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alini

Would you drive across the country in your car?

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alini    120

Looking for the opinions of guys with 1st and 2nd gen mostly.  Anything later is designed for more modern highway speeds.

 

Throwing the gas mileage discussion to the side.  Do you think the car mechanically would handle a cross country journey at current highway speeds?  Would you change your driving to more 'period correct' to keep engine wear down or is it really safe hitting the road at 65 for hours on end??

 

I have had two guys offering to buy the car wanting to make cross country jaunts after they bought the car.  Of course the deals feel through and I still have my car but it made me wonder, would I want to drive a 65 across the country.

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Rivdrivn    98

I've driven my '69 cross country with no problems going 80-100 mph all day. Well, I take that back, finding gas can be a problem in some states. And I can hardly stand up once I get there, but otherwise it's all good. Haven't tried it in the '65 yet.

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Grimy    293

I'm no longer a Buick owner, but....

 

In 1966 I drove my 1947 Desoto Suburban from Oakland, CA to Fort Benning, GA, solo, in three days.  Had to replace the generator brushes (myself) in Truth or Consequences, NM (appropriately enough!).  After graduating from the Ft Benning School for Wayward Boys (Infantry Officers' Basic Course) nine weeks later, I drove it to Ft Holabird, Baltimore, MD.  Eight months later we went to Ft Bragg, NC, and then in another three days back to Oakland.

 

After returning from Vietnam, in May 1968 I drove my newly-acquired 1939 Cadillac 75 7-passenger from Oakland to my next assignment in Wash DC the long way, via Grand Canyon, New Orleans, Gulf Coast, Ft Benning, Atlanta, Knoxville, and up the Shenandoah Valley.

 

Leaving active duty in Sept 1971, I used my 1964 Cadillac Fleetwood to tow the 1939 Cad from Baltimore to Oakland.

 

In 1997 I auditioned retirement (the audition was a success!) by driving my 1936 Pierce with factory overdrive from Oakland to Cleveland, then to Detroit, to Superior, WI for a Pierce meet, and home via U.S. 2 across ND and MT, thru Glacier Park, to Coeur d'Alene, along the Colombia, then south to CA.

 

Know what your car CAN and CAN'T do, carry tools and usual spares--and a club roster, and have a plan in case Something Big happens.  Age of the car is not that much of an issue....condition is, and so is your skill.

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KongaMan    169

I've taken mine on several jaunts of 1000+ miles.  Never gave it a second's thought as to whether such ventures might be beyond the limitations of the car.  From my experience, they clearly weren't.

 

BTW, what was the speed limit in the mid-60s?  Remember, folks squawked when it was lowered to 55.  It's doubtful the preceding higher limits were just a temporary blip.

 

My dad went from Ohio to California (and back) in a Buick in 1925.  I'd think a 60s car would have no trouble making the journey on modern roads.

Edited by KongaMan (see edit history)

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Grimy    293

In my 1966 run, speed limits were 65 on divided highways and 55 otherwise; interstate highway system had some gaps.  With a few exceptions like NV, that's where they stayed until the Double Nickel mandate of the 1970s fuel crisis.

 

The DeSoto had taller gears and cruised at 65.  Due to its gearing, I kept the 1939 Cad to 55-58 mph and didn't irk too many people.  Towing the 1939 with the 1964, I ran at 55-58, but the '64 Cad was good for 75-80 cruise solo.  The factory OD allowed me to run the 1936 Pierce at 65-70 (2,700 rpm at 70).

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PWB    219

Well I've driven coast to coast on a 86' V8 and NY to NOLA in a '77 V8 GM high mileage all.

I would drive my '67 at 75mph on Strato Bench glory.

