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Old 02-10-2003, 11:16 AM   #1
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'64 Buick Tow car?

Ok, I know the tow car threads have spoken regarding older cars, but how about this. 1964 Buick Skylark, 455 engine....... it's got to be better than my Chev Astro, right? All of these "classic" AS photos of the trailers being pulled by older cars, and my coming midlife crisis is making me yearn for something a bit older than me. I found a "cream puff", owned by the original owners, cherry shape (so far I think). Anyway, I know I'd put in some kind of floor mounted racing harness for better occupant control, and am looking into headrests, and a disk brake conversion for the front. Any other comments? Overlander64 - didn't you have an old Coronet with a similar sized engine?

The price is right, condition is great. Could easily seat six. I'm trying to convince myself and the wife.
Marc

PS - TT is Argosy 25 ft. Approx 6000 GVWR.
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Old 02-10-2003, 05:27 PM   #2
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Skylark

Hello Marc..

Wow, this is a tough one. I understand the desire, my neighbour had one of these many years ago. Power plus!!!

I was at the Hamilton RV show a couple weeks ago. The local radio station had a 1964 Ford Galaxie 500 XL on display. I just had to get down on the floor and check out the rear frame etc.

What a surprise. The frame's thickness was about the same guage and size as my Quest. The track was narrow. The distance from the axle to the back of the bumper was over "5 FT"
The wheelbase to overhang ratio is "52%" Not good!

Even if the Galaxie was brand new its overall towing performance would be scarry by todays standards. The Skylark would be similar I believe. Of course you could hook it all up and it would tow the trailer but would you really be happy with the result?????

The A/S dealer here has hooked up some interesting vehicles that I am aware of.

Late model Camaro convertible with manual trans.
Late model Sebring conv.
3 series BMW conv.
Caddy STS
Lexus 400 coupe

If you do decide to go for it let us know how it works.

Interesting project.
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Old 02-10-2003, 09:28 PM   #3
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'64 Buick Tow car?

Greetings Marc!

Yes, I do have a 1965 Dodge Coronet 500 Convertible that is equipped for towing. It is a 383 c.i. V8 with 335 HP. While from the standpoint of power it would be capable of towing my Overlander, there is just too much of a size differential (both weight and length). I have considered towing the Overlander just to nearby rallys, but with its marginal brakes I just don't like the idea of towing anything as large as the Overlander with the Coronet. I may change my mind (but I dout it as 3,000 pounds seemed to be a significant load for the car when it was my primary tow vehicle) if I can convince myself to upgrade to front disc brakes and a dual cylinder master cylinder. The Coronet would be a direct competitor to the Skylark of the same era with the only significant difference being unit body construction rather than body on frame as with the Buick.

Probably the single greatest deterrent to towing with a Vintage tow vehicle (prior to the mid-1970s) is the need to have a major valve job with specially hardened valve seat inserts to permit unleaded fuel to be burned without fear of recision. I have already had this procedure performed on my Dodge, but it was costly - - over $1,500 nearly 20 years ago. Based both upon my Dodge and Cadillac, setting up a Vintage car to tow will cost in the vicinity of $3,000 for various modifications such as recored radiator, heavy duty water pumps, heavy duty fuel pump, auxiliary electric fuel pump, custom class III/IV trailer hitch, major transmission service, major motor service, transmission oil cooler, motor oil cooler, spring replacement, shocks, rebuilding front end, etc.

If I were looking for a 1964 Vintage tow vehicle for my Overlander, I would be focusing on Invicta, Wildcat, LeSabre, Electra models with the larger wheelbase to go along with the power. My Dodge predated my Airstream, and is more likely to be called to tow the Minuet 6.0 Metre as it weighs less than 3,000 pounds fully loaded - - if I were looking for a similar vintage Dodge for towing the Overlander it would be the Monaco or 880 series.

Kevin
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Old 01-28-2008, 04:08 PM   #4
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So what did you get? I'm looking for something to pull my '64 Globetrotter, like a '67-'69 Dart convertible with the 273-318 V8.

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Old 01-28-2008, 04:15 PM   #5
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I happen to buy my Airstream trailer from my neighbor, who is original owner. About 10 years ago they also sold me original TV they used in years when the trailer was used for camping. It was 2-door 1969 Ford LTD with 280 engine. I restore the car and sold it few years back, so never had a chance to use the original setup, but from what the neighbors say, they had lot of pleasure while camping with it. The wife passed away in the mean time, while the husband is not very communicative, so can't get details, but you've got the idea. The car was averaging 7 mpg without towing, so I don't know if that would be economical TV with today's gas prices. I am planning to tow the 22' trailer with our Mercedes ML.
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Old 01-28-2008, 04:35 PM   #6
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I worked in a gas station in Piedmont CA throughout high school, until 1981. I had the opportunity to drive a lot of 60s-70s cars, and the GM cars felt the most secure. My 64 Airstream was pulled by a Ford Pickup by the original owner. Orinda? I know where that is.

