Touring with Your Vintage Vehicle
By Stephen Kassis
Driving an old car or truck is my favorite thing. Restoration is certainly enjoyable, but driving is the best! In August I had the opportunity to enjoy driving from Oregon to the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America (VCCA) 55th Anniversary Meet in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. For this Meet, we drove our 1960 Chevy 1-Ton Panel Truck. We use this truck for our business, so the drivetrain has been updated to all modern equipment. It has a 2003 LS2 fuel injected 6.0 liter engine and 4L80E automatic transmission, power steering, disc brakes and air conditioning. It is a dream to drive and very comfortable too as it has a console style bench seat out of a 2003 Silverado.
The very next month, I was driving the panel truck with trailer in tow. We were heading for the 12th Annual VCCA Early Six Meet in Heber, Utah. However, on this Meet, I was not going totally in comfort. Once we got to our destination, my transportation would be a 1931 Chevrolet 1-1/2 Ton Tow Truck. The drivetrain in this truck is all original, including the 194 CID 6-cylinder engine, 4-speed "crash box" transmission and a scary slow 5.42:1 differential gear ratio! This means it will climb trees well but going fast, not so much. These two trucks are about as opposite in creature comfort as is imaginable. The tow truck has a plain bench seat, very small cab, no heater and no A/C!! With a top speed of 40 MPH you might think this truck is terrible to drive. Not so!
We had a blast driving the old tow truck! People loved seeing an oldie like this driving down the road, even though it was a little slow. This was the first time out for the truck. I had tried to get it ready for the Anniversary Meet at Lake Tahoe, but ran into problems. That is a whole other story!
The Utah Meet was combined with the Southwest Meet this year and was open to Chevrolets from 1929 thru 1954. Tours were all over the Heber Valley and for September, we had wonderful weather for a while.
Our first tour was driving to Mirror Lake for a 100 mile round trip. 100 miles was not a problem for any of these old cars. What I didn't know was that this tour would take us over a 10,700 foot mountain pass! I am very pleased to say that the tow truck did very well on this tour and climbed the mountain without any major trouble. Yes it was slow, especially on the steep inclines, but the truck had no trouble climbing hills because of the low gears in the differential.
Touring with a car club such as the VCCA is very rewarding. You are taken to places you otherwise might not have seen. The slower pace of old cars allows for a more rewarding journey. The tours tend to take you on back roads where life is a little slower and the scenery is a little nicer. The benefits of touring with a club also include a whole circle of great friends with the common interest of old cars.
The Vintage Chevrolet Club of America is a 55 year old club dedicated to the restoration and preservation of Chevrolets & GMC's of all years. The club has nearly 8,000 members from the USA and around the world. For more information about the VCCA check their website at www.vcca.org . They also have an excellent chat site where members and guests share technical information and answer questions. Chat site: http://vcca.org/forum/ubbthreads.php/forum_summary