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Old 01-15-2009, 12:44 PM   #1
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Vintage tow vehicle

My wife and I have discussed picking up a vintage truck to use as a tow vehicle for the Overlander. After driving my '52 Chevy for many year, I'm a bit spoiled by the size, comfort and conveniences of a new truck. Of course, there is the "cool" factor of a vintage truck and the fact that I could actually turn wrenches on an old truck without a NASA-computer complex. So, on this cold and otherwise dull day... is picking up a vintage 3/4-ton truck "worth it" or are the new trucks just too darn nice?
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Old 01-15-2009, 01:13 PM   #2
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There are some websites that offer restorations with modern running gear, ie, disc brakes, power steering, modern automatic transmissions, modified suspensions and new electrics.. all disguised nicely in an original retro truck. There are people that have invested thousands of dollars into functional toys like this that need money right now. You can get it for pennys on the dollar. (unfortunatley for them)

Try www.Hemmingsmotornews.com as a great resource and a fun read.

Good luck.

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Old 01-15-2009, 02:35 PM   #3
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I guess I would ask, when does a TV become a vintage unit? Airstreams are considered to be vintage when they are 25-30 years old. You can get antique license plates when the vehicle is 25 years old. That would put the vintage unit in the mid 1980's which although the vehciles did not compare to what we have now days they were improving from the previous years also. My first TV was a 1986 suburban and it had plenty of room and handled my 27' A/S with no problem. Had a tendancy to overheat once in a while but it still performed o.k. I think vehicles like that at a vintage rally would look cool. The way I am going right now my TV will be a vintage in another 10 years and it has just barely broken 100,000 miles on it.
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Old 01-15-2009, 03:05 PM   #4
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I think of "vintage" cars as pre-1972 or so. There's no particular reason, but I guess it's just my perspective. I think there's something cool about the idea of towing a '67 Airstream with a mid 60s tow vehicle. Now, I know those old 3/4 or 1 tons were usually pretty "torquey," and will pull the Overlander... but not at 70 mph. I agree that it's easy to find a rig a person has put far more into than he or she can get out of it. I guess it's like an Airstream... is this a business decision or a recreational decision? Thanks for the tip on Hemmings. I found a great International Travelall from '67 that looks like a fun ride... though can you even find Int'l parts any more?
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Old 01-15-2009, 03:15 PM   #5
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You would like a Travelall, especially if the front suspension is IFS.

Parts are readily available, unless you are talking about sheet metal.

What's the model number on the Travelall?

Tim
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Old 01-15-2009, 03:31 PM   #6
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Vintage tow vehicle

We have towed a vintage Canned Ham trailer for 20 years with the following vehicles: 50 Chevrolet truck, 52 Hudson Hornet, 46 Hudson pick up, 55 Cadillac and our current 58 Cadillac.

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.

Our Cadillac has a 1990 Chevrolet Vortec 350 motor. The advantage is parts avalibility on a trip. Disavantage it does not have the torque the old 365 Cad motor so I am disapointed in the mountains.
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Old 01-15-2009, 04:05 PM   #7
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Those are BIG dogs! What a great setup. would love to see it motoring down the road. Im sure you get Thumbs up all the time..

Thanks for sharing the pics

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Old 01-16-2009, 07:53 AM   #8
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I called my father who has owned about half a million trucks (or so it seems). He had an International Scout back in the 60s. He said it was probably once of the worst rigs he'd ever owned. His all time favorite was a '72 Ford F-250 4x4. Must have bolted on everything right at the factory, I guess. He liked the old "high boy" Ford trucks before they stopped making them, but I'm not sure I think of them as "vintage." I showed my wife the Travelall... which she thought was handsome. I showed her some mid-60s trucks... which she thought were cute. I'm not sure we've found a winning style for her yet. She likes the the lines of the 50 Chevys (who doesn't) but given my very intimate knowlege of the trucks, I think a guy would have to veer away from "stock" and just build a new truck under the old body to have a freeway capable towing rig.
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Old 01-16-2009, 10:27 AM   #9
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By the late 60s most trucks had IFS and disc brakes. All were available with air conditioning, power steering and brakes, and other mod cons.

Trucks from the late 50s were available with powerful V8 engines and 3 speed automatic transmissions.

It wouldn't bother me to tow with a pickup from the 50s or newer PROVIDED it had disc brakes and V8 engine, and was in top shape from bumper to bumper. Fortunately all mechanical parts are available for old trucks, even more than cars, and they are not hard to fix.

