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History Story of flat towing

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Chevy Gasser, Apr 27, 2013.

  1. Chevy Gasser
    Joined: Jan 23, 2007
    Posts: 693

    Chevy Gasser

    I went to my buddy Roys today to get a wolf whistle, some custom dash knobs and a few chrome accessories. Roy was telling me a story I have to share of his days as a race reporter and such back in the fifties at the stock car track at Evansville, Ill. There were a couple brothers from Belleville, about 30 miles away, that used to flat tow their car to the races. One night they were about ten miles from the track when their tow vehicle, a 4 cyl. Henry J threw a rod. They would have been towing something like a flathead powered Ford coupe. After they realized the Henry J was toast, one of the brothers jumped in the stock car, started it up,and pushed the Henry J the rest of the way to the track! A blown engine in the tow car wasn't going to stop them from racing that night! That's almost as funny as the story about flat towing told by Don Garlits, if fact another....I need to write another article for my website...
  2. Model A John
    Joined: Apr 24, 2008
    Posts: 1,764

    Model A John
    from wichita ks

    Determined racers, huh?
  3. 57Custom300
    Joined: Aug 21, 2009
    Posts: 1,271

    from Arizona

    Used to flat tow my 63 Ford 427 to Detroit Dragway with my homemade tow bar every weekend I could afford it. One time coming back I was a block from home & the tow bar decided to break. I just unhooked it & pulled a huge uncapped holeshot the last block. I get to my house & there's my dad standing in the front yard. He's been gone for 15yrs. but I think he's still pissed at me.
  4. manyolcars
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 8,208


    In 1971 I was flat towing my 1947 Mercury across Texas one nite with a tow bar that was too wide to match my frame and had used long bolts and lots of washers when the whole mess broke about 2 in the morning. I wrapped the tow bar with lots of chain and pulled it another 6 hours. Got home ok but it was scary when the towed car got loose. It broke a chunk out of the Mercurys frame. I still need to fix that some day
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  5. plymouth52
    Joined: Sep 16, 2006
    Posts: 53


  6. Unibodyguy
    Joined: Dec 23, 2007
    Posts: 405


    In 2002 I flat towed my 89 F150 with my 61 F250 Unibody from Boulder City (Las Vegas) to Raliegh NC in 3 days. Never had any problems along the way and I also had both trucks loaded with all of my stuff. I've flat towed a lot and still do.
  7. tommyd
    Joined: Dec 10, 2010
    Posts: 11,351

    from South Indy

    I have tow brackets on my 64 just for "the look". A guy at the race track one day asked me what they were. "You got some kind of snow plow that hooks on there or something?":p Cracked me up. I'm working on a 67 390 4 spd Mustang for a guy right now and it has them too. Real ones!
  8. Back in about 68 or 69, a buddy of mine had taken his 50 Buick fordor to Kansas city to have headers fabricated for it. They were supposed to have a trailer that we could borrow to bring the car home on. When we got there to pick up the car, there was no trailer. Next best thing was to use a 30 foot length of chain. We hooked on to the Buick behind Fetcher's Caprice and down the road we went.
    Fetcher was behind the wheel of the Buick and Wally and I were in the Caprice. I drove about half way home. We were headed to Sedalia. Wally decided he would drive the rest of the way. He likes to drive fast. We were running about 90 when we met a state trooper. I looked back and Fetcher had ducked down low in the seat so the trooper could not see him. Why the trooper did not turn around and run us down is still beyond me, but he didn't. We made it home safely. Just another one of my adventures with Wally and Fetcher that we had without getting killed.
  9. Lytles Garage
    Joined: May 6, 2011
    Posts: 617

    Lytles Garage

    Hi; Around here in the 60s , we didn't even know how to spell TRAILER, everybody flat towed to Ellensburg, a little track in the middle of sagebrush and THIN Jack Rabbits !! Chris
  10. Hdonlybob
    Joined: Feb 1, 2005
    Posts: 3,857


    Thanks for that story..
    Those were the good ol' days...before all the $$$ took over..
  11. bangngears
    Joined: Aug 30, 2007
    Posts: 874

    from ofallon mo

    I got out of the service in 1966 and flat towed a 56 Chevy from California to Missouri with a 283 powerglide 60 Chevy.I thought nothing of it because that is what we did back then.I wouldnt think of trying that now.Several months after getting home we buildt a stock car and flat towed it to and from the races.One night the tow car jumped time and we pushed the tow car home with the stock car.The tow car was the 60 Chevy i used from California to Missouri.It was one of the few times the stock car didnt get tore up at the track.That poor old 60 Chevy had a rough life,finally wrecked it and had to send it to junkyard heaven.
  12. Nitrobaron
    Joined: Feb 3, 2007
    Posts: 65


