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Old 01-21-2007, 05:12 PM   #1
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1960s or 70s Stationwagon tow vehicle?

Hi guys,

I just finished watching Barrett-Jackson and it got me longing for a 1960s or early 70s stationwagon. I was just wondering if a full-sized stationwagon of this era would be able to pull a 31 foot Airstream? Let me know what your thought s are?

Rod
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Old 01-21-2007, 05:20 PM   #2
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I too have been watching BJ. That all white 57 Olds with the split rear window got my attention. I recall the first time I saw one in Toronto in 1957. Really liked it even at the age of 7 years old.

Back in the 60's our friends towed their 27' International with a 67 Plymouth Fury 2 door hardtop (383ci).
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Old 01-21-2007, 07:24 PM   #3
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Hello Rod ,

Your talking my language .I tow with a 68 IH travelall like they did back in Wally Byams caravans.Im big on the vintage station wagon TV for sure.
In my youth ,we had a 63 ford ranch wagon 390 v-8 ,very fond memories.
I owned a 68 biscayne chevy wagon (307 V-8 abit too small for towing )
but good sized wagon.A big favorite of mine a 1971 LTD country squire wagon we had (green) not my favorite color but it had the 429 V-8 and had plenty of power .Go to vintage tow vehicals on the forums (search function )Safari57 has a 57 pontiac safari ,and there are some really good photos of vintage vehicals and a red and white ford 57 ranch wagon as well .

Great fun !!


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Old 01-21-2007, 07:30 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 72Blazerod
Hi guys,

I just finished watching Barrett-Jackson and it got me longing for a 1960s or early 70s stationwagon. I was just wondering if a full-sized stationwagon of this era would be able to pull a 31 foot Airstream? Let me know what your thought s are?

Rod
Rod,
I suspect with some strategic upgrading the answer would be yes. My great uncle pulled his Sovereign with a Big Buick Road Monster for several years. There is one member on here Overlander64 IIRC that tows with a classic car. I think he pulls a smaller trailer but the principle is the same.

Aaron

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Old 01-21-2007, 07:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 72Blazerod
Hi guys,

I just finished watching Barrett-Jackson and it got me longing for a 1960s or early 70s stationwagon. I was just wondering if a full-sized stationwagon of this era would be able to pull a 31 foot Airstream? Let me know what your thought s are?

Rod
Rod,

I use a 1977 Lincoln Continental to pull our 1979 23' Safari. We also pulled our, in desparate need of rehab, 1954 29' Liner from Tampa to So Cal with it. From the 1950's to 1980's, the tow vehicle of choice was a full size car.

Bill
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Old 01-21-2007, 07:58 PM   #6
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Yes you can

I had posted a friends 62 Impala wagon for a while here and only recently removed it. He still selling it. He did many things to upgrade, modernize and make safer the drive rain and suspension for pulling his 31' AS and then hi 40" Royal Spartanette. Can't find the disc with the pics on it right now, but if interested PM me, I'll get you his contact info.
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Old 01-21-2007, 08:05 PM   #7
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They did and still can!

Rod,

The answer would be "yes". That is what they use to pull the trailers with back in that era. They did not use F-350 diesel truck and SUVs. If you step back and look at it, the reason why we use these "larger" trucks of today is beacuse they are equal to the big cars of the past when it comes to frames and engines. The passenger cars of today don't have the frame or weight of the cars of the past. I use a 1962 Galaxie Conv. 390/4speed or a 1968 IH Travelall 1000C to pull. I also have a 2002 Excursion diesel for the long haul in a hurry trips.

I also have a 1978 Ford Country Squire Wagon (the last of the big ones) that I'm trying to decide if I want to make a hitch for it. It has a 351 auto trans, and I'm sure will do fine. I'd rather have the larger engine, but I feel the 351 will be OK for most trips.

I'd suggest going over the car of choice. Either rebuild or replace a bunch of stuff before starting out. If you don't, you will be doing the rebuild or replace on the side of the road or in a town where you know no one.
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Old 01-21-2007, 08:16 PM   #8
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I did upgrade the travelall to front disc brakes and retro fitted some good
sway bars and dual shocks as well .Although I did tow for a few years with the drum brakes in the front 12" in size ,the 12" discs do a fantastic job
in the stopping department ,some good upgrades can be implemented .

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Old 01-21-2007, 08:40 PM   #9
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WOW! Thanks for the quick replies! Keep them coming! Scottanlily, the one wagon that you mentioned that really stood out for me was the 1971 Ford LTD Country Squire. My dad had one of those too when we were kids. It was a 400M, 9 passenger, white with black/blue plaid cloth interior, power windows, 8-track, but NO A/C. I remember taking that wagon down to Disneyland back in 1977. That was a hot ride without any A/C. With the windows down, it was like being inside a blow dyrer. I remember another time when we were pulling our tent trailer (it was a beast at about 3500lbs), we were on a nice long, straight stretch when my dad looks over and says to me, "Do think think we can get it up to 100(mph)?" Well, according to the speedo, we did! That Country Squire is what got me hooked on the whole wagon thing! Thanks for bringing back such great memories!

