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Old 01-30-2009, 12:02 AM   #29
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Sadly after 24 years I gave up on my '59 GMC 1 ton panel when I first broke my back. I was considering a same year vintage medium-duty GM 302 six, a stroked 270, and a 4 bolt small block 383, a stroked 350. As opposed to Chevys, GMCs had much stronger OEM engines, such as the big block 270 six (vs. small block 235 six) and a 4-speed auto w/ hot Pontiac V-8 335? (vs. 283) as was in my brother's 3/4 ton GMC pickup. '59 GMC truck was a true classic year. The '59 1 ton drum brakes were at best marginal towing even a CJ-5 in the Rockies.

One can rebuild a stroked engine gaining critical torque with little risk of additional fuel consumption. Hot rodding, mild to flaming, is easy once beyond the current 25 year emissions trap.

I have a '72 Suburban and '76 Ford pickup, both 3/4 ton, in overhaul stages, w/ which to tow 10,000# over 10,000 feet passes. The F-250 keeps its 390 .30 over and the Sub either gets a 383 or a 427 aftermarket small block, a modern overdrive 5 speed tranny plus a .72 overdrive to split gears, a 1 ton 14 bolt 4.1 or 4.56 rear with disks all around.

I would not recommend a half ton vintage truck to pull and stop over 5,000#, only in flat lands, 2,500#in high mountains.

I am also considering a tinkered hearse or short limo car, to store what won't fit into Airstreams. Gotta have my babe magnet cast iron pots & pans, not to mention the dutch ovens, and generator, and extra propane tanks, and water, and beer, and...

There was nothing like the American big block 3 ton luxury cars of 1.5+ generations ago. If only the fit and finish had not been so poor. My dad's huge '76 Fleetwood 500 cid always had unfixable electrical gremlins, rust and ill fitting, broken plastic bits, giving up on it at 43,000 miles... best car at 90 mph I've ever driven...wish I had its 500 cid and TH400 now.
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Old 01-30-2009, 08:22 AM   #30
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I think the challenge of vintage is less power, and more suspension. There are plenty of vintage rigs that benefit from a "tweaked" V8 without all of the horsepower killing smog equipment. Now, I know some guys will completely swap out the running gear to get benefits like IFS. On the other hand, you can get to a point where you have an vintage body on essentially a new vehicle... (which may be what we end up with when were' done with our Overlander). The new trucks are complex, expensive and depend on chips and electronics beyond the expertise of many shade tree mechanics (like me). On the other hand, they are reasonably powerful, parts are available and they ride well. My wife believes that heated leather seats are one of the great inventions of the 20th century.
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Old 02-18-2010, 04:32 PM   #31
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Southern Motor Company

Here's the answer to the perennially pesky problem of how to have a vintage tow vehicle with all the engineering, safety, performance, and comfort of a modern vehicle. Featuring satiny stainless steel, buttery soft leather, this
beautifully designed classic truck is engineered to the highest modern standards. You may select an automatic or manual transmission. And from among these Engine recommendations:
350 cu in Chevy small block V8
(290 to 425 horsepower)
5.7-liter GM LS1 V8, 350 horsepower
6.2-liter GM LS3 V8, 430 horsepower
7.0-liter GM LS7 V8, 505 horsepower

Try this on for size: <http://www.southernmotorcompany.com/>



Michael
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Old 02-18-2010, 04:53 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by '55 Airlight View Post
Here's the answer to the perennially pesky problem of how to have a vintage tow vehicle with all the engineering, safety, performance, and comfort of a modern vehicle. Featuring satiny stainless steel, buttery soft leather, this
beautifully designed classic truck is engineered to the highest modern standards. You may select an automatic or manual transmission. And from among these Engine recommendations:
350 cu in Chevy small block V8
(290 to 425 horsepower)
5.7-liter GM LS1 V8, 350 horsepower
6.2-liter GM LS3 V8, 430 horsepower
7.0-liter GM LS7 V8, 505 horsepower

Try this on for size: Home - Southern Motor Company




Michael
Very nice, but $68,000 plus engine and transmission is pretty steep for a two seat tow vehicle. (That is a, now, three year old price, too!)
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Old 02-18-2010, 05:25 PM   #33
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Minnie's Mate, Tom, wrote: << pretty steep >>

Yeah, Tom, that's not news. Like I said: it's pricey. But, with respect, I reckon to some folks, your habits are awful spendy. For my budget, it's completely unreasonable to spend $85K on a gourmet ride, be it a big German sedan or a custom retro pickup truck. But there's plenty of folks driving 'round in such sedans wishing they could throw down for a $200K Turbo Bentley. Or an even pricier vintage Ferrari.

Michael
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Old 02-19-2010, 09:28 AM   #34
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I gave my '52 Chevy five-window with 216 to my nephew. It would pull the Overlander, but no faster than 50 mph.

I used the '52 as a daily driver for years. It wasn't bad and I enjoyed all of the waves and honks. If I had $68k in loose change in my sofa, I can think of some ways to spend it, but it wouldn't be on what is essentially a "kit car."

As for safety, there are all kinds of improvements you can make on a vintage vehicle. I'm swapping my old single pot master for a dual pot when the snow thaws. Drum brakes work fine, if you go easy on them. Swapping to discs or IFS is just a matter of writing a check... if you own a Ford or Chevy.

Honestly, a 50s or 60s era truck is never going to ride like a modern luxury car... or truck. I took the old Dodge out before the weather broke bad. I had forgotten how loud and rattling a vehicle could be.
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Old 02-20-2010, 12:26 AM   #35
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vintage tow vehicles

Back in 1972, I owned a 1960 canned ham 16' trailer. And a 1960 Chevy Carry-all with a 265 V-8, three speed tranny, Hurst shifter, headers. She was a goer. I bought her for $650 with all the seats and no broken glass. I put white spoke wheels on 'er (that was the style) and some fat tires.

