MrEarl

Towing Trailers With '50's Buick's, Who's Done It

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That Airstream behind the Buick convertible was a lot more recent picture that the other haulers.

50e5fdcb39c0438785d1310386e22071--airstr

 

It is not a big one, a Bambi or Bambino. It would say that would be the limit of what could safely be pulled on today's roads. Those other pictures are from a time when driving conditions would have been much safer and less distracted drivers on the road, probably a more forgiving group, as well.

 

Here is a piece of history relative to those days:

"In 1951, the basic speed limit in NY State was 50 mph, and you were in violation if you exceeded that speed for a distance of greater than 1/4 mile.  In spite of relatively inexpensive gasoline, the 1951 manual states that “high speeds are uneconomical”, and that “high speed increases gas and oil consumption, and shortens the life of the tires”."

Try running 50 MPH on any state two lane highway today. Even 55 or 60 is not enough to satisfy some yahoo on their way home from work. Different world. This period of time will go down in history as The Age of Entitlement. Don't get in the way!

Bernie

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Good points Bernie. Based on your viewpoints one might also say that "Slow Speed Kills". And I recognize that. I have seen and read of many cases of reckless drivers speeding and possibly using the right lane to overtake slower traffic in there lane and being met with an even slower vehicle in the right lane and either crashing into that vehicle or making other potentially deadly maneuvers in order to avoid collision. So, duly noted, thanks. 

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Finally found it in my mess of 50's Buick tech articles and books. This is the 1954 issue. I know there are also '56 and '57 issues and if anyone has those and if there is any substantial updates that might be interest here, please consider scanning and posting.

 

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Great find Lamar, thanks for posting. Interesting reading.  Didn't know electric trailer brakes were avail in 54 (as implied in srticlr if I tread it right).   Kinda skeptical on those dynaflow claims.  For estimating purposes, if a tongue weight of 12% - 15% of the weight of the trailer is assumed that 500 lbs max axle weight translates to about 3300 - 4100 lbs fully loaded trailer weight towing capability.  Have you found anything directly indicating the max trailer weight rating for the vehicle?  

 

Agree with Bernie on the towing speed on today's highways - much larger and faster equipment out there today and not everyone  driving large trailers is considerate of their wind draft when rapidly overtaking a smaller, slower tow vehicle.

 

When my car first got pulled from the shed it had those rubber air lifts in the springs.  My grandfather constantly hauled heavy equipment and tools in the trunk and the Air Lifts prevented the car from bottoming out on the mining roads.  I pulled them out as they were pretty dry rotted and replaced with new ones until new springs were put in years later.  Never knew they were a dealer option.

 

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On 7/21/2017 at 9:28 AM, Lars Westerberg said:

It is possible in Sweden:)

IMG_0594.JPG

IMG_0595.JPG

I remember as a kid we vacationed in Yosemite National park in our 1948 Fleetline Chevrolet pulling a similar trailer. All 6 cylinders, four people, and tough climbs but we made it. Buicks are far tougher cars so why worry?

Edited by JFranklin (see edit history)
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That is a nice row of nominally 6 liter RWD 4,000 pound cars with fairly light trailers, in Sweden. And, in Sweden, who do they share the road with?. US highways are populated by V8trucks and SUV's, secondary two lane roads included. I live within 10 miles of Interstate 90, a toll road. In the 10 miles between are 2 parallel roads with heavy, high speed, commercial truck traffic avoiding the tolls, and 1 mile to the north a third. All have grade crossings and the intersections I choose to avoid frequently have accidents.

 

How long would you wait in Sweden for a car greater than 3.0 liters to go by? Driving a car 55-60 MPH is "slow lane" stuff. I run my cars at 60-65. The speed minder on my Electra is set above 80.

 

Drivers SEE and old car and speed to get past thinking it is slower. That's a fact, no matter how fast you are going. To hook a trailer behind is not something I would do with an old car. There are drivers out there who are completely inconsiderate and aggressive. There are also some so considerate they will stop in their flowing lane of traffic to let someone out of a driveway and think they are being "nice".

 

Interesting comment on that '48 OHV 216 cubic inch Chevy. There was a Buick Enclave pictured with a trailer a few posts ago. Like to guess what 3.6 liters converts to? And a 2WD Enclave weighs 4500 pounds, AWD is 5,000.

 

Driving is much more dangerous than those days in the 1950's. The US is not the place to play. Europe, maybe.