Rod
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Old 01-21-2007, 08:53 PM   #10
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Just be sure to mind your gross tow vehicle weight, and especially toungue weight and brake and sway controls. 31 feet is a lot of trailer! My Volvo station wagon COULD pull my 31 foot streamline, and DID a long ways home when I bought it, even up a long steep grade. Being brand new to trailering, I minded none of the above, but did okay until someone cut me off and I had to brake hard with the trailer brakes set too light. I wound up fishtailing all over the 101 freeway, fortunately hitting nothing but the soundwall at one point, scuffing the rear corner. I bought a big Suburban after that!!

Frankly, I don't know how ol' Ricky did it back in the day!
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Old 01-21-2007, 09:11 PM   #11
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Back to wagons, I was thinking about a mid 60's GM (Chevy, Pontiac, Olds, Buick). Or even a Ford Country Squire. I think it would have to be no newer than 1972. I saw a few "resto-mods" or "Pro-Touring" station wagons that I like. Do you think a newer (say 1990s) Corvette/Camaro 350 engine or a GM crate 350 would have enough juice to pull a 31fter? Disk brakes would be a must! But if I wanted to have an 'Air-Ride' suspension, would it be strong enough to handle a trailer? I guess I could just lower the front end a little and have good old-fashined air shocks in the back (just like dad's 1971 Country Squire). I saw a 1966 Caprice wagon this past summer with a 427 in it. It was beautiful!! I was drooling, but I have to finish my 1972 Blazer 4x4 first (and sell it) before I could afford to buy something that nice. Let me hear what you think.

Rod
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Old 01-21-2007, 09:13 PM   #12
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So what types of wagons did everyone have back when they were kids?

Rod
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Old 01-21-2007, 09:44 PM   #13
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Hey Rod,

You've seen my '57 and heck, I'm still a kid. My dad had 57 Plymouth, 59 Dodge, 62 Chev, 64 Chev, 66 and 69 meteor wagons and always hauled a trailer of one sort or another. I loved them all.

Be cautious, it's an illness.

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Old 01-21-2007, 10:50 PM   #14
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Rod ,yeah the squire was cool ,my dad pulled 90 + in the 63 at one point
it had the power. On the idea of towing ,you'll just need to get a Weight distribution hitch of some type ,Equalizer is a favorite and it will level the wagon and trailer with leverage to both the trailer and tow vehical frames.
so no air shocks would be needed .the tongue weight of your trailer on the ball will be transfered across both frames to distibute the tongue weight
so no sag and drag will happen .both the trailer and the wagon will be level when setup correctly and thus provide better safer happier towing .A type
of sway control will also be needed ,friction sway controls can be added
as well .there are other expensive alternatives as well that excell on a higher
level of control ,so it would be your choice on what setup to get.Im in favor
of the GM wagons ,say 59 to 69 .A refit engine would be a great idea .Im
thinking more of a 383 stoker smallblock as torque is the name of the game towing .The high performance engines are good if they are built for torque.
Sell that blazer and get going .A very rare 59 brookwood would be very cool
has the 59 biscayne /impala look in a wagon ,cats eye tail lights and all
very cool ,the 60s ford or chrysler full size wagons are great as well .

A fun thread here !

Scott
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Old 01-22-2007, 02:08 AM   #15
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Wagons West

Yes, they would look great pulling your TT.

1959 Ford was our first.

Mostly remember the Pontiac Safari from 1976.
It had the disapearing tailgate and glass.
Tailgate clamshelled under the floorboard and glass went up into roof.
Was really cool, and useful.
Don't see these much anymore as the demolition derbys took alot of them.
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Old 01-22-2007, 06:09 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 72Blazerod
So what types of wagons did everyone have back when they were kids?
Hi Rod,

With Mom and Dad and 6 kids we always had a station wagon.

1957 Ford, green and white two-tone, 312cid w/ auto.
1962 Buick Invicta,400cid w/auto.
1965 Buick Electra 225 two door convertible, 455cid w/auto, although not a wagon, that Electra was a BIG car and a hell'uva tow vehicle.
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Old 01-22-2007, 06:25 AM   #17
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The 50's and 60's brought out so many really great station wagons. One of my favorate was the '57 buick four door hardtop. I also really liked the Olds Vista crusiers.

These old boats had the power but were short on suspensions and braking. I agree with others in this thread that if you are going to use one as a TV you need to upgrade these things along with the cooling system and charging system. It all can be done and the results gratifying.
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Old 01-22-2007, 06:30 AM   #18
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The Olds Vista Cruiser
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Old 01-22-2007, 06:46 AM   #19
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Ok, I'll stop after this one. I love these things
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Old 01-22-2007, 06:49 AM   #20
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Oh yeah....now were talking MY kind of language here.....