We haven't been towing much, but have a Ridgeline to tow with currently.
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Old 01-28-2008, 04:43 PM   #7
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oldsmobile

i'd go w/ a front drive toronado w/ the 455 flat floor and will seat six comfortably.
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Old 01-28-2008, 05:14 PM   #8
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What year is your Toronado? I thought those would be great, so cool looking, to use as a tow car.
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Old 01-28-2008, 05:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Globie64
So what did you get?...
this thread is 5 YEARS OLD folks...

the o.p. is towing with a 94 dodge b350 van, as i recall.

cheers
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Old 01-28-2008, 05:24 PM   #10
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Hi, I realized that it was an old post and posted anyway, to see if anyone was listening.

Cheers, thanks a lot
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Old 01-28-2008, 05:50 PM   #11
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I realize that this is an old thread but it is still a valid question. We tow our '66 Trade Wind with our '71 Buick Centurion. It also has a 455cid engine but it has something else over the Skylark. Long wheel base and weight. Your thread does not say what length your Airstream is. I think for a Skylark your max tow length should be no more than 22'. The power of the 455 is really nice but if your trailer begins fishtailing the short wheel base of the TV will be a definite handicap. Power isn't everything when towing a travel trailer.
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Old 01-29-2008, 07:20 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crowbar68
i'd go w/ a front drive toronado w/ the 455 flat floor and will seat six comfortably.
I have a '66 Toronado with the 385 HP engine. On a trip to Yellowstone last summer, got 14.01 MPG with high octane fuel. The doors are so big, that there is a second set of latches for the rear seat passengers! This car can be set up with four wheel disc brakes for not much money.

Still looking for the advertisement showing the car with SOB trailer hooked up and the rear wheels are removed from the car! Not much overhang on the rear end compared to even a Suburban.
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Old 01-29-2008, 01:25 PM   #13
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Nice Toronado.

Barry
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Old 01-29-2008, 01:51 PM   #14
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Yes, a nice Toronado. The rear overhang on our Buick is a dissadvantage. Plus I need a longer hitch shank because the fuel filler is behind the licence plate in the center of the rear bumper! The 1000# bars of the WDH do help. But all things considered we do have a lot of fun.
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Old 01-29-2008, 03:21 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denis4x4
I have a '66 Toronado with the 385 HP engine. On a trip to Yellowstone last summer, got 14.01 MPG with high octane fuel. The doors are so big, that there is a second set of latches for the rear seat passengers! This car can be set up with four wheel disc brakes for not much money.

Still looking for the advertisement showing the car with SOB trailer hooked up and the rear wheels are removed from the car! Not much overhang on the rear end compared to even a Suburban.
very cool toro. i have a 68 and 71. i have seen that photo you speak of. would like a copy my self. my 75 airstream owners manual shows a winter picture of a 71/72? towing. they can tow but brakes are the problem. discs would help.
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Old 01-29-2008, 04:43 PM   #16
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That Toro photo is on site.
In a simular thread
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Old 01-29-2008, 05:12 PM   #17
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Thanks for the clarification- now I understand about the importance of road hugging weight and the tow car. I guess I won't be considering the Dart. What is the issue with the rear overhang? It seems like less would be better?
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Old 01-29-2008, 05:18 PM   #18
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I had forgotten about this thread. Regretably, we did not get the Buick. I have seen simular year Pontiac's that I too would like... I just starting thinking about that LONG trunk... the long overhang probably would be an issue.

Sure look cool though! Now a wagon might be nice too!
Marc
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Old 01-29-2008, 05:26 PM   #19
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The mid sized GM cars from the early 60s had two speed automatics, which I think would be a disadvantage towing something? I think the Buick was a version of Dynaflow, which is like a one speed automatic with low, VERY sluggish. I saw two really cool Fords on ebay today, '66 and 67 full sized convertibles...
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Old 01-29-2008, 05:38 PM   #20
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love it!

Hi Neil -

Your set up is just fabulous. Everytime I see your TV and trailer, I get goosebumps! We have a '58 T-bird that was given to my husband by a family member when he was just a teenager. Since I've known him, it's been in the garage and he's had all the best intentions to get it back to it's former glory. We are hoping to someday tow our Airstream with it, so seeing yours gives us motivation. There is just nothing cooler than a vintage car dragging a vintage Airstream!

Cheers,
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