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Old 04-27-2014, 06:11 PM   #1
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Toads for a Classic MH

I saw a 3-year old thread on toads for MHs and thought I'd do an update because we're looking for a toad now. What are people towing behind their Classics? I towed a 2003 Mini Cooper S -bright blue, 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive, about 2500 lbs curb weight. Four wheels down. We gave it to the newlyweds and they refuse to give it back!

My 345 has a soon-to-be-rebuilt carb, a Banks exhaust, and a 454 Chevy engine. I'm figuring that 2500 lbs. is about as high as I can go. I'd prefer a lighter car, preferably a newer hatchback. What are other people towing? And how much do your toads weigh? What would you think would be a good choice these days?

Any thoughts?
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Old 04-27-2014, 06:19 PM   #2
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Thanks for starting this thread. I know Raveson towed a Jeep Wrangler with his 345 everywhere, both with carb and then with TBI. Certain that Wrangler is over 3000lbs.
I purchased VW Golf to use as a toad, but realized I would need a tow dolly, as new VW's cannot be towed 4-down.
Really want something more than a tin can, and really don't want to go motorcycle/scooter route.
Be interesting to see what is discussed here.
Thanks, Derek
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Old 04-28-2014, 11:54 PM   #3
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I just returned from a 6 week 3,000 mile trip to Florida and Georgia towing a smart with my 270 turbo diesel. Looks like it cost me about 1 or 2 miles per gallon to tow the little car. About 12 to 14 without a towed and 10 to 13 while towing. The wind, hills, traffic and especially speed make a big difference. I try to stay between 58 and 61 MPH. The smart towed just fine and it was a pleasure to drive after herding the 270 down the road all day. I use a Blue Ox tow bar and base plate and for brakes the Blue Ox Patriot actuator with the brake-away switch kit. The smart weighs about 1,640 so even with tow equipment and fuel it is under the 2,000 pound Airstream owners manual limit. I do use a couple of light bungee cords on the steering wheel but they came off once and I didn't even notice the difference.
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Old 04-30-2014, 07:10 PM   #4
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I have been thinking about the Smart, but I'm concerned about safety and cargo, two kind of absurd concerns when discussing these little toads. I'm figuring they have to be front wheel drive, does it matter whether they're automatic or manual transmission? Sorry if this is a dumb question.

I've been doing some searching on the basis of curb weight, but most of the search results I'm getting are not up to date. Appears there the Toyota IQ and others. Anyone looked into any of these?
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Old 04-30-2014, 07:52 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Jenniflow View Post
I have been thinking about the Smart, but I'm concerned about safety and cargo, two kind of absurd concerns when discussing these little toads. I'm figuring they have to be front wheel drive, does it matter whether they're automatic or manual transmission? Sorry if this is a dumb question.

I've been doing some searching on the basis of curb weight, but most of the search results I'm getting are not up to date. Appears there the Toyota IQ and others. Anyone looked into any of these?

Don't be overly concerned about the safety of the smart. They are very highly rated by the insurance institute testing. The frame of the car completely surrounds the passengers.


They are rear engine, rear wheel drive. They are a manual transmission with a standard dry plate friction clutch. The difference is the clutch and shifting are actually done by electric motors that are controlled by the cars computer. The towing issue is the computer wants you to put the car in park before it will let you remove the key. Mother Mercedes is looking out for your safety. To tow 4 wheels down you have to make sure the car is in neutral and you have to leave the key in the car in the correct position.


As for cargo capacity we do all of our shopping including going to Costco in our smarts. We have taken several multi week trips with two of us and our luggage in a smart.


They are not dumb questions at all as smarts are not at all like the cars we are used to driving. And yes we have two smarts. We have an old pick up, the Airstream moho and everything else is an antique or classic.
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Old 04-30-2014, 09:28 PM   #6
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If I could import a couple of these I'd mount one on the front and one on the back. You can't beat it for weight.

Small wonder! In the world's tiniest car, Mailman drives straight to his desk | Mail Online

Actually this is the one I want to have as it will fit the wife as well.

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Old 04-30-2014, 09:51 PM   #7
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I've always heard Saturns were excellent towed cars. In fact Saturn designed the original S-series to be towed 4 down. Even the automatics. I've never towed a Saturn but I do drive one every day, and for all the grief people like to sling at them, they are nice little cars. Still a lot of cheep and still nice Saturns around.


As for a classic car to tow, how about a Corvair. You can tow an automatic Corvair 4 down as well.
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Old 04-30-2014, 11:18 PM   #8
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I want a carver!
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Old 04-30-2014, 11:20 PM   #9
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Great comments about the Smart. Never knew any if that. I'm going to test-drive one. I don't think a Saturn is for me but they do look roomy and practical. I just want a Carver, is that so wrong?
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Old 05-01-2014, 01:07 AM   #10
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Great comments about the Smart. Never knew any if that. I'm going to test-drive one. I don't think a Saturn is for me but they do look roomy and practical. I just want a Carver, is that so wrong?

I saw my first smart in Victoria, British Columbia and immediately decided I had to have one. Unfortunately they were not legal here. It took awhile but I got my first smart April 2006 and my second April 2007. They are European models with several significant differences from the U.S. models imported in 2008 but they are a great engineering accomplishment and really fun to drive. One last thing smart which stands for "Swatch Mercedes ART" is spelled with a lower case "s."
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Old 05-01-2014, 11:54 AM   #11
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I'm a fan of the first generation Honda Insights made from 2000-2005.
Proven Honda reliability.
Three cylinder, 1100 cc, front wheel drive, 1800 lbs, and ALL aluminum!
Tons of leg and head room even for someone well over six feet tall.
Handles like a sports car, 50-60 mpg.
Capable of, and very comfortable at well over 100mph if you like.
Will blow the doors off your smart car
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Old 05-01-2014, 03:08 PM   #12
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Toads for a Classic MH

Our 1985 Classic 345 with a Banks PowerPack and a transmission cooler pulls a 2007 Subaru Forester (standard transmission) with Blue Ox tow package and Easy Brake system. This configuration has made round trips from NJ to OR, South Padre Island, WI and Ontario, though climbing a few of the steeper mountain grades was slow. There is a trick or two about towing a Forester 4-wheels-down and living more or less happily with an Easy Brake, but once those are known and dealt with it's a 15-minute hookup.

We swear by Blue Ox, but probably would choose a different braking system if we had it to do over again.
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Old 05-01-2014, 04:51 PM   #13
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Searched high and low, wanted to get the lowest weight with automatic, found the Honda Fit works as an in town daily driver and great toad. Took a few highway trips in it and it handles ok but needs more sound blocking. MPG averaging 37. Cheap car with good record of problem free miles.
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Old 05-02-2014, 10:10 AM   #14
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I had forgotten about the Insights, I am definitely going to look into those. I like Honda. I towed a Mini that I loved, but I could feel the extra weight was a drag, especially on most grades.

Also, I was surprised to see that my Blue Ox is looking pretty rusty, the top layer is peeking right off so I'm not sure whether it has to be replaced and whether I had asked it to do too much. I wouldn't think that would be a factor but maybe it was.

I'll check in the Fit, too, but I suspect both it and the Forester are too heavy at this point.
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