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Old 03-09-2020, 07:07 AM   #1
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1960 26' Overlander
Wervicq-Sud , FRANCE
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Cheap vintage vehicle for an AS 31'

Good morning Everybody,


For a future project, I wonder which good vintage vehicle, more than 30 years old, for towing a 31' Airstream.


Not a 34' triple axle because it's too long for me... mostly for French campground and our road. A 31' is the maximum.


I can find tow vehicle here but you have more advices about a good vintage vehicule with a good price (cheap around 8.000 usd) and obviously with 4 seats.


In France, I can find old vehicle like F150, K1500 but they are too expensive... I think the price can be better if the vehicle comes with the trailer. And the transport price can be shared.


I can find easily (not vintage) Chevy Tahoe for good price but I prefer a vintage vehicle.


It can be van, 4x4 (only 3/4 ton).


I hope you can help me or enlighten me!


Thank you very much.


GaŽl.
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Old 03-09-2020, 08:08 AM   #2
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Most (not all) American vehicles older than 25 years claimed capable of towing a 7500-9000 lb trailer have pretty poor suspension, transmission and sometimes braking so if you want to tow with good safety margins, you'll want to consider some upgrades depending on what you end up with.

What kind of look are you going for? The 80's and 90's 3/4 ton trucks are all very similar and could use some suspension tuning. The Full size vans and GM series Suburbans like vehicles are interesting and also could use some suspension improvements. Dodge Ram same thing there.
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Old 03-09-2020, 08:28 AM   #3
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1960 26' Overlander
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Hello Brian,


Thank you for your answer,
It's difficult to say exactly what kind of look I'm going for... I wish to answer you for a truck (the 80's) and I don't have especially a favorite brand (Ford, Chevy, Dodge...), Extended cab or crew cab, dually rear axle...why not.
I think a 4WD is better than a 2WD because sometimes, the ground of our campgrounds is grass and sometimes sloping too... I already had to use the 4WD of the Tahoe to take out the Airstream in a campsite...!

I can't be too demanding for the choice of vehicle with this price...
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Old 03-09-2020, 06:35 PM   #4
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If you were in the USA you'd have no trouble with that budget, those old trucks are dime a dozen, I could get a oldie but goodie for $500 and put maybe $5000 into it and it would be so cool. It would be nice if you matched roughly the year of the truck to the trailer. Probably doesn't matter that much either since a suspension upgrade is likely no matter what. Older than '95 and you're likely going to have a carburetor rather than fuel injection, and the computer controlled fuel injection and ignition is so much nicer. Ah well what's a poor boy to do?

Ah the old full size chevy Blazers were pretty good also....
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Old 03-10-2020, 03:50 AM   #5
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1960 26' Overlander
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Thank you Brian for your analysis!


The fuel economy is probably better with an injection engine but it isn't a priority, it wll not be a daily car, only for roadtrip.


I think I have to select some trucks for sorting a good list of them (by year, engine, reliability, size etc.)


The AS will be a 70's I think, maybe 80's... no more.



Thank you again


GaŽl.
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Old 03-10-2020, 04:42 AM   #6
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My 2 cents:
Back in the day my Dad pulled his Airstream with a '76 F250 with a 460ci engine - gas hog but other than a couple of starters, never gave him any trouble.


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Old 03-10-2020, 09:13 AM   #7
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1993 25' Excella
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Good luck on finding one , but , an International Travelall would be a cool tow vehicle. They had a 3/4 ton , 4 X 4 version. Get Manual transmission !!
As said earlier , any 3/4 ton pickup , but crew cabs were hard to get in the 70's and 80's ,or another option with lots of seating is a Chevy Suburban 3/4 ton.
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Old 03-10-2020, 09:59 AM   #8
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3/4 ton Suburban great, but on the roads in France, might be a little too long.
Not too many crew cab pickups 30 years ago.
Yes, the International Travelall would be a great look but if you can find one it will probably need some work however, you should be OK with that budget.
There are probably some custom vans out there.
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Old 03-10-2020, 12:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaŽl View Post
...dually rear axle...why not...
Depending on make and year a dually truck would be 14" to 20"(35-51 cm) wider then an already wide vehicle. This could make it challenging on some roads and campgrounds.
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Old 03-10-2020, 01:51 PM   #10
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Chevy Suburban. Full stop.
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Old 03-10-2020, 03:04 PM   #11
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Not 30 years old but a nice combo:


