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Old 03-14-2007, 02:26 PM   #309
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Rodger with a "D"

We heard recently on one of those "Speed" channel car shows that all Chryslers except the Imperial of the era late 50's and early 60's were unibody and couldn't use them as towcars. What's your take on this? Have any insight. We have looked at late 50's Chryslers with the vision of using one as a tow car. Like the 60's Lincoln Continental being unibody, we steered clear.
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Old 03-14-2007, 03:08 PM   #310
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coloradobus
Rodger with a "D"

We heard recently on one of those "Speed" channel car shows that all Chryslers except the Imperial of the era late 50's and early 60's were unibody and couldn't use them as towcars. What's your take on this? Have any insight. We have looked at late 50's Chryslers with the vision of using one as a tow car. Like the 60's Lincoln Continental being unibody, we steered clear.
Jim & Chris,

I believe that most if not all Chrysler autos are unibody, just like the late 1950 to 1969 Lincoln Continentals. I saw a mid 1970 Chrysler New Yorker at Salem this last year and my parents used a 1973 Chrysler New Yorker for a few years. The unibody creates some challenges and takes a qualified hitch fabricator to install a hitch. Javier, on Hunter's list, just installed a hitch on his Chrysler Imperial and towed his trailer to the Florida Rally. Action is planning on using a mid 1960 Lincoln as his tow vehicle. It can be done, but it is just not as easy as purchasing an "off the shelf hitch" and bolting it in. The upside is that they are big cars, soft suspension, easy to get in and out of, large engines, long wheelbase and cool.

Bill
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Old 03-14-2007, 03:14 PM   #311
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Hay you guys would be purfect on the CONVOY!!
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Old 03-14-2007, 07:30 PM   #312
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In 1960 the Chrysler Division, the De Soto Division, The Dodge car Division and the Plymouth Division went to the unibody. The Dodge truck Division and the Imperial stayed with the full frame. At the start of the 1967 production year the Imperial Division also became another unibody.

Any of the unibodied cars of the above are rated to pull any RV Trailer made in that same era. The 1963 Chrysler's and the 880 series Dodge are on an 122 inch wheelbase. For the framed Imperial Division they were 129 inches from 1957 to 1966. When the Imperial Division went to an unibody in 1967, they down sized to 127 inches.

The Motorcade Magazine did a tow test in 1966 using a 4 door Dodge and an Overlander of the same year. They found out the unit could not get over 93 MPH and as an package the panic stop distance was shorter with the trailer hooked up.

There is an Chrysler Dealers Towing Brochure that says, " ...all you need to tow loads up to 2500 pounds is an hitch" . This is the same tow load for all MoPar C-Bodies. Not to bad for an bumper hich ( or the AS pictured behind it ). The same brochure gives the buyer instructions on how to have the local metal shop to make the weight distrib'ing frame hitch. For the Chrysler line they wanted $53.55 for the other parts of the OEM towing package. ( the trip to the local shop was by every company that sold an car ...Ford, GM or MoPar in that era ) If you followed the full package route the C-Bodies went to 5,500 pounds in 1967.

Look at the 1970 AS Dealers Brochure. If a 1970 Nova with coil rear springs can pull an AS, what can a Duster with leaf springs pull ???

I became interested in this subject some eight years ago and started collecting vintage tow data then. One day I'll have enough to say sumthin.

Diner's ready, got to go.

Rodger & Gabby
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Old 03-14-2007, 08:08 PM   #313
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Rodger,

WOW, thanks for all this information.

bill
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Old 03-14-2007, 09:42 PM   #314
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I can't see why the unibody Chrysler products are any less capable of towing than the full frame cars of the same size. I have both a 1968 (Polara) and a 1973 (Tow & Country) and i can't say either one of them has any issues because of their (unibody)construction. These are full sized cars. The '73 is rated to tow 7000 pounds and I've been towing with it since 1988. I had hitches fabricated for both cars, since they are both old enough that noone sells them any more. The rear of these cars has what looks like a frame, but it's welded to the body structure. It seems just as stout as the frame on my 1981 Olds wagon, which is a full frame model. I looks just about the same back there, except for the fact that one is welded to the body (unibody) the the other is separated from it by a small space (the Olds). As far as attaching the hitch goes, it's about the same either way. I wouldn't turn away from these cars because they are unibody. On the contrary, I have found them to be very reliable .....which is more than I can say for the Oldsmobile! I figured (maybe incorrectly) that the unibody construction made them stronger! I'm towing a Globe Trotter that weighs up to 4500 pounds.

