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Old 09-04-2014, 09:38 AM   #1
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2005 16' International CCD
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Smile Building a Toad

After building a '55 Ford Sedan Delivery to tow our Airstream QuikSilver, we elected to trade the TT for an Airstream Interstate.

And we wanted a vehicle to tow when we travel.

So one brainless moment, I recommended to my wife we simply build a perfect toad.

It had to be:

1. Towable on all fours.
2. Sufficiently distinctive to compliment the AI.
3. Get great gas mileage.
4. Registered and equipped to meet all 50 states' regulations.
5. Two seater, roadster.
6. Front engine, rear drive with a manual transmission.
7. Towable for great distances without transmission damage.

Okay, folks, what am I missing if you were to build the perfect toad?

(The project is underway! Frame is welded up.)
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Old 09-04-2014, 10:16 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rapa Nui View Post
After building a '55 Ford Sedan Delivery to tow our Airstream QuikSilver, we elected to trade the TT for an Airstream Interstate.

And we wanted a vehicle to tow when we travel.

So one brainless moment, I recommended to my wife we simply build a perfect toad.

It had to be:

1. Towable on all fours.
2. Sufficiently distinctive to compliment the AI.
3. Get great gas mileage.
4. Registered and equipped to meet all 50 states' regulations.
5. Two seater, roadster.
6. Front engine, rear drive with a manual transmission.
7. Towable for great distances without transmission damage.

Okay, folks, what am I missing if you were to build the perfect toad?

(The project is underway! Frame is welded up.)
If it's to be a dedicated toad, you'll want a supplemental brake system built in, not one that you have to install in the driver's footwell every time you want to tow, and stow in the trunk every time you want to drive. Even if you keep the toad's GVWR below 3000# so the brakes aren't legally required (in most states), supplemental brakes are still a good idea if you're going to be towing in mountains.

Ditto towing lights (brake/turn/taillights) that are permanently installed, or else the car's own lights with relays so that they work off the car's controls or the umbilical cable.
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Old 09-04-2014, 11:55 AM   #3
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So on a side note, how do you register a scratch-built vehicle?

Reason I ask is that there are some very attractive diesel powered mid-sized trucks that are not sold in the US, and I have been told that it is useless to import them because they cannot be registered once they are here.
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Old 09-04-2014, 12:11 PM   #4
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Don't know about Texas, but here in California there is, or at least used to be, a provision for "special construction" such as street legal dune buggies and the like. Perhaps the easiest thing would be to check with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles or whatever it is called there.


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Old 09-04-2014, 12:28 PM   #5
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Building a Toad

Ford Highboy...

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Wait, bad gas mileage... Give me a minute.
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Somebody ought to clean these windows. There is a tremendous buildup of gook all over them...
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Old 09-04-2014, 12:33 PM   #6
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Here we go... Austin Healey Bug Eye Sprite.
Click image for larger version

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Or, since these are a bit difficult to find, maybe it's successor, the MG midget...

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I've got a red Midget... It's a bit of a contortion act getting in and out, but plenty of room once you're in.
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Old 09-04-2014, 12:58 PM   #7
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If you are building the frame all ready there must be a plan at work. Share what you have going and let us chime in with more details for you to add. The sky may be the limit around here tho.
Brother Pro. Made a good start above. I'll bet more good ideas pop up here.

Any pics of the 55 ford?

Cheers Richard

Ps. Interested in your Rapa Nui. Name? Have you visited there, a fan of the pacific islands, like me?
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Old 09-04-2014, 01:18 PM   #8
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Another thought… a grille with a mesh tight enough that gravel thrown up by the Interstate's tires won't penetrate to puncture the radiator or oil/transmission cooler. Because you need a certain total opening size for good airflow, a grille with a tight mesh (or closely-spaced rods, whatever) will need to be taller and/or wider to get the same cooling effect.

I have seen chrome or body-color grilles with large openings backed up by a discrete black plastic mesh with small openings to prevent penetration by stones, if appearance is an issue.
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Old 09-04-2014, 01:32 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Jim Foster View Post
Don't know about Texas, but here in California there is, or at least used to be, a provision for "special construction" such as street legal dune buggies and the like. Perhaps the easiest thing would be to check with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles or whatever it is called there. Sent from my iPhone using Airstream Forums
Also true in Texas. And everywhere, I think.
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Old 09-04-2014, 01:33 PM   #10
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Just curious: what tow vehicles are there that are standard transmission?
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Old 09-04-2014, 01:50 PM   #11
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Old 09-04-2014, 06:51 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
If it's to be a dedicated toad, you'll want a supplemental brake system built in, not one that you have to install in the driver's footwell every time you want to tow, and stow in the trunk every time you want to drive. Even if you keep the toad's GVWR below 3000# so the brakes aren't legally required (in most states), supplemental brakes are still a good idea if you're going to be towing in mountains.

Ditto towing lights (brake/turn/taillights) that are permanently installed, or else the car's own lights with relays so that they work off the car's controls or the umbilical cable.
Supplemental brake system built in now on the list.
Towing lights permanently installed now on the list.

Thanks Protagonist. You're tips are area always spot on.
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Old 09-04-2014, 06:56 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Belegedhel View Post
So on a side note, how do you register a scratch-built vehicle?

Reason I ask is that there are some very attractive diesel powered mid-sized trucks that are not sold in the US, and I have been told that it is useless to import them because they cannot be registered once they are here.
In Oregon, I've had to keep a complete list of all purchases to build the vehicle to prove they aren't stolen. This includes drive train and virtually everything else. The registration will be based on the engine serial number.

Naturally it has to meet the existing (at the time of the engine) exhaust and safety regulations with some additions such as seat belts.

Once registered in Oregon, it's legal everywhere else. It's a process, to be sure, but do-able.

As a lost resort, I'd have to buy a junked (clear title) vehicle and insist that the toad is a rebuild of that vehicle. Much easier, but somehow it smells to me like gaming the system.
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Old 09-04-2014, 06:58 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belegedhel View Post
So on a side note, how do you register a scratch-built vehicle?

Reason I ask is that there are some very attractive diesel powered mid-sized trucks that are not sold in the US, and I have been told that it is useless to import them because they cannot be registered once they are here.
True. With a rebuild of an existing already-approved vehicle, that's not a problem. And since I'm not a manufacturer, only a one-off builder, the law (Federal and State) ignore me. Well, except for NSA, of course.
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