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Old Ironmaker

How did we tow our boats before 4X4's?

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My Uncle that still lives in North Tonawanda NY next to the Erie Barge Canal towed, launched and retrieved his big heavy 18' cedar strip with a huge 80HP Johnson strapped to it on The Niagara River, The Great Lakes and the canal in the 60's and early 70's with an AMC Rambler, rear wheel drive. If I can remember that long ago I think he had rear snow tires on all year. I remember those huge bolt on side view mirrors he put on every time he hit the water. Those cars and station wagons (anyone remember station wagons?) must have taken a beating though even with big V8's that did not have huge HP. That was before it was mandatory in North America to tow anything heavier than a Tinny with a full size 4X4 and I see 1/2 ton 4X4's towing them as well. Have ramps changed that much? I'm seriously asking how they did it then without 1/2 ton 4X4's?

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dad had a1953 Plymouth . slippery ramp. came back from getting bait. he was standing on the roof with an oar. was not happy. sold it after we dried it out lol.

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Growing up,pop always drove an econoline ford van. Pulled a large ceder built boat .

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I remember the oldman pulling the boat with a 76 Monte Carlo.

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I used to launch a 14 foot Lowe side console with 25 hp Johnson with a Toyota Celica...had to go with proper paved launches though

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1 hour ago, misfish said:

Growing up,pop always drove an econoline ford van. Pulled a large ceder built boat .

Brian, I also had that van, a late 60's painted orange. Made it to Florida and back in 76'. 4 of us left Hamilton and I came back solo. That story is in the screenplay. My girlfriends Father didn't like it much, or me. Never got cold as the engine was about 10" from your arse. Caught fire once waiting in line to cross the border to the US at the Queenston Lewiston bridge. The US Customs guy put it out with his fire extinguisher. I could have taken anything across the border that day. Brushed the girlfriends seat off and away we went to the Family Reunion. Stopping at K Mart and buying a fire extinguisher might have been an idea, or checking why it started fire in the 1st place, ya think? No way. The thing was unbreakable. 

There must have been a few ramp follies with folks launching and retrieving boats with family cars. Sounds like a few here have experience doing it. 

1 hour ago, outllaw said:

dad had a1953 Plymouth . slippery ramp. came back from getting bait. he was standing on the roof with an oar. was not happy. sold it after we dried it out lol.

Man that must have been a fun day besides killing the car the bait was wasted. 

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Dad had a 53 pontiac wagon, a 60 chevy wagon, a 65 pontiac wagon, a 68 chevy wagon, a 71 pontiac wagon, a 86 chevy wagon, all pulled boats,  aluminum, wood, and fiberglass.

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We'd go camping as a kid with a '64 Pontiac Wagon , loaded with gear, 14' Fibreglass with a 28hp out behind and a 16' canoe on top, 283 cu.in 8 cyl. with one of those 2 speed powerglide auto transmissions.

 

My personal tow vehicles were a 79 GMC Van with a 350 cu in. , a 88 Chevy pickup with a 4.3 V6 and a 97 Astro Van with the same 4.3 V6, boat was a little over a ton with gear, 18 1/2 foot tinner with a 90 v4., never felt the need for a 4x4 .

Edited by dave524

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had a few beast cars...71 pontiac pariseiane  as well as an 1988 oldsmobile broghm delta 88 big cars and they would pull just about anything also pulled a 16ft lund with a 1998 grand am...... lots of fun and got stuck at many boat ramps back in the day 

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Hard to see the station wagon on the edge of the picture but this is my Dad hooking up his 15' cedarstrip to his '53 Ford.

Don't know if you can make it out or not but the boat didn't sit ON the trailer, it hung UNDER it.

Cnv1691.jpg

Edited by lew
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1 hour ago, dave524 said:

We'd go camping as a kid with a '64 Pontiac Wagon , loaded with gear, 14' Fibreglass with a 28hp out behind and a 16' canoe on top, 283 cu.in 8 cyl. with one of those 2 speed powerglide auto transmissions.

 

My personal tow vehicles were a 79 GMC Van with a 350 cu in. , a 88 Chevy pickup with a 4.3 V6 and a 97 Astro Van with the same 4.3 V6, boat was a little over a ton with gear, 18 1/2 foot tinner with a 90 v4., never felt the need for a 4x4 .

Dave, unless Canada did their engine selection differently? As I recall the only engines offered in the full size Pontiac was a 389 or 421, the Tempest and Lemans had some smaller available engines.

64 GTO 389, single quad, 4 speed, I had one.

 

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4 hours ago, OhioFisherman said:

Dave, unless Canada did their engine selection differently? As I recall the only engines offered in the full size Pontiac was a 389 or 421, the Tempest and Lemans had some smaller available engines.

64 GTO 389, single quad, 4 speed, I had one.

 

Pontiac's definitely had 350's in the 80's at least here they did. Mom and Dad had a 80's era Parisienne, complete with massive velour Barker loungers and Chesterfields doubling as interior seats. I think it  was a Bonneville in the States. The Lawrencian was called something else down your way Paul. 