You should count on spending a few thousands of $$$$ bucks on cooling system, tires, brakes, and possibly engine and trans work. But it could definitely be done.
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Old 01-16-2009, 02:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hampstead38 View Post
I called my father who has owned about half a million trucks (or so it seems). He had an International Scout back in the 60's. He said it was probably once of the worst rigs he'd ever owned. His all time favorite was a '72 Ford F-250 4x4. Must have bolted on everything right at the factory, I guess. He liked the old "high boy" Ford trucks before they stopped making them, but I'm not sure I think of them as "vintage." I showed my wife the Travelall... which she thought was handsome. I showed her some mid-60's trucks... which she thought were cute. I'm not sure we've found a winning style for her yet. She likes the the lines of the 50 Chevy's (who doesn't) but given my very intimate knowledge of the trucks, I think a guy would have to veer away from "stock" and just build a new truck under the old body to have a freeway capable towing rig.
What is being done with the 50's trucks and the early 60's as well is to drop them on a later frame. Keep everything from the later truck (the later 70's and 80's trucks had a rust issue so the bodies are easy to grenade). Check out 74"twinkie" who has an early 50's suburban he has dropped on a later truck and tows an Argosy painted the same. I believe it is a 4X4 that he used. A beautiful set up, all the latest comforts inside, lots of room, and later model suspension and power train. There are quite a few folks I know of who tow their Airstreams with mid 60's Suburbans as well. There are suspension kits, disc brake conversion kits, and swapping power trains is very simple. They take well to later model interiors, lots of room, look good, and can usually be bought for a reasonable price. Check them for rust though, as depending on how it spent its life.........

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Old 01-16-2009, 04:22 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hampstead38 View Post
I called my father who has owned about half a million trucks (or so it seems). He had an International Scout back in the 60s. He said it was probably once of the worst rigs he'd ever owned. His all time favorite was a '72 Ford F-250 4x4. Must have bolted on everything right at the factory, I guess. He liked the old "high boy" Ford trucks before they stopped making them, but I'm not sure I think of them as "vintage." I showed my wife the Travelall... which she thought was handsome. I showed her some mid-60s trucks... which she thought were cute. I'm not sure we've found a winning style for her yet. She likes the the lines of the 50 Chevys (who doesn't) but given my very intimate knowlege of the trucks, I think a guy would have to veer away from "stock" and just build a new truck under the old body to have a freeway capable towing rig.
Dad is right. The "baby" Scouts were pretty basic and a product that was still evolving.

All International vehicles are costly to operate in terms of fuel costs. If you find one in running and in fairly good shape, you won't spend much money making it reliable... unless you do a fair amount of front suspension work. Usually, you're going to have to do some work on them though.

Last camping trip that we used our 1973 Travelall 1010, we averaged 10 mpg. We use a 1406 Edelbrock carb on a 345 V-8, 3-speed automatic, 3.54 gears, and 30" tires. Not towing, we can average 15 mpg on the interstate. I'm pretty light-footed and tow between 55 and 60 mph. Front disc, rear drums on this truck as well. Spent under $3000 total for the truck and all parts to get it tow-ready, including new carb and a few front suspension parts (ball joints, idler arm, and pitman arm). New carb improved mileage from 7-8 in tow and 12-13 not towing.

Last trip, we drove a '73 Travelette 1210. Truck has a 392 V-8, 3-speed automatic, 3.73 gears, and 31" tires. We averaged 8.5 mpg towing to the Can Opener (same trip last year, 10 mpg with the Travelall), and we've not dug into the carb and fuel system yet. Cruise at 60 mph at 2400 rpm.

Seeing that the truck averages 10 mpg unloaded, losing 15% mileage efficiency in tow is not really all that bad.

You have options, and I believe you'd really like towing with an International. More thumbs up and "my dad had one" comments than you can handle. Hope this helps.

Tim
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Old 01-19-2009, 12:22 PM   #12
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Vintage Lincolns as TV?

Has anyone had experience with mid to late 70's Lincolns?
They look great. They used the 460 and 400 v8.
Would a 400 v8 be adequate or should the 460 be used only?
Trailer weight around 5000lbs.

The 79 Collector Series I enclosed as an attachment look sweet...
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Old 01-19-2009, 01:18 PM   #13
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Greg.. Back in the early 70's my Dad had a 1972 Ford LTD with a 400ci 2v.

He towed a 5,000lb SOB TT and it worked fine.

Today with our modern sedan we are towing 4,500lbs with an engine half that size and it has power to spare.
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Old 01-19-2009, 02:05 PM   #14
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Vintage tow vehicle

Greetings Silverwanabe!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverwanabe View Post
Vintage Lincolns as TV?

Has anyone had experience with mid to late 70's Lincolns?
They look great. They used the 460 and 400 v8.
Would a 400 v8 be adequate or should the 460 be used only?
Trailer weight around 5000lbs.

The 79 Collector Series I enclosed as an attachment look sweet...
According to the information that I have from 1979, Ford required the 460 V8 for towing -- with that engine, special towing axle ratio, and heavy duty cooling the Town Car was listed as having either a 6,500 or 7,000 pound trailer tow limit depending upon where it was originally delivered.

We have a member here on the Forums (Bill Kerfoot --wkerfoot) who tows with a 1970s Town Car and is quite satisfied with its performance -- I remember Bill and his car well since the Lincoln is in my favorite shade of green. I am almost certain that his has the 460 V8 -- in fact, I believe that he has posted to this thread or one of the other Vintage Tow Vehicle threads.

Kevin

P.S.: The Photo below is my favorite of Bill's combination in Death Valley

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