    Flat towed my 65 Mustang drag car all over the place. Even wired in a long lead to plug into the trailer light plug so my tailights worked. It towed so well I would often times forget it was behind the trucK.
    Get to the track, switch to slicks, throw the driveshaft back in and run her.
    Tow bar mounts are still on it and the tow bar is stored in the attic or the shop.
    One of the last times I remrmber towing we were in group, all the other guys had open trailers, and we were running in a group at abuot 80 mph plus and that car tracked right behind me no problem. I remember acouple of trailers doing a sway job at speed. Just had to remember to leave more room to stop when flat towing.
    A soon to be started project is a 1960 F100 and I might set it up to tow bar the mustang to the local strips just for fun.
  13. need louvers ?
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 12,911

    need louvers ?

    Ever flat tow an engineless Falcon Ranchero on a strap behind someone who has never flat towed before? Ever done it for about 30 miles through some crazy traffic laden city streets? Don't....
  14. 63comet
    Joined: Jan 31, 2006
    Posts: 508


    When I was a kid we had a '70 Maverick for years. My father driving the '5? Chevy truck was pulling the Maverick somewhere with a strap around the bumper. Whole OK, when you see my taillights you gently brake thing. At some point my mother panic braked and the maverick lost its front bumper, left the bumper brackets sticking straight out. Car really looked like it had steer horns after that!
  15. back in the mid fifties my father raced stock-cars 34 ford with a flathead tow car broke down on the way to the races in Riguad he drove the car to the track then after the races the prize monies and trophies were given out at the local bar at 3am when it closed my father jumped into the stock-car, the 201 was gravel back then, an old guy was on his way home hear a roar behind him and would see flames every once and a while he had his car to the floor fastest he ever went, just turned into his driveway as a ball of dust went flying by. the next day the old guy gave my father shit and they had a good laugh.
  16. Olderchild
    Joined: Nov 21, 2012
    Posts: 476

    from Ohio

    Back when i raced my 57 chev sedan delivery many moons ago:rolleyes: if you had a trailer you were the rich guy never had a problem other than a skunk:mad:.When my brother passed in Oregon, me and the wife drove from Ohio to get his last toy from his wife (mid engine 396 65 Corvair) flat towed it back no problems and still have the car and the tow bar, used it last year to tow my old 93 blazer to it's new home/bone yard
  17. my nephew had a 53 chev sedan delivery with a 427 BB chev. moving from Idaho to Calif. he was towing his wifes VW bug. ran out of gas and pushed the delivery 20 miles to the next gas station. he said it was scary not seeing what was ahead or communicating with the novice driver wife.
    I've flat towed 1000's of miles and still feel better flat towing over a heavy trailer pushing me down a mountain
  18. Veach
    Joined: Jun 1, 2012
    Posts: 1,081


    Ever used a piece of pipe and a chain ? Or a spare tire and chain it bumper to bumper now your talking flat towing
  19. dan griffin
    Joined: Dec 25, 2009
    Posts: 433

    dan griffin

    In 1959 I was stationed at Williams air force base in AZ, and received orders to Okinawa. I had a 40 coupe and a 40 convertible that I needed to store in Michigan while I hackingmy tour on the rock. The coupe was Olds powered and built for street racing. No interior no running boards no nothing just a bucket seat. The cops where not impressed. I hooked the convertible to the coupe and away way I went. At the time they had just started building I-10 in sections. You might drive 10 miles on the new road and the next 40 on the old road. I am in new Mexico and the new road ends no big deal. Now bear in mind here I am a Rat-GI from out of state driving a real hoodlum iron with open pipes towing anther hoodlum car. Any way I am coming into this little jerkwater town pulling up a slight grade and making what might be considered excessive noise,I look up ahead and there is aCop standing on the sidewalk talking to some one. I am thinking O shit giving tickets to guys like me is how they pay the rent around here. I kept backing offthe gas to cut down the noise as I went by the cop. He never looked up. Even hoodlums luck out some times.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2013
  20. Sting Ray
    Joined: Mar 24, 2012
    Posts: 917

    Sting Ray

    I had a jacked up four-wheeler with 44" tires and a dropped trailer hitch. It lined up perfectly to the front bumper of my '55 Chevy. Took an old truck tire and two motorcycle tie downs between the bumper and hitch, worked great.
  21. fab32
    Joined: May 14, 2002
    Posts: 13,988