You guys are most correct when you state that waaaaaaaay "back in the day"...there were hardly any pickups, or "SUVs" as we know em today, in the local WBCCI regions or units. Only the hardcore guys, or the folx that did the Foreign Caravans seemed to do the BIG truck thing...... Face it, with the sheer size, bulk, engine options, and heavy trailer tow packages offered by the "Big 3" back then, it wasn't necessary.....unlike today....

I have very distinct recollections of most of the cool cars that the folks had in our own Michigan Unit, back when I was traveling with my Grandparents from the summer of 69 until the summer of 76.

Gramps bought a brand new Olds Delta 88 Royale just days after he bought the Airstream (23' Safari Twin) in Nov.68. It was special ordered with the HUGE 455 engine, and the heavy HEAVY trailer tow package. Hell, it had front and rear sway bars at least 1 3/8 in dia. It handled like a Porsche in the turns, unbelievably!!! Incidentally, that car pulled Gramps Airstream right up to the last day he owned it. When Gramps passed away in 78, I was given the car, and it had about 140,000 on it already.....My dad and i drove it for another 3 yrs or so....put about 40k more miles on it, then we gave it to my cousin, and she put another 40k on it, then she SOLD it thru the local paper to someone in town, and she told me she saw it on the road for years afterwards....!!!!

I remember that car pulled the 'Stream quite effortlessly...... only did it start to falter a bit on the famed "Baker Grade" out in CA, (in the July sun...115 degrees) .....or I remember a few remote country roads in Wyoming, and Colorado that started the Olds to heatin' up..... Remember, this was looooong before our Interstate System was completed!! We were lucky if we spent 50 to 75 miles at a time on the interstate before being ushered right back off, and back onto the backroads again...until we were dumped back onto the new Interstate a few miles later.

Anyways, sorry..... I digress...as usual...
I remember only a select few folks back in the day had pickups.....I do however remember a few of the "hardcore" guys had the International Travelalls....they sure were built for some heavy duty pulling!!

I distinctly remember our Michigan Unit President, Alvin Williams, and his lovely wife Marilyn...they led us all on our caravan out to the International Rally in Salem Oregon in 1971. We were about 2 weeks traveling from Jackson, MI to Salem, with MANY cool stops every evening.
Al had a really cool 1965 Lincoln Continental Sedan....remember the ones with Suicide Doors?? It was quite the monster, I remember.... In later years, i would come to own a great many of these Vintage Continentals, and when I think back to the fact that these Lincolns were all Uni-Body construction between 1958 and 1969....I wonder just how safe, and practical it would be to pull a BIG 31' A/S with one.....hmmm...... Guess i would prefer a HUGE frame under me......

Yeah, I recall most of the cars back then were the big Fords...Galaxies, LTDs. Country Squires, Mercury Colony Parks (my personal favorites...) Chrysler Newports, and New Yorkers (remember the huge 440 cubic inch plants??) and we can't forget GM, and yes, i do remember those cool clamshell taligates on the 1971 and later full size wagons!!! Dad had a 74 Custom Cruiser with a 455...Electric Blue w/o the woodgrain....a very cool old sled!! My uncle had a 73 Caprice Wagon.....(what were they called??? Kingswood Estate??) It had a huge 454 in it, and was a real screamer!!!

My idea one day (more an elusive fantasy) is to find a 65 to 68 Mercury Colony Park, with the big 428 Motor in it, a good southern or western body, rust free, WITH the woodgrain, and cherry 'er out, and make a Airstream hauler out of it. Gotta have the roof rack, and the HUGE white rear mudflap across the whole bottom of the rear bumper is a MUST !!!!! It's gotta have reflectors screwed onto the mudflap too.....haha!!!

I know that if it were not for the later seventies Energy Crisis, and the subsequent down sizing of the whole line of American cars....we might still be pulling these Airstreams with brand new Station Wagons weighing in at 5500 lbs, with 460 and larger motors..... (AAAaaaahhhh...to wax a little nostalgic........)

And for the record, I am preparing one of my vintage Lincolns (like Bill Kerfoot in CA, I have a 77 Lincoln Town Car) for active duty in escorting my 1969 23' Safari starting this spring...... A little bit overkill....buuuuuut.....

Aaaahhh, fun to remember those "good ol days...."
Now to see if I can figger out how to attach a few pix here....

Scott Anderson
Grosse Ile, MI
WBCCI # 22426
(formerly #22425 1969-1976)
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WBCCI # 22426
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When it is my time, I want to go peacefully,
And in my sleep.....Just like my Grandfather....
Not screaming, kicking and in a state of panic,
like the other passengers in his car were......
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