https://tampa.craigslist.org/hdo/rvs...073112587.html
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Old 03-15-2020, 10:38 AM   #12
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International travelall or three quarter ton Chevy Suburban. GMC had the same thing as the Chevy Suburban, but I don't remember the model.
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Old 03-15-2020, 08:53 PM   #13
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Salut Gael,
I have it easier choosing here in Canada. I have a 1950 Spartan 33 foot. Actually before the trailer I found a 1948 Pontiac 'Torpedo-Back' sedan. The body wasn't bad but the frame etc was bad, rotten in fact. Also, that didn't have decent suspension or brakes etc., as well as just a 6 cyl side valve motor.. not mine but just for an example; https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=...AAAAAdAAAAABAF

Solution will be a donor car; '63 Buick Wildcat. That frame and running gear will take a good V8 and I have a Lincoln independent rear setup (will be air)
Point is, you might be able to look at a decent more modern platform and find a suitable vintage body; best of both worlds? Might be more work than you want to take on and if you are looking at vans you might just find what you need.
Shipping from North America wouldn't be practical but are you free to look more towards eastern Europe? Might be some funky options there.. ;-)
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Old 03-15-2020, 09:48 PM   #14
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A late 1970s/early Ď80s General Motors B-body sedan (Caprice/Impala, Delta 88, Bonneville (Parisienne in Canada), or LeSabre) would get the job done. Look for a 5 litre or 5.7 V8. Some Oldsmobiles had a 6.6 option as well.

Any of these cars would be suitable for the lower speed towing you do in Europe.

If you want a truck, a Chevrolet or GMC Suburban from that era would be ideal. Iíd look for a nice 1500 with two wheel drive.

What rules do you need to follow to import, and what towing equipment can you use? Are you allowed to keep the 12 volt electric brakes, and use a weight distributing hitch?
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Old 03-16-2020, 05:46 AM   #15
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Good luck, for what it's worth we have a 1990 Ford F-250 4x4 with a 5 speed manual transmission and she pulls our 34 ft. Excella just fine. She has an extended cab but doesn't have rear doors and that's inconvenient. The key is she has the old international 7.3 diesel engine that is bulletproof but she lacks a turbo charger. The mileage is terrible when pulling the AS. Also I don't notice any real lack of pickup without the turbo charger.
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Old 03-20-2020, 02:20 PM   #16
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1960 26' Overlander
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Hello,
In Europe, American cars are too expensive... In eastern Europe too... Except some rarely vehicles... It isn't impossible.
Often, I can find easier good vehicles in US, and the shipping is not a problem, I have a friend in TX and another in FL for the moment, they are french and live in US since very long time
I've alreayd bought an Airtream 5 years ago but my friend who lives in TX, I've received it perfectly and it was very easy to make french documents.
Now, I think to buy the A/S and a truck (or other) at the same time is a good solution, the transport price can be shared between the car and the trailer...
I have my hitch distributor and ball mounth in my garage, I can tow 15000 lbs with... So I can't tow more than 7700 lbs in France with a car, it is the maximum legal weight.

Maybe, it's better and for sure more safety to tow with a more recent car... 90's and more... The general look is very different but not impossible...
Very very very difficult to make a choice...

I like the 7.3 Diesel too (IDI and Powerstroke), very expensive in Europe....

Many thanks
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Old 03-21-2020, 07:15 AM   #17
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And about the electric brake, no problem because the trailer is more than 30 years old
I can keep all the original system (normally...)
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Old 03-21-2020, 07:41 AM   #18
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Gael, I liked our 1987 2500 Suburban. It had a 7.4L engine and 2.73 rear axle, which were both unneeded. I liked the fuel injection, which was for California only at the time, all others had carburetors. If I looked for one now, I would try to find a 2500, 2 wheel drive, with 5.7 engine and 4.11 rear axle gears.
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Old 03-21-2020, 08:13 AM   #19
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"Cheap Vintage". Classic oxymoron.
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Old 03-21-2020, 09:56 AM   #20
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1960 26' Overlander
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aftermath View Post
"Cheap Vintage". Classic oxymoron.
Thank you so much for your constructive answer.
And I never said that I look for a vintage show car for a dozen dollars... But only a better "old" car than a recent vehicle only in order to be in a better harmony with the A/S...
I agree that a 2500 Suburban could be a good choice, the engine type isn't a problem for me, SB or BB
My project is for 2-3 years, no more but no now...
Thank you, and I will remember you when the moment will be done.
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