    Member Emeritus

    Your either a racer or your in between.:D

  22. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,036


    I STILL have two tow bars and two sets of towing hubs! Butch/56sedandelivery.
  23. Hdonlybob
    Joined: Feb 1, 2005
    Posts: 3,857


    Yep fershure..
    Towed a lot of old Willys Station wagons bumper to bumper (tight) with a large rope wrapped around the two bumpers..worked great, just didn't turn real sharp..:eek:
    Damn we were good back then weren't we :D
  24. I was with my Dad many a time when he was flat towing his jalopy race car back in the late forty's and early fifty's so I new the program. When I got out of the Army in 1967 I towed from New Hampshire to California with my 1957 Pontiac ambulance. My new wife had a 67 Pontiac Lemans and we didn't want to drive both cars so I Painted the ambulance to match the Lemans and built a tow bar and pulled the Lemans across the country. While driving in the Ozarks going up and down the hills the clutch started to slip on the ambulance so I had my wife get in and push me up the hills. We made it to the West coast and anytime along the way when we had a mountian to climb I has her push from behind. We lived on the beach above Santa Cruz for a few weeks having a great time. We went on down to the La area and like all bitches she started complaining every time I went into one of the speed shops or a Hot Rod shop. By that time the ambulance clutch had seen better days so I left it in the Long Beach parking lot and drove the bitch back to Massachusetts in the Lemans and dropped her off. I always bragged that my first marriage lasted only twenty nine days the length of the honeymoon and never regretted it. She went through a few husbands along the way destroying much better men than I. That Pontiac ambulance pulled that Lemans all the way across the country with that tow bar like it was made for it. In the end the tow bar was the best thing about that whole deal.


  25. teejay99
    Joined: Sep 26, 2009
    Posts: 356


    I love the stories , but none surprise me . Nobody I knew had a trailer , so you suffered the perils of flat towing . My buddy Chris was flat towing my '58 Chevy with his Volvo wagon back in the early '70's . I had chrome reversed rims on my Chevy and , unbeknownst to me , somebody had tried to steal the rims , got part way through and got scared off . I didn't know one wheel was loose on the Chevy and it came off at about 40 mph . How we didn't end up in the ditch was due to Chris' expert driving . We had a good laugh , rebolted the wheel ( after we found it ) and carried on .

    Last edited: Apr 28, 2013
  26. I flat towed my brother's hotrod Morris Minor from Omaha to Desmoines Goodguys show and back behind my 79 ford chortbox with a VW towbar.....a few months later [after having towed it to the drags a few times 50 miles each way] we noticed a leak under the front of the Morris...looked under to find I'd only tac'ed the tow bar mounts to the frame whan we built it with two teeny little tac welds apiece!!!!! I welded 'em up right then and said a little "Thanks" prayer.

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  27. bustingear
    Joined: Oct 29, 2002
    Posts: 1,682


    Around 88 I flat towed my street stock car to the roundy round track in concord, nc. Guess I was pretty confident that I would not wreck!
  28. Pops1532
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 544

    from Illinois

    You can't stop a determined racer from getting to the track. In the 70's a local racer's truck broke down on the way to a track in Indiana. Not having time to find a pay phone and try to find someone to bring another truck, he backed the stock car off the trailer, changed one of the rear tires to take the stagger out, drove the the car on the trailer so just the front tires were on the trailer. Chained the front end of the stock car to the trailer and pushed the truck and trailer about 30 miles with the stock car.
    Same guy but a few years prior had a ramp truck and blew the engine on the way to the track. He hoofed it to a nearby service station owned by his arch rival racer and talked the station owner's son into letting him use the wrecker. The station owner/racer's eyes were the size of hubcaps when he saw his rival pull in with his wrecker.
  29. manyolcars
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 8,208


    1969, I needed to move my 1937 Ford pickup 50 miles and used chain wrapped around the front bumper of the 37 and rear bumper of the 47 Mercury. Worked good, no problem,
  30. This was in 1983. I was driving to work in my '65 Belair and it craps out on the Wantagh Parkway. I hoofed it to a phone, call my wife and she drives me to work and was picking me up later to fetch the car.

    All I had was a 50' length of 1/2" nylon rope. We go back to the car, I tie it up and off we went. My wife is saavy at towing cars so it should have been a breeze. We had to go north up to Old Country Road exit so we could head back south on the back streets.

    Well, on the exit ramp, some asshole tries to get between us, and there wasn't that much slack in the rope. Between honking my horn and finally getting out of my car and beating on his window, I got his attention.

    We get back home and my wife was a basket case... told me never to ask her to do that again. And I never did. She had a nice Olds Cutlass otherwise I'd put a tire on the front of it and have her push me home.


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