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Old 03-14-2007, 11:37 PM   #315
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I guess we need to find someone who can fabricate a hitch better than the place we had do the one on our 1969 Cadillac. I had to take the car back after watching the the receiver flex while Chris was backing the rig. It was real frightening to see the receiver move up and down and side to side from the car at walking speed, let alone on the highway.
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Old 03-14-2007, 11:57 PM   #316
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Ultimate Vintage Tow Vehicle

Ran across this ad yesterday and I believe it is the ultimate tow vehicle. Wally's 1959 International Harvester tow vehicle from the African and European caravans. Oh the stories it could tell.

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Old 03-15-2007, 07:26 AM   #317
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mweimer
I can't see why the unibody Chrysler products are any less capable of towing than the full frame cars of the same size.

MARC
Punxsutawney, PA
Back in the 60's my dad had an RV dealership and was a towing enthusiast. Always bought the best tow car available at the time.

Back then the Chrysler products were the tow vehicle of choice because of their rigid structure, torsion bar front suspension, and HD transmisions. The myth about uni-body's being inferior hadn't been invented yet...LOL.

He towed lots of TT's with a 64 Dodge, 66 Chrysler Windsor, and then a 69 Newport.
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Old 03-15-2007, 08:06 AM   #318
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Quote:
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Back then the Chrysler products were the tow vehicle of choice because of their rigid structure, torsion bar front suspension, and HD transmisions. The myth about uni-body's being inferior hadn't been invented yet...LOL.
Just an FYI, even many modern full sized vans are modified unibody construction. If in doubt, crawl under your van and look at the frame. If the top of the frame extends out, and is spot welded to the body, it is a unibody. I haven't heard many people saying you can't tow with them because of this.
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Old 03-15-2007, 08:53 AM   #319
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Unibody construction can be an issue. It just depends on why the manufacturer used unibody as a choice in building.

If it was to save weight and get better MPG then the metal used will be as thin as possible and not a good choice for a TV.

If the reason was to create a quieter ride by stiffening the body and reduce body flex over the frame, then this type of vehicle can work.

The '66 Lincoln I have weighs 5600+ pounds and has a subframe both in the front and in the rear. As long as the hitch is properly designed and attached to that subframe. And the vintage ride is in good to excellant condition it can do the job. My Lincoln was designed to tow up to 5000 pounds of trailer and I did find the documentation from LM to show that it can do it. Do the reseach and most can do the job.

After all, in the period your A/S was made, SUV's didn't exist.

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Old 03-15-2007, 02:49 PM   #320
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Vintage tow vehicles

Quote:
Originally Posted by wkerfoot
Javier, on Hunter's list, just installed a hitch on his Chrysler Imperial and towed his trailer to the Florida Rally.
Bill
I'm the Javier who had the hitch manufactured for the 1968 Imperial. Hello everyone! It tastes great and is less filling.

With the weight distributing hitch (must have) and the receiver bolted into two spots along the uniframe, the Imperial pulls better than my back up tow vehicle (an '06 4Runner).

That said, My 19 foot Bambi International is well under the tow capacity of the Imperial with the tow package and i wouldn't try to pull anything heavier than that. The car still has that sixties luxury car ride slopiness and the steering will never have the road feel and tightness of a modern car. (All of this makes the car just not as safe as a newer tow vehicle with abs, etc and so forth.) But i believe, because I'm not playing Tim Taylor with my rig, i have a very safe, and extremely cool ride.

