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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Recently I made a thread about a cheap, reliable, and capable vehicle to tow my 19' Bayliner with a grand total weight of no more than 3k lbs.

I got talking to my dad about it earlier, and being that he was and always was a fan of Vista Cruisers, suggested I get something like from the '70s that can be found as a fixer upper pretty cheap (below $2k) and that would actually increase in value.

The classic picture of a Vista Cruiser or Electra Estate or full size Caddy towing a 30' Airstream Land Yacht in my head makes sense. A 445 or 500 CI would move things easily :D What do you guys think? As mentioned I had in mind a Vista or Custom Cruiser, Electra Estate, maybe a Ford Country Squire or whatever the Mercury version was.

I suppose an Electra 225, Fleetwood, Deville, etc would do fine too. Would a boattail Riviera or a flippin Eldorado convertible be okay? Or Mark IV? Toronado? I mean hell they've definitely got the engine and trans to do it. Wheelbase? Heck aren't they the same as modern 3/4 ton trucks these days? I don't know the factory towing capacities of these things but I figure as long as they have front discs they should be just fine, right?
 

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I would just be concerned about stopping ability. And rust. I wouldn't want to hook a trailer upto a hitch that's attached to a frame that's in a state of decay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Definitely true. I'd have to find something in my price range that isn't rusty which may be difficult, unless I can find one of those "Florida", "California", or "Arizona" cars
 

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Man, my Cadillac would be a decent tow vehicle! The power is there, but I'd be sure if you go that route, make sure the vehicle has posi......one-wheel-peel, lot's of torque, passenger car tread, a slippery sloped boat ramp, and ~4k lbs in the water will NOT be fun.

Agreed with Buick61....low rust old cars might be hard to find, and if you do find one, it might be worth too much. Good luck in your search.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Aren't you willing to part with that Duh-vee-uh? :cool: I can see how a limited-slip could come in handy.

At least in Michigan our boat ramps usually have a bunch of little holes with a piece of re-bar across them so one can connect a winch or come along (took me a long while to figure out what those were for) but I'm hoping I won't have to use them.

As in my other thread, a few good things are that it will probably be kept in the garage at our cottage most of the time so it won't be subject to the elements and it won't see many miles, so mileage won't be a factor.

I'm liking the idea of an Eldo convertible. I don't know what year it lost its power but I guess for '70 the 500 CI V8 was rated for 400 hp gross and 550 ft/lbs :eek:
 

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Nice, an Eldo might work well, because of the front wheel drive, and it's axles will never need to be at/in the water!

They seem to sag easily, but I would imagine it shouldn't be too difficult to up rig something to keep it more level with a tongue load.
 

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As in my other thread, a few good things are that it will probably be kept in the garage at our cottage most of the time so it won't be subject to the elements and it won't see many miles, so mileage won't be a factor.
Ohh la la....fancy boy here has a Cottage.
 

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Using a classic vehicle to tow a boat is one of those things that's fun to talk about but horrible to put into practice.
Why would it be horrible to put into practice? Most of the 70's wagons had disc brakes and came pretty loaded from the factory.

My family had a 1973 Chevy impala station wagon when I was a kid and they used it to pull a camper all the time. It had a 454 with a turbo 400 tranny. It had pwr windows, locks, seats, cruise, air, tilt. It got like 10 mpg but could pull anything a truck could. It weighed over 5,000 lbs too so it wasn't like the trailer was going to move it around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
yeah but I've already owned a 4.6L...my Mountaineer couldn't hold overdrive on level ground towing a 4'x4' trailer with a 300 lbs Jet Ski on it.

My Forester can hold overdrive towing a flippin 19' Bayliner :rolleyes: . Yea, no more Ford Modular V8s for me.

And technically those Vics are only rated for 1k lbs though in reality it would seem like it would be safe...BOF, RWD, heavy duty brakes, cooling system...

I know the '70s Eldorado's had 4 wheel discs standard

I've done some searching though and found that a Mark IV IMO looks a lot better than the Eldo
 

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Why would it be horrible to put into practice? Most of the 70's wagons had disc brakes and came pretty loaded from the factory.

My family had a 1973 Chevy impala station wagon when I was a kid and they used it to pull a camper all the time. It had a 454 with a turbo 400 tranny. It had pwr windows, locks, seats, cruise, air, tilt. It got like 10 mpg but could pull anything a truck could. It weighed over 5,000 lbs too so it wasn't like the trailer was going to move it around.
Mainly because it's a '70s wagon... I mean, seriously. A 30+ year old vehicle to tow a boat? I'll pass.
 

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I would think you'd be better off with something newer. Probably be cheaper, and you wouldn't have problems finding parts if something broke on vacation.

5.0 Crown Vic?



P.S.: You shouldn't tow in OD
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I have been thinking about a '90s B-body wagon, they can be found pretty cheap (definitely below $2k) and they're cool but not as old-school cool as I would prefer.

If I did get an older vehicle I wouldn't mind replacing brake lines, master cylinder, new pads/rotors/shoes/drums and that kind of thing to make it reliably safe. I figure with new fluids, a carb rebuild, ignition tune up, etc there isn't much to go wrong.
 

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Just get an older Astro/Safari. They're cheap, tow well, the V6 is torquey and reasonably economical, and they run forever even w/ substandard maintenance.
 

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Maybe 15 years ago, I had neighbors with a huge Airstream trailer that they hauled around with a ~1974ish Lincoln Continental/Town Car. But that was 15 years ago.
 
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