but I will work on it, and spend on it, when I want to rather than have to to keep my daily driver and TV up to snuff.

There was a recent post of a members International Pickup that is cool for sure! I also like the old suburbans. Lastly, from experience a clean first gen Dodge makes a good TV (find a rare SLT with a standard and power windows locks and AC unlike the one I have .

For a 1969 specific rig. I like the Jeep Wagoneer or the Dodge Power Wagon Sweptline in a 4x4. They made a crew in that vintage too. There is a Dodge crew of that year in Burns Oregon sitting on a 3rd gen Cummins that is pretty trick. In 1971 Dodge made a "muscle truck" called The Dude. It was a standard can long bed, two wheel drive, with a 383 big block. Then again a am a Mopar guy. If I could bring myself to drive a Chevrolet, I suppose the C20 would be my choice. Also, in many of the older rigs a well built small block ought to drag your Airstream quite well and be a lot less money invested.

All of the above, and others like early 70s Chevs and GMCs, are all rising in price right now. Like our vintage Airstreams, there is a sentimentality and nostalgia that is bringing out higher demand from people who have the money to recapture memories.
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Old 07-12-2016, 11:35 PM   #13
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Shoot I was wrong on The Dude. It was launched in August of 69! There you go. Go hunt up one of the rarest Mopars, or build a clone, and drag your 69 Sovereign!
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Old 07-13-2016, 08:25 AM   #14
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In the sixties, drag racers used Chrysler, Dodge and Plymouth wagons with the 440 and Torqueflite to take their crew, race car and tools to the track. You could put six adults and a big cooler in the wagon. When racers switched from open to enclosed race car trailers, everybody went to crew cabs.
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