In case you were wondering:

Bambi - a photoset on Flickr

My car is a strong #2- driver and it is important to me to keep the rig as safe as possible. Once i have the (reese dual cam) sway control and the heavier springs, sway control bars on the car, and higher gear ratio upgrades made, i'll be confident on mountain roads.

I'll keep you posted on my progress.

But to anyone else considering towing with a vintage car, GO FOR IT. The airstream alone is somewhat of an odity, but it doubles when some passes you to see that fine vintage convertible at the lead.

Cheers,

Javier
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Old 03-15-2007, 03:07 PM   #321
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GolfStream
I'm the Javier who had the hitch manufactured for the 1968 Imperial. Hello everyone! It tastes great and is less filling.

With the weight distributing hitch (must have) and the receiver bolted into two spots along the uniframe, the Imperial pulls better than my back up tow vehicle (an '06 4Runner).

That said, My 19 foot Bambi International is well under the tow capacity of the Imperial with the tow package and i wouldn't try to pull anything heavier than that. The car still has that sixties luxury car ride slopiness and the steering will never have the road feel and tightness of a modern car. (All of this makes the car just not as safe as a newer tow vehicle with abs, etc and so forth.) But i believe, because I'm not playing Tim Taylor with my rig, i have a very safe, and extremely cool ride.

In case you were wondering:

Bambi - a photoset on Flickr

My car is a strong #2- driver and it is important to me to keep the rig as safe as possible. Once i have the (reese dual cam) sway control and the heavier springs, sway control bars on the car, and higher gear ratio upgrades made, i'll be confident on mountain roads.

I'll keep you posted on my progress.

But to anyone else considering towing with a vintage car, GO FOR IT. The airstream alone is somewhat of an odity, but it doubles when some passes you to see that fine vintage convertible at the lead.

Cheers,

Javier
Javier,

Welcome, I see that my directions worked. The car looks fantastic and I see that you found fender mirrors also.

Bill
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Old 03-15-2007, 06:27 PM   #322
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Okay...a couple comments and a couple questions too.... Bill, I am glad you piped in, i have a favor to ask of you....

I am also to be included in the "Vintage TV" group here that want's to pull my Vintage AS with a vehicle with a little character.....

I have a 1977 Lincoln Continental Town Car with the 460 4V engine and my intention is to outfit this rig to pull my 1969 23' Safari. A friend in Clearwater FL who has a vintage Lincoln Parts and Service business just sold me a "Reese Style" Class 3 hitch assembly for my TC. It just arrived here at the "Oleo Ranch" (one of your cheaper spreads...hehe.. ) on Monday. Hmmm...I'm more than a little confused on the mounting locations...

In regards to "beefiness" this hitch looks like it could pull a house off a foundation... but I may be missing a couple brackets or something where the forward two mounting points are. Something is just not gelling here... ???

I am supposed to meet with a good friend of mine tomorrow, who happens to be one of the best fabricators i have ever met, and he will give me his opinion on how to mount this hitch.
Bill...would it be at all possible to see a couple pix of what exactly your hitch looks like underneath your 77 TC??? I would really like to see if it is a comparable product.....

What is the opinion of you guys on Welding vs. Bolting?? Or how about a combination of both??

This big "TownHouse" has a MONSTER frame under it, prolly heavier than todays F-350 SD, so frame integrity is not an issue....

Also, where would I procure a set of the original style fender mirrors????

On another tack....I have spoken to many guys in the past who towed large trailers with Unit Body Cars, back in the day, and by and large have had no significant problems....so you guys querying about Vintage Chryslers or 58 thru 69 Continentals, shouldn't worry.... A good hitch mounted properly, and you're "good to go"....

Rodger "with a D".... You sound like an ex Chrysler exec.....do you possibly know Fred Hudson, who was the head of the Imperial Studio in the Exner years from '57 to '60???? he is a dear friend of mine, almost 85, still has his own independent marine design business in Miami, and i have a portfolio of his work from back then, with several proposed Imperial designs.... Cool stuff!!!
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