Cell phones, AAA in the USA! B)

 

slide1.jpg

Edited by PWB (see edit history)

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Riviera63    68

Chris,

 

I know this example isn't a total cross-country run but, may give some insight as to how a first Gen Riv will do. In 2014 my brother-in-law Greg and I drove my 1963 401 equipped Riviera out to the ROA International Convention in Colorado Springs from central Wisconsin. We made it a 2 day trip, stopping one night at a motel. On both of the driving days we drove straight through only stopping for gas. The stretches in Nebraska and Colorado where the speed limit is higher, we drove a solid 80-85 mph for long periods of time. The Riv loved running at those speeds on the highway. For the return trip we actually had 4 guys in the car and a trunk packed so full you couldn't get another thing in it. The car performed flawlessly. Again we were running 80-85 for long periods with no problem.

 

Last year Greg and I took the Riv to Flint, MI from central WI. via the upper peninsula which is a 10 hour drive one way. We drove straight through there and back only stopping for gas. On that trip we were running 70-75 mph for long stretches. Again the car ran flawlessly. 

 

The one thing I took away from these trips is that these cars love the highway and highway speeds. I hope this helped.

 

Bill

 

 

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RoadShark    37

I drove a '67 Chevy C10 (with ultra-rare '66 bed option :P) from CT to Alaska with a couple of buddies.  14,000 miles in 3 weeks with a straight six and 3-on-the-tree.  

 

 

alaska_-_small.jpg

A1991 08.jpg

A1991 13.jpg

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PWB    219
4 minutes ago, RoadShark said:

I drove a '67 Chevy C10 (with ultra-rare '66 bed option :P) from CT to Alaska with a couple of buddies.  14,000 miles in 3 weeks with a straight six and 3-on-the-tree.  

 

 

 

 

Thats the record breaker! One tough rough ride.

Bet you wish you done it in a Riviera. But then you'd have been so comfortable you might have fallen asleep on such a haul. ;)

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rapom    20

I do a lot of highway driving in my 64.  I use it for work so it gets about at least 1 hour of highway driving on nice days.  I have a gear vendors overdrive and a vintage air system plus chrysler sebring conv. seats which all add up to making it a comfortable safe drive.

IMG_0383.JPG

IMG_0385.JPG

Edited by rapom
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Black River    97

I haven't taken the Riv on any big road trips yet, but that's the plan for the summer.  I drove the Cadillac to Vegas and back from Montana for Barrett Jackson last October, and wouldn't hesitate to do it again.  Can't think of anything better than a roadie in a classic car.  Can't wait to get the '63 out and in it's natural element.

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petelempert    43

I agree with Grimy. If you know your car, have some skills and are prepared for the unexpected...you could probably drive a first or second gen Riv around the planet. These cars were meant for the highway and exceeded the performance/capability of most 60's cars back in the day. When I was a kid, we used to drive from Long Island up to my grandparents in upstate NY in the summer. My first ever memory of a Riviera was seeing a black 65 whoosh past our station wagon carrying about 85 mph on the Tappan Zee bridge. Minutes later I saw it parked at a Howard Johnson's roadside restaurant in Sloatsburg. Soon after, the same 65 hauled past us again at about 90mph. Again, I soon saw it parked at the Hojo's beside the highway at Newburgh. This went on all the way north practically to Montreal. They passed us about ten times. I'm sure that driver was stopping for a smoke and a double bubble at every Hojo's up I-87. Each time I saw that Riv, it was steamrolling down the road passing everything else without even breaking a sweat. The biggest thing holding cars back in the 60's was tires and poor mileage. With modern radials and a credit card for gas, I'm thinking a well sorted Riv could go anywhere. My 63 really likes 65-70mph on the highway and seems in it's element. What kills me is the rock chips. That and the morons driving a clapped out Kia at 95mph, while talking on their phone and cutting me off on their sprint to the vape shop. PRL

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RoadShark    37

I got this Bel Air for free.  It went around the lower 48 a couple of times.  Had to replace a fuel pump, a shock, and replace converter bolts (my bad from a power glide - to -th350 swap).  No big deal.