 

I do know that fatal incidents after the reproductive years of your life have no affect on any of Darwin's theories.

Bernie

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8 hours ago, old-tank said:

Stop the hand bringing and just do it.  Sheesh!

 

There will be enough occasions for failure and proving all the naysayers here right without my going out half cocked. I'm just like an old computer and printer I guess, slow at processing information and even slower at implementing. 

In other words, never arriving, always just getting there. :(

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Another very important difference that I noticed between European and American drivers is that Europeans know what lane you are supposed to DRIVE in and which lane you are supposed to PASS in.

Driving with patience, civility and courtesy is rare to see.

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1 hour ago, Ben Bruce aka First Born said:

  Lamar, install the hitch. Hook on to the car hauling trailer you have. Go for a drive. 

 

  See you in Denver.  WITH our trailers.

 

  Ben

 

Thanks for your support Ben. I had practically given up on the notion of pulling with the '54 but now am considering using it for shorter and flatter country trips and an suv for long hauls and mountains. 

 

I think swapping out the rear end to the 3.9 which I already have , rebuilding and installing the '56 Carter, again which I already have and having a good rear spring booster set up installed would handle the trailer we are now considering. I think I've bout got the trailer hitch figured out but the brakes are still an issue. Not real happy with the power brakes on the Roadmaster either, hell, they drew criticism from Ralph Nadir back when.  

 

But Denver? , never happen. I've got one more round of pulling and selling parts that will hopefully give me enough bucks to finish the garage in say 8-10 months (remember I'm a one man crew)  and then and only then can I start on getting Buttercup put back together and set up for towing. So, see you in Oklahoma! :)

 

Getting there.....

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31 minutes ago, Tinindian said:

The journey is what is important not the destination.

 

Excellent point friend, and I have a feeling you're not just speaking of on the road. 

Thanks:)

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1 hour ago, buick5563 said:

Another very important difference that I noticed between European and American drivers is that Europeans know what lane you are supposed to DRIVE in and which lane you are supposed to PASS in.

Driving with patience, civility and courtesy is rare to see.

 

Very true Mike. I've always wished they would implement a law that required drivers to turn on their turn signal before passing, leaving it on while in the passing lane and NOT  turn it off until AFTER returning to the travel lane. Yea thought a Texan would get a laugh out of that. 

Y'all have some crazy passing scenarios in Texas for sure. I'll never forget learning why  your farm to market roads are so wide. A pickup full of cowboy's all brandishing the middle finger taught me though! that when you see a vehicle pull up behind a slow moving trailer of goats in Texas, you better pull yo ass over to the right and give them full and wide birth.  :wacko::o:lol: and being it was Texas I'm sure the finger wasn't all they were brandishing? 

 

Honestly though, I hope be able to give sufficient time to trips and PLAN trips that require as little time on "super" highways as possible. Easier said than done I am sure, just need to consider the planning as part of the fun. 

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There is such a wealth of practical experience in your thread Lamar! Much of the items in that Buick brochure are basic prep for towing and short of swapping the transmission you should be able to stay under 3500 lbs loaded trailer if there are only two of you travelling and you leave the 30 packs of beer and cigars home.  Put 2 gallons of water in it for emergency pit stops and try it out close to home for long weekends. Then go cross country with the Tahoe or something else to scout the route.

 

The Air Lifts, hitch, electric brakes, fan, towing mirrors and external tranny cooler are all easily removable to put the car back to stock.  Axle ratio a bonus.

 

Take the highway hooligan inputs to heart from those of us that have towed and still tow campers around 60.  Stay aware of your surroundings, practice your cussing, pull over and let others pass, it will be fine.

 

Now if you'relike the rest of us RV'ers and the bug bites and you try to hitch a fifth wheel into the trunk of the car we will be at your door with torches and pitchforks :)

 

 

 

 

Edited by KAD36 (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, MrEarl said:

In other words, never arriving, always just getting there.

 

117 posts and I had not seen Infiniti mentioned.

2015-Infiniti-Q70_06-751x501.jpg

 

That could be a great song in the Kingston Trio style. "He will ride forever on the border of Georgia, he's the man who never returned."

His Wife runs along side and hands him a sandwich on the long uphill draw just north of Savannah.

 

Showing my age....

 

Just thinkin', that's the old MTA song. Maybe the new one could be the Man with Trailer Algorithm .

Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, KAD36 said:

There is such a wealth of practical experience in your thread Lamar! Much of the items in that Buick brochure are basic prep for towing and short of swapping the transmission you should be able to stay under 3500 lbs loaded trailer if there are only two of you travelling and you leave the 30 packs of beer and cigars home.  Put 2 gallons of water in it for emergency pit stops and try it out close to home for long weekends. Then go cross country with the Tahoe or something else to scout the route.

 

The Air Lifts, hitch, electric brakes, fan, towing mirrors and external tranny cooler are all easily removable to put the car back to stock.  Axle ratio a bonus.

 

Take the highway hooligan inputs to heart from those of us that have towed and still tow campers around 60.  Stay aware of your surroundings, practice your cussing, pull over and let others pass, it will be fine.

 

Now if you'relike the rest of us RV'ers and the bug bites and you try to hitch a fifth wheel into the trunk of the car we will be at your door with torches and pitchforks :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good thoughts, thanks Ken! Cooling...I forgot, I also already have the 6 (or is it 5) blade fan mentioned in the above brochure also. I will be upgrading to a higher capacity radiator and consider using a '56 type with the transmission oil cooler in it. I also have a '56 timing chain cover and improved flow water pump in my stash.   I am sure I can get lots of pointers from here on the extremely important external tranny cooler at some point.

 

Lots to be considered and at some point I will be making a comprehensive list of to do's. I have plenty of time, just wanted to be researching and getting everybody's thoughts on what equipment might be worth considering or not, etc.

 

2 hours ago, KAD36 said:

if there are only two of you travelling and you leave the 30 packs of beer and cigars home.

 

against animal mechanic Willies advice, there will be three, don't forget Elvis the hound. (Or if absolutely necessary, I guess Rita could stay  home) No beer, should be able to get that on the road. Cigars? only a pound or so a box, no problem there. Spare parts, now that is another story. Coming in a later chapter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, 60FlatTop said:

 

117 posts and I had not seen Infiniti mentioned.

 

That could be a great song in the Kingston Trio style. "He will ride forever on the border of Georgia, he's the man who never returned."

His Wife runs along side and hands him a sandwich on the long uphill draw just north of Savannah.

 

Showing my age....

 

Just thinkin', that's the old MTA song. Maybe the new one could be the Man with Trailer Algorithm .

 

Going to Savannah this weekend Bernie, how north of Savannah is that uphill draw you speak of?  Sure some will be glad this thread will get some rest. Know the song well Bernie but dang it, it will probably be stuck in my head for the rest of the day I bet!!

 

 

27 minutes ago, 56BuickSuper said:

What trailer are you considering, just asking.

 

Still considering the 2015 Shasta Airflyte 16 Dan. I think it is a bit overpriced for what you get.  But have been looking at a lot of true 50's/60's vintage ones and like the floor plans of some of them better. Weight is the biggest concern of all of them.

 

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Doesn't that get you, when a person gets a song stuck in your head.

 

I made a few trips down to Savannah when I was stationed at the Navy base in Charleston, SC. I'm pretty sure I remember it. We were always heading out for places where we hoped to find girls a little dumber than sailors. Even if we got close a couple beers would put us back on the minus side.

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Looks like I found one of them, well, smart but dumb enough to stick with me.

 

So far....:unsure:

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Lamar,

 

I understand about the weight issues, but the shasta does not have a bed, you have to convert the dinette.  The wet bath is also very small. Have you been in one yet?

 

I am in no way trying to discourage you, and I have an idea of what you are going for.  Have you considered a teardrop type.  Thr R pod rp-171 weighs 2342, and has a bed.  For an additional 300 lbs the rp-180 has a bigger dry bath.  http://www.forestriverinc.com/product-details.aspx?LineID=173&ShowParent=1&ModelID=1945#Main

 

Both the Shasta and R pods are made by Forrest River, the Airflyte is no longer made.  

 

Whatever you decide, I am rooting for you.

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30 minutes ago, 56BuickSuper said:

Whatever you decide, I am rooting for you.

 

Thanks Dan, appreciate that. Looked at the two you suggested. Amazing how they get so much in the rp-171 relative to the weight. Pretty luxurious looking. I'm a bit more into the vintage look and feel I think. Rita though, I'm afraid to show her these models. I guess I could always have one repainted and with a sweepspear on the side. LOL  Just curious, do you know whats the price tag on say a base rp-171.

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