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So, I have this crazy pipe dream

Discussion in 'The Antiquated' started by Roothawg, Oct 15, 2021.

  1. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 22,070


    I am about 5 years out from retirement and I am going as soon as I am eligible as some of you know from a previous thread.

    My goal is to buy a small Class C motor home and travel. We have had several different motor homes over the years and the problem is always that you need a car to tow behind.

    Here’s my idea. I always wish I had a hot rod when I reach my destination, so what about building a towable roadster?

    I won’t get hung up on original Henry steel, since this is more of a utilitarian vehicle and it may end up getting a lot of road rash.

    The plan was to use a Brookville roadster body and aftermarket chassis. Build a reliable power plant (sbc with roller cam) with a 6 speed tranny, so I can flat tow it by just putting it in neutral.

    It needs a top and some sort of side curtains in case of crappy weather. I’ll probably plumb a heater but no sort of AC. (It’s a roadster, it has built in AC).

    I am not sure about fenders, since the laws are different in every state. My personal preference is no fenders, but that’s not set in stone. It will at least have a hood top and full exhaust.

    I think it would be doable, I will just have to put some thought into a easy way to attach a tow bar. A dolly is not out of the question, but they are always in the way at the camp site, plus you have to worry about people latching on to them and driving off.

    I mean it has to be better than towing a smart car…..

  2. oldiron 440
    Joined: Dec 12, 2018
    Posts: 2,558

    oldiron 440

    Put it on a trailer...
    CycleTech, alanp561 and A Boner like this.
  3. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 22,070


    No room in the campgrounds. It’s hard enough to find somewhere to store a 2 wheel dolly. This is from previous experience.
    VANDENPLAS and dana barlow like this.
  4. wheeldog57
    Joined: Dec 6, 2013
    Posts: 2,204


    I've seen early tow bars that clamp to a beam axle, simple and small size. I have one in my shed if you want some pictures when I get home
    Roothawg likes this.

  5. HotRod33
    Joined: Oct 5, 2008
    Posts: 2,516


    Have a tow bar that bolts on where the spreader bar attaches .... As far as fenders as long as your state doesn't require them and it's plated their it should be legal to drive anywhere in the US...
    elgringo71, Tim, VANDENPLAS and 2 others like this.
  6. -Brent-
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 6,503


    Sounds fun!
    Joe Blow and Roothawg like this.
  7. Joe Blow
    Joined: Oct 29, 2016
    Posts: 872

    Joe Blow

  8. Rynothealbino
    Joined: Mar 23, 2009
    Posts: 249


    Sounds like a fun plan. I think I would personally make a tow bar that goes to the front axle directly. Then you are not putting all that strain on the front of the rails / spreader bar. Make sure you have one of those big street sweeper road debris flaps behind the tow vehicle. If you go fenderless on the roadster you could have detachable mud flaps on it to keep everyone happy while is is being towed.
    tractorguy likes this.
  9. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,293


    We ended up with a relatively small Airstream and a Tahoe. It's a pretty good combination.

    But there are a lot of pros and cons for the many different RV arrangements you can buy/build
  10. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 22,070


  11. I know this is not the direction you want to take this thread, but what about a Toter-home? Part living quarters, part enclosed trailer, using a semi-tractor as a base.
    Joined: May 5, 2015
    Posts: 1,058


    Well it might come down to this after a few months: Hook the hot rod (fenders or no fenders) with a piece of 20 foot rope, have your wife or G/F, sit in the hot rod (fenders or no fenders) and just steer and brake behind the RV, as you go along. Now if you find that this is working out for you, you can always pick up another G/F along the way to ride up front with you. I have to warn you that by following my advice, you will be in divorce court and attending AA meetings within three to four months, let me know and I will save you a seat at the AA meeting.
  13. dana barlow
    Joined: May 30, 2006
    Posts: 4,560

    dana barlow
    from Miami Fla.
    1. Y-blocks

    Sound like good ideas to me,did a bit of that,kind of! Back in the 1970s.
    " Wayback story time"
    Motorhome wroth living in for short times will take up most of a standerd size camp site,so yup/towbar is good ;( KOA type campgrounds),vs towing a treardrop behind a hotrod, I did a few times around the state of Florida,with homemade teardrop,but later with my wagon set up.
    On to story;
    I did do a lot of two n 3 day weekends, stay at campgrounds,going to out of townraces,towing racecar on trailer with my station wagon.> Wagon set up to sleep in/kind of like teardrop trailer set ups,but inside back of wagon. Rig good too at; At times were I was let stay at the grounds of race track{ now days,most race track fig-out they can make $ off renting spot/that were free back then;only side is now a reated spot may have 110 volt outlet hook-up.
    With my stationwagon,some times wife n I on vacastion would take a tent,but if weather sucked for tenting,sleep in wagon.
    I'm on my 18th wagon now,started wagons with used 1957 2d Ford as #1 in 1964,an 18 wagons later,now 2005 Dodge Magunm. OK,I like wagons + anything fast.
    The Story;;
    The other ways was; My buddy Harold {RIP} ( who I drove his racer for}got a used old Winnebago from his stepdad for $ 200,and we fix it up some,just enough too tow his racer an 2 too 4 of us,to stay in at speedweeks/Daytona.< full week of racing every year.
    It was cheep,as his step dad liked hunting with his buddy <and they were trying to lite the gas stove;;;;Kaaa-Boom an it blow nearly all the windows out,plus made the normely flat walls a bit round. Some how it did not burn an no one was killed,just bruised up,they picked up all the windows,chucked them back inside an drove the wreck back home,were we got it from.
    We put come-a-long through the window holes,plus two extra holes we made/an patched later, and hooked to trailer ramps on the sides,an pulled the walls almost back too straight,almost,, LOL, rerain proofed with lot of tube sealer! Not pretty,but dry.
    I painted "Hindenburg Racing" on the side. Sorry,got no pics of that thing,but when it was kind new,looked like this one,before the new little more aero shape ! LOL
    Not a bad tow camper,but MPG really sucked< with racecar on trailer behind,6 MPG,if running over 60mph 4 mpg.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2021
  14. jaracer
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,316


