View Full Version : Flat-Towing Fun DRT-SAT (long)

12-19-2008, 12:48 PM
[b]Some of you may remember the '57 Classic I bought last July at the suggestion of many posters on here.


After some gentle prodding by one of the NICEST PO's in the Universe, (after all, it HAD been 6 months!) I finally decided to get it to San Antonio. I checked several transporters and got prices from $300 to $750. I checked truck rental places and found U-Haul to be the cheapest--$175 for a 10' truck. I figured $100 for gas to drive the 150 miles to Del Rio in my van, rent the truck and drive it home towing the car. So I'd save a few bux AND have the thrill of DOING IT MYSELF!

I loaded up my trusty tow bar, 4 Lincoln wheels and tires I'd bought at my local Pick 'n Pull a few months back plus the spare from my green LC, just in case. It seemed all the tires held air well so my ever-patient ("You bought a WHAT?") and understanding ("You paid HOW much?") wife and I left about 9 Thursday morning.

Arrived at the U-Haul in Del Rio about 12:30, picked up the truck and headed to the PO. The car was in his back yard but there was a sort of alley behind the house, so no problem—or so I thot. Problem was there were trees hanging over into the alley at each end that would not allow the truck down the alley. So I backed in the lower end and left the truck about half a block away. Drove the van down the other end and began checking to be sure the Lincoln tires were up. Problem was, they weren't. Only 2 of the Lincoln tires held anywhere near the required 30 lbs. Oh well, I had an air compressor and 2 BIIIG cans of Fix-a-Flat, so on with the show.

I have to say the PO, Manny, was a BIG help. He had the old wheels off and the new ones mounted in a flash. My job was to figure a way to mount the tow bar on the front bumper. Could not reach the bumper nuts from below the car without removing the valance panels on either side and of course, the parking lights are mounted in those panels so even after I got the panels off (MAN!! They were REALLY dented!) I had to disconnect the wires from the panel on top of the radiator shroud. But we finally got the tow bar mounted.

Forgot to mention, Manny had 2 BIIIG dogs that he had to keep locked in cages while we worked AND they barked INCESSANTLY! And his sister's kids (Christmas arrivees) YELLED, SCREAMED and otherwise sounded like WILD INDIANS the entire time. Between the dogs and the kids it was almost IMPOSSIBLE to hear anything we tried to say to each other. But that was part of the adventure, right? Avanti!!

A new problem arose when we tried to push it out of the yard into the alley. Not only were there tight quarters, but the Lincoln tires rubbed the frame if you turned the wheel too far either way. Manny's sister from Laredo spoke little English, so it was fun trying to explain to turn the steering wheel but not too far. And of course it was slightly up hill out of the yard into the alley. Manny finally called some of his friends who arrived to help us jockey the car around and FINALLY get it headed down the alley toward the truck.

“Remember, no brakes”, said Manny. “Maybe you better stand in front and stop it before it hits the truck.” Oh sure--I'll be doing THAT!, I thot. But the grass in the alley plus the fact that the front tires were not exactly full of air allowed a gentle glide down the alley to the truck and after a couple of “back and forth”s, the tow bar was on the ball. I attempted to pay the “friends” who had helped but none would take any money. We shook hands all around and I got into the truck and headed down the alley to the street.

Anyone who has attempted to flat-tow a Studebaker knows that once the wheels turn in either direction, they don't straighten out without Divine intervention. There was none yesterday so once I made the sharp turn from the alley into the street, the wheels remained turned left and because the front tires were low, the left tire just gently p

12-19-2008, 01:38 PM
Thrilling story sounds like some of my adventures. One of mine was loading a 56 Commander on a trailer in the mud with 3 flat tires. It wanted to go the opposite direction that I wanted to go.

7G-Q1 49 2R12 10G-F5 56B-D4 56B-F2
As soon as you find a product you like they will stop making it.

12-19-2008, 04:46 PM
Neat story, I am glad it went well!

'61 lark deluxe 4dr wagon

12-19-2008, 04:56 PM
I love going on missions like that. But I don't have that much drama; I've got it down to a science;)

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?"

12-19-2008, 07:19 PM
:) Great story, Johnny. Anybody who can't relate isn't a real hobbyist.

Question: How/why did you get involved with Border Patrol? Was the car in Mexico or something? :DBP

12-19-2008, 08:39 PM
quote:Question: How/why did you get involved with Border Patrol? Was the car in Mexico or something? :DBP

Del Rio is on the US side of the border with Mexico. There is a Border Patrol check point about 4-5 miles on the way out of town. Nothing terrific, just 2 guys with a drug-sniffing dog. When he sniffed the Stude, I thot I heard him say, "Grrrrreat." [:o)]

Usually they ask if you are a US citizen and if you are bringing in anything you shouldn't. This time they didn't even open the 10' truck box. I guess I looked either harmless or too old to matter. Maybe they figured even if I had some contraband, flat-towing a Studebaker car 150 miles was punishment enough.

Here are some pix of the flat-towing set-up (as if no one knew).


I have used this $99 Auto Zone tow bar many times, once to tow a '64 Cruiser from Battle Mountain NV over Boulder (or was it Hoover?) Dam to San Antonio. Never had as much trouble as this time.


It's held on my one bolt thru the bumper on each side. (I'd begun to take the safety chains off in the pix.)