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Old 08-03-2011, 02:28 PM   #197
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Vintage tow vehicle

Greetings Lanny!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lwebb View Post
I have two 55 "Wally Byam Holidays" 15' ham cans with ele brakes. I have been looking at a 49 Plymouth Special Deluxe as a tow vehicle. I drove one in college. The Plymouth only had the flat six. 95 HP as I recall. I don't think Plymouth went to anything larger until 55.
Most of the posts I read talk about dropping in new V8s, beefed up transmissions and stronger frame work, disk brakes, and extended radiators etc, etc.

If the cars of the late 40s and early fifties pulled trailers back then, wouldn't they do so today? I know without question all the newer and stronger modifications would be better but I'm sort of a purest I guess. Does anyone tow with a late 40s or early 50s vintage stock or almost stock auto?
lanny

Cars off of the showroom floor did pull travel trailers in the immediate pre-and-post-WW II era, but there are several limitations that would keep such combinations from being viable in today's travel environment:
  • Fuels in those days had tetra-ethyl lead added in varying amounts, and without the lubrication provided by these compounds valve seat recission will happen very quickly resulting very expensive valve seat machining with new hardened inserts.I didn't want to believe this, but learned my lesson when my 1965 Dodge Coronet 500 needed valve seat inserts after only 2,000 miles towing my 6.0 Metre coach.
  • Prior to the advent of the Superhighway/Interstate system, speeds were much lower so powerplants producing modest power could get by in non-mountainous areas . . . . today, the tow vehicle/trailer combination better be able to safely maintain a minimum 55 MPH to 60 MPH cruising speed on most highways.
  • Prior to the late 1960s and early 1970s, most cars had 4-wheel drum brakes and between fading and lack of heavy duty rebuilding components, make brakes a near must replace for safety . . . my 1965 Dodge is going to have 4-wheel disc brakes before I take it out on the highway with my 1964 Overlander or 1978 Minuet.
  • Over the past 20 to 25 years, drivers have become much more impatient and far less accommodating to persons driving vehicles that impede traffic flow so if a vintage tow vehicle can't keep up a minimally acceptable cruising speed, one is taking chances of becoming the target of road rage . . . . something that was virtually unheard of in the era of which you are inquiring.
I am a proponent of utilizing vintage automobiles for towing, but only after they have been modified to insure safe travel for the vehicle's occupants as well as my fellow motorists. Vintage vehicles both Airstreams and similar vintage cars are often worth several times what they cost new, so it just isn't worth taking chances with the investments involved or the safety of the operator as well as members of the public with a combination that has any inadequacies in the safety department.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin

P.S.: I know that the argument can be made that one can stick to the secondary routes, but that only solves one problem . . . that of high rates of speed. Some of the worst road rage that I have witnessed has been on rather isolated stretches of secondary highways.

I even traded off a seemingly decent tow vehicle by today's standards in 1998 because it was incapable of maintaining safe travel speeds when traveling to my favorite spots . . . and this was a 1995 Chevrolet K1500 Z71 Club Cab Pickup with heavy duty trailering package.
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Old 08-03-2011, 02:31 PM   #198
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What other motorists will tolerate will be determined by whosever in front. I remember a bumper sticker once, " I may be slow but I'm ahead of you ". To me that says it all. If there's a right lane they can go around. If not ....... .
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Old 08-03-2011, 02:40 PM   #199
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I disagree. I think that there are a lot of variations as to what other motorists will tolerate, and a wide variety of ways in which they express an increasing intolerance.
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Old 08-03-2011, 03:30 PM   #200
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As a boy growing up in Michigan our family towed our travel trailer, about an 18 footer. with a '40 Chevy. We used that combo a lot between 1942, times that I remember back to, until about 1948. In 1952 we towed a 26' Pan American can ham from Detroit to California with a '48 Nash Ambassador. That was a big car with an OHV 6. Our route was RTE 66 all the way. It took us 15 days with a couple layovers. I was a teenager then so I remember there were no freeways or any roads that it was possible to average more than 45 mph. The travel was in June and overheating was a constant concern but I do not recall any 'cool down' stops.
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:58 AM   #201
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I give in

Well Rats you guys.
Rain on my parade.
OK all good points, I'm disgruntled but convinced. I spent untold hours revamping rather than replacing parts on my Holiday just so it would be true vintage. Then again when I started the first one, I owned the only one anybody had ever heard of and felt obligated to keep it original. Even Airstream didn't claim it. Since then, however, it has been accepted as yes very rare BUT qualifies as an Airstream.
Sorry I digress, So I just wanted to do the same on the tow car.
Just wishful thinking. So now I'm looking for an early model Cadilac, Buick or Olds as they had the bigger V8s between 50and 54.
Thanks for all the advice, some excellent points.

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Old 08-04-2011, 12:42 PM   #202
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:17 PM   #203
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I use a 1958 Buick Super. Its BIG, its CHROME, its got FINS. Its got a trailer hitch. oh...its PINK.
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Old 08-04-2011, 02:22 PM   #204
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What have you done to the 58 her ready to do the job? I assume the disk brakes. Does it have the 364 ci V8? "FashionAire Dynasty Grille" and dual "Vista-Vision" headlamps?

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Old 08-04-2011, 03:15 PM   #205
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Tow prep

It hurts to recount the prep.
rebuilt the 364 motor. New aluminum radiator and transmission cooler with dual electric fans. Rebuilt entire brake system and put large discs on front. Air conditioning. Large Optima battery. Rebuilt the entire suspension system. New radial tires. Rebuilt the transmission. Radio update for the Ipod..rock and roll. Electric brake controller and a good modern hitch assembly. Two pink fuzzy dice.
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Old 08-04-2011, 03:29 PM   #206
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Yikes I'm finally getting the picture. I called Walmart to see if they were hiring part time for the night shift.

OK I'm dumb as a brick on this topic. Realistically, what am I looking at ball park if I took a vintage vehicle like the 49 Plymouth I started this about and refitted it to pull a 1948 Airstream Liner? Skip the Ipod connection and the frills like the pink dice? I know this is probably just way to open ended a question as there are hundreds of variables. I have a friend who has worked on cars all his life and he says he would only help if I went with a box engine. He's figuring on the conservative side $8-$10 grand.
I could likely do much of the work myself. Lt me tack on another question. I want to drive this daily. Is that just a really naive idea?
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Old 08-04-2011, 04:12 PM   #207
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Not a TV but this Volvo is a daily driver and has 2.8 million miles on it. So one would think your idea has possibilities.

Story.... World's record high miles car: How a classic Volvo changed a life - National Classic Autos | Examiner.com
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Old 08-04-2011, 04:54 PM   #208
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Now that brings back memories....

Can you say FLASHBACK>>>

Sold it 2ys ago....

Saw that red one at the Eastern Volvo Meet years ago when it only had 1.2 million on it!!!!
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Old 08-04-2011, 05:30 PM   #209
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That's a nice one Bob. I guy I know here in the city has the wagon version of the same vintage. Very rare.
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Old 08-04-2011, 05:38 PM   #210
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That's a nice one Bob. I guy I know here in the city has the wagon version of the same vintage. Very rare.
Ah yes the 1800ES, was working at a Volvo dealership when they were introduced, thought they were pretty ugly at the time, now it's an antique....and I'm just old
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