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Old 12-13-2015, 02:00 PM   #1
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Vintage towables?

I know there are many newer towable cars, but who has a vintage car they tow? I'm talking 1974 or older, and prefer a small car/truck, not a sports car, something that can handle 2 people and a dog as a minimum. I know older Jeeps will work, and 4WD is a plus, but I'm open to anything. I've thought about old Volvos, Hillman Husky, old Mini's, etc., just not sure if they are towable or not. What have you towed that's older and what have you seen.
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Old 12-14-2015, 10:00 AM   #2
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We tow a '74 VW Beetle (standard, not Super Beetle). To tow it, you just put the transmission in neutral, put the key in the ignition switch, turn it to "run" and then back to off, and leave the key in the switch. The steering wheel stays unlocked until the key is removed. We have towed ours probably 25,000 or more with no problems at all. At roughly 1900 pounds, the MH doesn't even know it is back there. Only drawback is I have to lay on the ground to put on the tow bar but I keep a large garbage bag handy to lay on. BTW, the tow bar is only about $100-$150.
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Old 12-14-2015, 02:38 PM   #3
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Just because it has a manual trans does not mean it is towable four-down. Depends on the trans design and if it gets sufficient lube from the output shaft turning and not the input shaft. You can always use a driveshaft disconnect and then you can tow almost any rwd vehicle. As you suggested, a 4x4 tends be easy since the transfer case is put into neutral, and that generally will lube OK.

Once you get an idea of the vehicle to tow, you can probably get good info on towing requirements if you find a specific forum for that vehicle. The members there would have the detailed knowledge to answer the question.

I know it does not answer your question, but I tow my 52 GMC hot rod pickup, but using a driveshaft disconnect since it has a Chevy V8 and 700R4 auto trans. Certainly gets a lot of looks and comments. Other of my hot rods I just trailer, they aren't set up for four-down.
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Old 12-14-2015, 07:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LakeTahoe View Post
What have you towed that's older and what have you seen.
Before I got an enclosed trailer, I made baseplates for, and towed, my 1966 Mustang GT Fastback and my 1959 Austin Healey to a few out of town car shows.

I gave my Mustang baseplate to a friend and he now regularly tows his 1965 Mustang convertible.

Tim
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Old 12-14-2015, 09:38 PM   #5
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I realize many manual trans can't be safely towed 4 down. I have gone to many forums of Vintage cars with too many conflicting answers. I guess not many tow 4 down and know factually one way or another. I like the beetle idea, that may be an excellent choice, or maybe a Thing, or? I'll continue my research.
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Old 12-15-2015, 06:35 AM   #6
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Most pre 1964 automatic transmissions had rear pumps. They were there so they could be push started. Those could be towed.
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Old 12-15-2015, 06:54 PM   #7
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Most pre 1964 automatic transmissions had rear pumps. They were there so they could be push started. Those could be towed.
I'm not sure about towing. Mercedes had these secondary pumps in their 722.3 transmissions until about 1990, but it would disengage as soon as main pump developed pressure. As you said, they will allow push start, but not towing for any long distance, at least Mercedes, don't know about other cars.
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Old 12-16-2015, 01:56 PM   #8
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We're narrowing it down. I think number one on the list right now is a Karmann Ghia! Room for the dog, room for us, it's lightweight, stylish, can be upgraded performance wise, and I've never owned one before. We love Sportscars and have owned 16 of them from Austin Healys, Sunbeams, Miatas, an Alfa, Lotus's, and Mercedes. I think the Karmann Ghia can fall into that group and I'd love to upgrade the suspension, brakes, and engine during the Winter months. Next is to find a rust free driver, close to home, that's reasonably priced. Not in a hurry so I can take my time finding the right one.
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Old 12-17-2015, 12:15 AM   #9
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I love Karmann Ghias but we needed a four passenger car. You might check some VW part suppliers to verify if the tow bar for Beetles with the torsion front suspension is the same one to use on the Ghias. Ghias sit a little lower to the ground. All vintage VWs with standard transmission can be towed 4-down but the auto-stick transmissions cannot. If you get one, check out AC Industries for disk brake kits. I converted my Beetle to 4 wheel disc brakes and I have been very pleased. The kits were reasonably priced and installation was pretty easy.
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Old 12-17-2015, 11:13 AM   #10
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I did some research and you can buy an extention (18 in) to the bug tow bar, for use on the Ghia. Also, supprise, the Autostick can be towed, however I'd prefer the manual. I'd like to find one in the next 6 months if possible, but if it takes longer I'm okay with that.
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Old 12-17-2015, 11:31 AM   #11
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I have towed a 53 Ford Customline with my 77 Dodge Travco without issue.
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Old 12-19-2015, 04:53 AM   #12
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It's been allot of years since I played with VW Bettles and Karmenn Ghias (mid to late 60s vintage), but back then, head work, exhaust, and carburetor work were the standard fare. Although I never tried it, rumor had it back then that a Porsche 911 motor would fit like a glove in the Ghia, creating a great sleeper. I'm sure clutch and transaxle work would be needed as well. Good luck in your search!
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