View Full Version : Inexpensive tow vehicle ie. mpg

10-23-2008, 08:45 PM
I just returned from a trip to pick up my new 1950 Champion in Colorado Springs. I decided I'd try out what everybody said was a bad idea. I had such good luck with my 2003 Ford Ranger 4 cyl 5 spd that I thought I'd buy a new one with the extended cab, 4 cyl, 5 spd and the 4.10 axle. I put a class 3 hitch on it along with a trailer brake setup, I hooked up my flatbed and headed to Colorado. Pulling the empty trailer to Colorado I averaged 23.1 mpg. I dropped the trailer off where I bought the Champion in Colorado Springs. I then spent a couple days running around Denver, visiting George Krem and Steve Doerschlag then I took off down to Durango and on down to Santa Fe then returned to Colorado Springs via I 25. This city highway yeilded 29.7 mpg. I picked up the Stude in Colorado Springs and started up I 25. The weather got cold fast and started to Snow. I stayed with my son Tues night and then left Denver around 11:30 est. I fought a severe head wind from Denver half way through Kansas which resulted in a mph average of about 55. When the wind died off I picked up the pace to 65 mph. The trip back to Cincinnati yielded an average of 16.9 mpg. I got in this afternoon aroung 2:30. The trip from Denver to Cinci took me 27 hrs total which included a five hr snooze just west of St Louis.
The ride really wasn't difficult. The Ranger is no F 150 or Super Duty but it managed the task in a satisfactory manner and was really easy on my wallet.

10-23-2008, 10:21 PM
Road trips are always an experience. One could start a thread on guys telling road trip horror stories. Glad to hear that ur trip was uneventful, but it's an experience in itself, none the less.

10-24-2008, 12:09 AM
How is Steve's collection doing. He has to have more "R" series cars than anyone. Plus he does an outstanding job restoring them.

10-24-2008, 06:54 AM
Mr. Bove, that is/was excellent MPG.

Be careful putting the trailer on the ball hitch. A gentleman related how he recently damaged the tailgate when bringing his R3 Lark up to the Dayton meet.

Did you figure out the noise at the rear of your block?

Best regards,
Geno Robino

1963 Studebaker Avanti: C4 Corvette narrowed front/rear suspension, C5 13" calipers/rotors adapted to C4, Viper differential with Intrax 3.54 ratio (the snake has been charmed!), coil overs, stainless tubular frame, stainless chambered side exhaust.
Here are two links for some pictures and information.
Slide Show (http://www.electro-dynamics.com/chassis/avantislide.html)
Magazine Article (http://www.electro-dynamics.com/magazine.html)

10-24-2008, 04:55 PM
Steve's collection is pretty darn nice. Yes, he has plenty of R series cars along with a nice variety of other Studes. He also has a very nice place to work on them, I envy that for sure.
Yeah Gene, I wonder who that guy was that damaged his tail gate??
I thought the mileage from the Ranger was pretty darn good also. It makes me less leary about buying a Stude on the other side of the country now that I realize I don't have to go get it in a 6 mpg Freightliner. Your comment a couple weeks ago about towing your stainless Avanti frame to SB behind a Chev S10 may have been the deciding factor in making this trip. I just want people to know that they can still afford to go get that dead Studebaker themselves if that is the only way they can afford it. I wouldn't advise doing this kind of hauling with a front wheel drive vehicle for instance.

10-24-2008, 06:44 PM
quote:Originally posted by nels

It makes me less leary about buying a Stude on the other side of the country now that I realize I don't have to go get it in a 6 mpg Freightliner. I just want people to know that they can still afford to go get that dead Studebaker themselves if that is the only way they can afford it.

Right on! I like my Conversion Van- extremely comfortable, plenty of power, and a decent bed and TV- saves on motel rooms, and I can sleep within earshot of my cargo! I don't do well sleeping in a car/truck seat, even a recliner. And, the extra weight is helpful with towing. Of course, I'm the tow dolly guy- safer, easier to handle, and much lighter- and therefore cheaper to tow.