A1991 40.jpg

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RoadShark    37
2 hours ago, PWB said:

Bet you wish you done it in a Riviera. But then you'd have been so comfortable you might have fallen asleep on such a haul. ;)

 

Aye - that would have been tough for the driver.  We were doing 8-hour shifts: 8 driving, 8 navigating, and 8 in the back recuperating.  95 hours non-stop until we got above Fairbanks.  I recommend doing this when you are young...:mellow:

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Seafoam65    185

           Chris, these cars were designed to run all day at 70 or 80 miles per hour. That being said, your car

was recently completely redone and has very few miles on the rebuild. Your car hasn't been driven enough

to be sorted out yet. Because of that, I think the plans of your potential buyers would not be something I would want to risk.

Of course, if you tell them that, it may discourage them from buying it, so I would not tell them that unless they are a friend of yours. I can share a personal experience in this regard. Back in 1990, I had

just finished a 4 year resto on my 69 GTO convertible. I had only driven it to a few local car events at a

total of maybe 150 miles, when I decided to drive it from Dallas to Kansas City for the Pontiac-Oakland

Club convention. I got as far as the middle of Oklahoma when the car backfired and died at 70 miles per hour. It turns out that when I degreased the distributor while rebuilding the engine, I had inadvertently

washed off all the internal grease on the distributor shaft and it had frozen up in the distributor housing,

causing the distributor housing to rotate 180 degrees, even though it was clamped down to the block.

By some miracle, this did not damage the distributor drive gears on the camshaft, and by pure luck, it happened on the outskirts of a small town that had a wrecking yard with lots of 60's cars in it. I bought

a used distributor and installed it and went on my way after a two hour delay, but it could have been a real disaster. I still have the original distributor for my GTO and that shaft wouldn't turn with a six foot

cheater pipe. It has welded itself to the aluminum housing and it would never come out unless you drilled it out.  Another story that comes to mind is what happened to Pete Lempert's 63 Riviera a few

months ago. He had just finished a resto and had been driving it to local events for 9 months when

his harmonic balancer came apart due to improper torque on the retaining bolt. If he had taken off cross country, this would have shut him completely down out in the middle of nowhere with no spare

parts available for several days. 

Edited by Seafoam65 (see edit history)

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petelempert    43

That's the "well sorted part". I wouldn't drive any old car a long distance if it hadn't already proven itself. Half the "fully restored" cars I see overheat on the 5 mile ride to the weekend burger joint for the Saturday night cruise in. PRL

 

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PWB    219

Man thats awesome.

I dont know whether those are flames or it's beard blowin in the wind :D

I'd take your Bel Air to Alaska in place of the truck.

 

39 minutes ago, RoadShark said:

I got this Bel Air for free.  It went around the lower 48 a couple of times.  Had to replace a fuel pump, a shock, and replace converter bolts (my bad from a power glide - to -th350 swap).  No big deal.

A1991 40.jpg

 

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PWB    219

I'll vouch for those Sebring seats. I owned them and are they extremely comfortable/durable. And they look pretty darn good in your Riv' - surprisingly.

 

2 hours ago, rapom said:

I do a lot of highway driving in my 64.  I use it for work so it gets about at least 1 hour of highway driving on nice days.  I have a gear vendors overdrive and a vintage air system plus chrysler sebring conv. seats which all add up to making it a comfortable safe drive.

IMG_0383.JPG

IMG_0385.JPG

 

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rapom    20

It's amazing how much more comfortable a old car can be with modern seats.  The only thing else that would be icing on the cake would be an armrest.  But that wouldn't look right and I don't miss it since it never had it.

 

I think I would have died of discomfort if I would have did the Alaska trip in an old pickup.  25 years ago I could have done it but not now.

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alini    120

I completely agree, as long as you know the car go for it.  I was just taken back by guys who wanna come buy a car and jump in and take that kinda trip.  Mind you my car is running great and handles the highway fine.  I've debated about going to Reno if I still have it then, and at this rate it looks like I will.  BTW the sales fell out because they never came to town like they said they were, not because of anything to do with the car.