Barker loungers and Chesterfields, can you tell I have dual citizenship? 

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Most of the older vehicles were much heavier than the identical models offered today. Since towing is about the torque required to move the boat and the weight required to control the boat, it makes sense. I sure wouldn’t consider towing a big ‘ol 1974 glass boat with a 2020 Chevy Malibu at 25% lighter than the same car from that period and its 1.5L standard engine. It’s apples to oranges. 

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7 hours ago, OhioFisherman said:

Dave, unless Canada did their engine selection differently? As I recall the only engines offered in the full size Pontiac was a 389 or 421, the Tempest and Lemans had some smaller available engines.

64 GTO 389, single quad, 4 speed, I had one.

 

Must have been different in Canada. we had both large and small block V-8's. In 64, there were 283 and 327's in small blocks, they increased them shortly after '64 to 305' and 350's.  My 79 GMC van had the 350 small block with the 4 barrel Quadrajet and 4 bolt mains, dad has a '79 pickup with the 305. In '64 full size Pontiacs had 3 trim levels, base was the Strato Chief, mid trim was the Laurentian and top was the Parisienne. Full size Chevs were Belair, Biscayne and Impala in that era. Big blocks I seem to recall 454's and 427's, maybe a 396 too. GM in St. Catharines made most of the engines for the Canadian market back then. Before the '64 wagon dad had a 61 Pontiac 4 door , think it had a 232 six.

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8 hours ago, OhioFisherman said:

64 GTO 389, single quad, 4 speed, I had one.

Sweet ride Paul

 

Got a pic ?

4 hours ago, DRIFTER_016 said:

My first boat was a little tinny and I pulled it with a Camaro.

Got there quick I bet Dave :w00t:

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1 hour ago, misfish said:

Got there quick I bet Dave :w00t:

NAH it was a late 90's 2.8 V6 4spd.

It was the first and last Chevy I will ever own.

Absolute junk it was.

Engineered by retarded monkey's on crack!!!! 

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When I was young, my Dad bought an older, full size Pontiac station wagon to use for banging our way into back lakes, lol. 

It had a 350, four barrel. I remember he liked getting his foot into it on the road and hearing the roar. The floor was rusted with holes, so we had to keep the windows cracked for the fumes from the beat up, loud exhaust hanging from coat hangers. There was 2x4s on the roof to carry the boat.

It became "the bass buggy". It had a gold bass hood ornament, stickers on the doors and "kiss my bass" on the lift gate. 

I wish I had pictures, good times.

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1 hour ago, DRIFTER_016 said:

NAH it was a late 90's 2.8 V6 4spd.

It was the first and last Chevy I will ever own.

Absolute junk it was.

Engineered by retarded monkey's on crack!!!! 

Had it's cousin, an '88 with the same 2.8 V6, wasn't quick but looked cool with the T Top. Bought it for $3500 in '99 from the old gent neighbour behind me, sold it in 2007 to a friend of my stepdaughters, I must of got a good one, no complaints here.

firebird1.jpeg

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What fond memories I have of the 3rd generation Camaro. LOL They were a great vehicle; on the standpoint of a mechanic/garage owner; always something going wrong with them. There is one that stands out in my mind. It came in with a brake issue; set it up on the hoist and started lifting it. It was about a foot off the ground and all I heard was a very loud pop and glass flying everywhere. The thing flexed so bad that it blew the rear hatch glass out of it. I was not a happy camper; a hundred dollar repair job; cost me about 8 hundred for a new rear window.

Dan. 

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9 minutes ago, Garnet said:

I would trade my truck for new GMC Safari in a minute.

I bought a new one in '96 and drove it for 4 years, then went over to the dark side for a few years and in 2005 I bought another new Safari. Both were great vehicles, both for comfort and reliability and neither ever needed more than basic maintenance.

Really happy with them.

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12 minutes ago, Garnet said:

I would trade my truck for new GMC Safari in a minute.

Had a '97 , the only mini van that was actually a truck. That 4.3 pulled like a small V8, I really don't see why they discontinued them , make more sense than these $50,000 plus Yuppie pickups that are all cabin space and no box.

 

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35 minutes ago, dave524 said:

Had a '97 , the only mini van that was actually a truck. That 4.3 pulled like a small V8, I really don't see why they discontinued them , make more sense than these $50,000 plus Yuppie pickups that are all cabin space and no box.

 

I bought a new boat in '09 and the tongue weight was just a bit too much and the engine didn't really have the power to pull that heavy boat for long distances so I decided to get rid of it.

Cnv0327.jpg

I've been driving those yuppie trucks ever since  LOL

003_12.jpg

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My dad used his 72 Grand Marquis to pull our 14 ft fiberglass runabout. Darn thing was so big as kids, we weren't sure which was the boat!

HH

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