Thanks for sharing your experience, Nels. Hopefully your experience will inspire others to go get 'em!![^]

Robert (Bob) Andrews Owner- Studebakeracres- on the IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys!)
Parish, central NY 13131

"Some people live for the rules, I live for exceptions"- 311

"Do they all not, by mere virtue of having survived as relics of a bygone era, amass a level of respect perhaps not accorded to them when they were new?"

10-24-2008, 07:17 PM
That sounds like an excellent tow vehicle for the terrain you are driving in. I need more power due to the 2 most common places I tow to and from. If I go east on I-80 toward Reno, I gain over 7000 feet of elevation in about 70 miles. If I go south to L.A. the "Grapevine Hill", ( made popular by Comander Cody in his Hot Rod Lincoln ), gains over 4000 feet in less than 50 miles. I don't think a 4 cylinder truck would do well when the temperatures hit over 110* in the summer. A couple of times in the heat of the summer, I had to run my heater while towing a load up the Grapevine, just to keep it in the safe zone on the temp gage.


Ernie Stoltzfus
10-25-2008, 07:51 AM
Hey Nelson,

Do you have pics of truck and trailer loaded?
How much does you trailer weigh?
Are you coming to Reedsville?


Ernie Stoltzfus

10-28-2008, 07:13 PM
Ernie, I haven't been able to figure out how to post a picture to this site.
I had my nephew over to try and help but he had no success also. The trailer weighs about 1000#'s I would guess, maybe more.
I doubt if I'm going to Reedsville but have not ruled it totally out.

quote:Originally posted by Ernie Stoltzfus

Hey Nelson,

Do you have pics of truck and trailer loaded?
How much does you trailer weigh?
Are you coming to Reedsville?


Ernie Stoltzfus

10-28-2008, 07:45 PM
Here is the pic

Dan Giblin
Cincinnati, OH

10-28-2008, 07:48 PM
Glad your home safe Nels. Your experience gives me pause on buying that Dodge 2500 diesel now. I've got to leave for Colo. Springs in a week or two to pick up my car and trailer. Haven't been able to get a cheap price on an '03 or '04 Dodge yet, but I'm still hunting. Still if I can pick one up for under 10k I'll probably use it to tow that car to the shows since it comes with that trailer. Titling a 40 yr old Race Car won't be easy here in the land of Prius' & CFL's.

Spoke with Steve B. and Louise Ann Noeth and got a lot of info on the car with more coming, also got copies of the two articles you mentioned. Didn't realize that that car held 21 different records, including two with the stude engine. Still struggling with which way to go.

10-28-2008, 08:08 PM
Thanks for getting the picture in Dan.

Chuck, I'd go with the Stude engine if that's your dilema. Of course that's what you expected me to say.
The Dodge is a good choice or a Ford or Chev would work.

10-29-2008, 11:56 AM
I towed many Studebakers for years with my 1993 Extended cab Ranger with 4.0 Liter 6-cyl 5-speed. It would do everything I asked of it. The 4.0 liter V6, coupled with the 5-speed is a hoss. I have a 4.0 Auto in our Explorer, that I also use to tow Studes- and it is adequate, but it just doesn't pull like the 5-speed.
I have to keep careful records of trips and mileage for my business.
Everyday driving- 24.7 mpg, Most Trips-29 mpg, Max MPG-31 mpg, Min MPG 14.7

In 1994 I trailered our '61 Hawk to Bloomington, Mn.
It easily negotiated the mountains of West Virginia on I77. I seldom needed to drop to 3rd gear to maintain 65mph (3700 rpm).. and it would climb most of them without "lugging". This section of the trip from NC to Cinncinatti averaged 14.7 mpg (lowest). We were stuck in traffic for an hour or so on the W-Va turnpike.. so that was a factor also. The leg from Cinci to northern Illinois was pretty flat, and we saw 21.6 mpg (highest). The entire trip (both ways)averaged 17.8 mpg.

IMO- towing has been easier with Manual transmissions, It is much easier to control RPMs and Torque ranges to maintain speed - especially in hilly or mountainous regions. Automatics have come a long way- but I've still had (and heard from others) more problems when they are used to tow.


Specializing in Studebaker Restoration