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KongaMan    169

IMHO, the ability of the car to make such a trip depends more on the mechanic than the car.  There's always the wild card, but it's usually deferred (read: neglected) maintenance or a previous repair that bites you.

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14 hours ago, RoadShark said:

I drove a '67 Chevy C10 (with ultra-rare '66 bed option :P) from CT to Alaska with a couple of buddies.  14,000 miles in 3 weeks with a straight six and 3-on-the-tree.  

 

 

alaska_-_small.jpg

A1991 08.jpg

A1991 13.jpg

 

You sir are truly hard core !

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Lapham3    5

The comment regarding tire quality reminds that as a young pup I worked for a while in a busy Goodyear tire shop. Some may remember that in the 60's the OE tires were 2 ply and the 4 ply were optional-and quality of many tires was iffy.  Tires with defects and being out-of -round (and wheels) were every day. It wasn't rare on a road trip to have flats, cord separations or road hazard events. Spare tire use was always part of the picture. (as bent 'decorative' Riv bumpers from the OE jack can attest!)Tires are much better today, but there are still many, IMO, that are not round enough. We used a spinning 'hop' of more than 0.030" as a guide and trued many tires over this amount. Today, about nobody but racers know about this and the term is now 'shaved'. 'Road force' balancing 'manages' sins today. As always, monitor tire condition and pressure. (and bring along a small floor jack!)   Rivs, do love the open road.    Dan    Mpls. Mn.

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petelempert    43

Seafoam-Just a little more history on my harmonic balancer event. Turns out the balancer was fine, it literally just came loose. To your point (and luckily) I'd only been driving it around town when it started acting odd. The nut was not correctly torqued and it worked loose.  One new nut/washer, some Locktite and 220lbs later it was solved. Also luckily, the nose of the crank was fine. One the road, this might have been a much bigger problem. PRL
 

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60FlatTop    2,002

If a car will go 15 miles with a stop at 7 1/2 and home again it will go anywhere. All the mechanical functions come up to operating conditions in a drive like that. Right now the only car I wouldn't take is the Packard because I am still farting around with the new taillight harness.

 

Now there is a caveat. There is one question that the owner must honestly answer. Will your car be OK for a long trip?

 

There are three answers that only they can give:

     1, Yes

     2. No

     3. I don't know

 

Only one answer is right. One of the wrong answers is acceptable.

 

Two issues in a long drive reliability are the brakes and the rear end. You guys with bad brakes know it, You are the ones whom always brake gently and avoid putting too much pressure on the system, And always ready for a jerk on the steering wheel if one wheel locks up. You know you are at risk and adapt your driving to it. Don't think I don't know how many of you relate to that!

The second, the rearend is more common than one would expect. If your car spent a long time in unheated storage the rearend needed to be flushed and refilled back when you started driving it. It is amazing how much water condenses inside that mass of vented steel. And, over the years, it seems to be one of the most overlooked recommissioning services I have seen.

 

If it makes the 15 mile trip and you have addressed the brakes and rearend, you should be good to go.

 

I am remembering a call I got from my Daughter about 10 years ago. She was leaving work and lost the brakes on her Roadmaster in the parking lot. She was 25 miles way, in the city, a few blocks from the expressway. I told her I would be right there. When I arrived there was a puddle of brake fluid under the driver's door. I handed her the keys to my truck and told her I would bring it back when it was fixed. She asked how I was going to get home. "Drive your car." She exclaimed "It has no brakes." I told her I didn't need to stop that much. She went home stuttering on that one. I brought it back and asked her if she hadn't heard of "The Male Mystique". Years ago my Grandfather had told me about driving through Chicago on Main Street in a Model T with no brakes. YOu remember stuff like that.

Bernie

Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)
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