Back then, it was an old truck with an old trailer. We didn't know it was vintage, or mid-century modern. My wife still kids me when I recall the perfect condition of that truck and that canned ham. "Hell," she says. "They were only 12 years old back then."

Michael
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Old 02-20-2010, 08:19 AM   #36
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We now have the Airstream Flying Cloud which we tow with the 58 Caddy.
An early 50s Chevrolet with a 216 or 235 Cu. in. six cylinder would not work well but a big V8 Buick or Cadillac would be adequate. There is a lot to be said for modern running gear however.
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How true it is Dick. As a kid I traveled with a pals family. With 4 of us in the 6cyl., 1965 chevy sedan the car struggled towing a 15' lightweight SOB. This small hills in upstate New York just south of Buffalo were a challenge.

Modern running gear works great. Today we tow the 23' with a 213ci V6 and have no trouble getting out on a grade and passing slower moving vehicles. I still have a soft spot for the vintage cars. This Imperial on Kijiji a while ago caught my eye. What a sweet Airstream hauler...
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Old 02-20-2010, 09:21 AM   #37
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vintage tow vehical

We tow a 23ft safari with a 1957 ford monarch that sports a 460ci engine coupled to an overdrive automatic with a 3.25:1 diff. Four wheel pwr disc brakes and rack and pinnion steering. Our next trip is this summer and it starts at St Johns Nfl. and ends in Victoria BC. In effect we cross the county twice. At any rate if you want to see some neat rides pulling trailers go to coasters 2010 and check out the cars making that trip. A old car or truck pulling an airstream is noticed and folks are interested in the car or the trailer or both. The coolest comment made about our rig and I quote: You look like you arrived 40 years late. There are problems pulling with an old car, is it worth it ,you bet. Old cars and trailers are a labour of love. Good luck in your quest......bill & phyl
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Old 02-21-2010, 04:31 PM   #38
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This Imperial on Kijiji a while ago caught my eye. What a sweet Airstream hauler...
Talk about land yachts. Back in the day, a new '67 Imperial convertible cost the same as a new Rolls Royce...and the Rolls may not have even had power windows unless it was a Silver Shadow.
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Old 02-21-2010, 08:22 PM   #39
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Talk about land yachts. Back in the day, a new '67 Imperial convertible cost the same as a new Rolls Royce...and the Rolls may not have even had power windows unless it was a Silver Shadow.
I think the RR was a good bit more expensive, only twice what the Imp cost (versus today).

A friend had a loaded '67 Crown Coupe: with driver/full fuel it scaled 5,250-lbs. Less than most half-tons of today. Longer & wider than a Chev Suburban with a wheelbase almost as long. The old cars weren't always as heavy as they were accused of being, or as remembered. 16-mpg hwy, with radial tires, gas shocks and electronic ignition. At 70 mph. (Can't beat a Mopar). Plus, as the driver sat a good 5' or more to the rear of the front wheels (and on a similar plane), todays cars or SUV's aren't even close to the ride quality. With the standard 2.94 rear gears it also didn't shift into High until 92-mph at WOT. And, unlike the big GM's and Ford, kept on accelerating past 120-mph. And had the chassis they did not. (You can tell I really liked that car). He reported a thumbs up from a surprised Viper driver at that speed . . the modern Mopar didn't pull away substantially until then.

A true 75-90 mph all day on the right roads.

The downfall was/is the Saginaw steering box: no variable-ratio unlike the GM's that brought it in at that time; and, with trailing link steering (versus leading-type on other brands), the combination of slow reaction and fingertip-level feedback is not so great for those unused to it. The cars only downfall (outside of an ancient wiring harness for todays use) is the lack or quality of body parts.

All the vintage vehicles have "fatal" flaws. Short trips for weekend adventures, maybe. Longer trips I'd leave to others (unless the lottery tilts my way)
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Old 02-22-2010, 03:18 PM   #40
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"Fatal" might be a little strong, Rednax. The world moves faster than it did in the 50s and 60s. If a person wants to roll down the freeway towing a trailer at 65 mph without a care in the world vintage is not the way to go. Modern 3/4 tons trucks are 10 times better than vintage trucks... and 100 times more complex. Like "Bill and Phyl" have added, you can added IFS, four-wheel disc brakes, power steering, etc. If, however, a guy is willing to go more slowly....
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Old 02-22-2010, 03:51 PM   #41
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It's times, when I read a thread like this, that I think I got into the wrong line of work; I wish I had the cash some of you have to blow on these toys....
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Old 02-23-2010, 11:02 AM   #42
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I'll be the first to say my wife and I have been fortunate. We also work hard and live a fairly modest lifestyle. We also have three children... the most expensive "hobby" of all.

My brother has bought a new pickup every year to 18 months since he graduated college. I've owned two trucks since 1990... a Toyota pickup and a Nissan Titan. (I won't count the recent addition to vehicle family... the '66 Dodge D200, quite yet).

For my wife and I, the Airstream is "our big thing." The Dodge is really a side project... turning wrenches is a nice change from pushing papers. I'm the first to acknowledge the Overlander and the Dodge are labors of love rather than fiscally sound investments. I also think one of the reasons I work hard to is have a few things I enjoy. In fact, as I have grown older, I've become less interested in accumulating things and more interested in accumulating experiences. In that sense, the Airstream and a vintage tow vehicle are really just a means to an end.
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