    Can you flat tow a 6 speed manual in neutral without damage? Most manual transmissions use the cluster gear as an "oil pump" to splash lubrication to the bushings and synchronizers on the main shaft. The cluster gear only turns when the engine is running. I'm not all that familiar with a 6 speed, but I'm thinking it works the same.
  15. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 15,486


    Saw a racecar guy once rebuilt a school bus into a camper but made the last 15 feet of the bus into an open rampback hauler for the racecar. Not sure if you're up for building a project like that but it was really slick, no towing required.
  16. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 22,070


    I really don’t know. Most standards are towable In neutral though. Good point. Guess I should reach out to TREMEC and ask.
    dana barlow likes this.
  17. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 35,178


    Flat towing beats the shit outta things. Might as well buy a Kia ya loser.
    Dan Hay likes this.
  18. No fenders on a rod can be easily overlooked by police if the weather is nice and you aren't driving stupid (if they are technically illegal in that State).

    Hit the interstate while flat towing a fenderless roadster in a rain storm and the police may not be so inclined to ignore the massive spray you would most likely be creating. Pretty sure most places require fenders on a trailer so ...
    Roothawg likes this.
  19. nobrakesneeded
    Joined: Mar 28, 2006
    Posts: 130

    from Hempstead

    Several years back I saw a guy at the local campground with his RV, he used it to pull his VW dune buggy. Looked good, seemed useful.
    Passed him about 100 miles out. The buggy had a blowout on the rear and shredded the fiberglass body.
  20. RJP
    Joined: Oct 5, 2005
    Posts: 2,048

    from PNW

    Here ya go. This would be my choice... volkner-performance-ii.jpg
  21. wvenfield
    Joined: Nov 23, 2006
    Posts: 5,408


    I retired in 2020 and early this year I found a 1987 Nissan Odyssey. It's not going to tow a car but my retirement dreams are different I guess. There isn't much anywhere to drive a roadster along the river bank. (the small one LOL)

    Roothawg likes this.
  22. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 13,150

    from KCMO

    I’d be looking at a mega light weight round tube trailer like this. A strategic pin here or there and the ass end folds up and you can stand it up against a tree.

    light weight enough to pull it off, back the rv into place and walk the trailer into a spot and lean it against a tree.

    By the time you factor in modern highway speeds and trying to stop the parade going down a steep grade with a flat towed car behind you with no active brakes I think that’s the move.

    More work than flat towing? Maybe. But you’re not ripping frame horns off the car or worrying about messing something up just from dragging it across the country
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2021
  23. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 13,150

    from KCMO

    I’m picking it with out the wood sides that one had. I think @cactus1 has a single axle tube trailer?
  24. I remember reading somewhere (I know, that doesn't mean it's true) that there are actually very few vehicles (with standard trans) that can be flat towed without removing the driveshaft.
    Roothawg likes this.
  25. bchctybob
    Joined: Sep 18, 2011
    Posts: 3,347


    Buy a HAMB friendly 3/4 ton pickup (a ‘62-‘65 Chevy comes to mind) update it to your taste and add a nice big vintage cabover camper. Make it easy to remove so you can drive the truck at your destination and leave the camper in the campsite. You may not have as much room or luxury but you don’t have the headaches or speed restrictions that you have towing something. Also only one vehicle to register, insure and store.
    tractorguy likes this.
  26. pwschuh
    Joined: Oct 27, 2008
    Posts: 2,501


    I would be more worried about owning an RV. All I hear are horror stories about new ones being poorly constructed and always needing repairs that the dealer and the manufacturer fight over. I would get an older, well-built and well maintained model, with all of the bugs worked out, from a private owner. The used RV market has got to be huge.
  27. carcruse
    Joined: Aug 20, 2007
    Posts: 894


    I've thought about it also. With an auto trans, I thought about an access panel in the floor to disconnect driveshaft from inside car with a bracket to hook end of disconnected driveshaft on. Should only take 5 min to hook or unhook with no need to crawl under car. Also, I have a 26' 75 GMC Motorhome to tow with. I think a 23' one might be better though. Motorhome and car could get into most car shows.
    Joined: Sep 11, 2007
    Posts: 997


    I like your crazy dream. I'm building a Model A speedster that might get used for the same thing when I retire. Gary
  29. A local drag racer here cut the back out of the school bus and installed a garage door. Living quarters in the front with couch, chairs, table, full size fridge, sink, and stove with 2 sets of bunk beds.

    At over a $150,000.00 it will only get 6 MPG at $3.79 a gallon diesel fuel. By far not the cheapest route.

    I drive my stuff local or within a days drive and me and the wife and Golden Retriever stay in this.


    33' Couples coach pulled by a 2017 F250 SD 8' bed Super Cab 6.2L gas. 8 MPG towing, no diesel maintenance, only regular factory scheduled maintenance. Checking diesel VS gas engine maintenance cheaper even though it gets not as good mileage. 8 MPG Gas @$2.97 VS 11 MPG Diesel @$3.49, + extra maintenance costs + DEF. No brainer, gas. Many vehicles can be flat towed behind a MH just need to research them.
    tractorguy, williebill and Tman like this.
  30. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 27,740

    Jalopy Joker

    yes to fenders, rear mounted camera a must - might even mount one in car too, super delux hitch with locking system, locking gas cap, drive shaft disconnect 20211015_100429.jpg
    rod1 and Roothawg like this.

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