Ramp Truck Rescue

The Orange Blossom Tour has a new, vintage tour support vehicle. After calling our friends at Chubb to get insurance (and a bit of moral support), we pulled this 50,000-mile, original paint and interior 1973 Ford F-350 ramp truck out of a barn in Connecticut. Look for it to be refurbished and flying the Classic Motorsports colors as it debuts on the 2016 Orange Blossom Tour.

Held March 6-10, 2016, the Orange Blossom Tour is a classic sports car tour through the Deep South. It’s limited to 25 couples and combines cool cars, camaraderie and the charm and beauty of old Florida (and now coastal Georgia). The tour is an official part of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance and ends on Amelia Island just in time to enjoy the concours weekend.

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Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham Editorial Assistant
9/28/15 2:35 p.m.

And here's a quick shot of the ramp truck for you guys viewing this on the forum.

Marjorie Suddard
Marjorie Suddard General Manager
9/28/15 3:50 p.m.

Update on the ramp truck: Tim and Rennie are flying up to Connecticut next Monday (Oct. 5) to drive it home. It's a 40+ year-old truck that hasn't been on the road in years... what could possibly go wrong? Oh, and they're going to put a Spitfire on it for the trip, because duh, it needs to get to Florida, too.

Those of you on the I-95 corridor, might want to stay close to the board next week. On the other hand, you might want to take a nice, long vacation from it, starting Monday.

Margie

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
9/28/15 6:27 p.m.

yup, what Margie said.

The saving grace in this insanity, is that the Spitfire runs well enough (I think) to be driven to Florida. And unlike the truck, it has overdrive.

Toyman01
Toyman01 MegaDork
9/28/15 6:45 p.m.

It's a old Ford. This is all the tools you need.

Marjorie Suddard
Marjorie Suddard General Manager
9/28/15 7:13 p.m.

Pretty much exactly what Tim and Rennie tried to carry on the plane when they went to get the Ranchero. The nice TSA people said nuh-uh.

Margie

Toyman01
Toyman01 MegaDork
9/28/15 7:19 p.m.

And to think, all this time I just knew Tim had a special exception for tools.

Well, tools and rust.

Kenny_McCormic
Kenny_McCormic UltimaDork
9/28/15 7:30 p.m.

In reply to Toyman01:

Can of WD40 would be a good addition.

Marjorie Suddard
Marjorie Suddard General Manager
9/28/15 7:34 p.m.

Tim and the TSA don't quite see eye to eye. His latest scolding was for duct tape. They consider it a no-no, and weren't exactly swayed by his arguments that this is a silly policy.

Toyman01
Toyman01 MegaDork
9/28/15 7:53 p.m.

In reply to Marjorie Suddard:

Seriously? They have a ban on duct tape?

He's right, that's a silly policy.

Woody
Woody MegaDork
9/28/15 8:08 p.m.

Is the truck still in Milford or is it at Curt's place? Either way, if you get jammed up early in the trip home, I should be able to help out. I can probably get to any part of the Connecticut portion of your route within twenty minutes or so.

wlkelley3
wlkelley3 SuperDork
9/28/15 9:05 p.m.

There's the problem. Spring for checked baggage. I carry a couple tools and a boxcutter in checked baggage when I travel for work. But then I don't have to pay the baggage fee.

Apis Mellifera
Apis Mellifera Reader
9/29/15 6:22 a.m.

Stopping by Hershey on the way home?

ultraclyde
ultraclyde UltraDork
9/29/15 6:59 a.m.

Good luck, that looks like a great truck. wlkelley3's right - all of that (and a lot worse) will be fine in checked luggage. Most flights will only charge $25 for a checked bag - which is cheaper than buying all that stuff when you get there if you want something better than HF tools. (And I don't have to say...take a spare starter relay, right?)

If you get lost and need help near Macon, GA - holla.

Marjorie Suddard
Marjorie Suddard General Manager
9/29/15 7:17 a.m.

Woody, the truck is at Curt's place. And fruit fly, they are going to Hershey!

nutherjrfan
nutherjrfan HalfDork
9/29/15 7:42 a.m.

gonna thread-jack a little here with a CL ad for a 1975 Ford Dump truck/NMNA. Wonder if it could be converted to a car hauler during restoration? Not by me though I just gave the DMV a ton of decade old obligations to register my newest E36 M3 box. http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/nva/cto/5231364776.html

Apis Mellifera
Apis Mellifera Reader
9/29/15 8:23 a.m.

Well in that case, I'll see them there!. I'll be the guy looking at old car parts. Feel free to sneak up and give me a big hug.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim UltimaDork
9/29/15 10:02 a.m.

I guess you can always tow the truck with the Spitfire?

gjz30075
gjz30075 HalfDork
9/29/15 11:10 a.m.
BoxheadTim wrote: I guess you can always tow the truck with the Spitfire?

Ha! I was thinking the same thing although it'll turn out like the 5hr Energy drink commercial with the strongman pulling the semi. It'll take a while to get up to a veerrrryy slooooow pace.

Marjorie Suddard
Marjorie Suddard General Manager
9/29/15 12:16 p.m.

We may or may not have once towed our broken-down motorhome and trailer with the Rabbit we were carrying in the trailer. So I could totally see Tim and Rennie trying to drag the ramp truck with the Spit.

Margie

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Associate Editor
9/29/15 12:23 p.m.

Uh, please take good care of my Spitfire, mmkay?

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
9/29/15 12:35 p.m.

Wait a minute... a CT to Hershey trip shouldn't be on I-95 for very long. I'd think I-95 to 287 to 78 to 81, no?

Anyway... if for some reason you're passing through Philly and need help, I should be around.

alfadriver
alfadriver UltimaDork
9/29/15 12:38 p.m.
Marjorie Suddard wrote: Those of you on the I-95 corridor, might want to stay a long way off the roads next week. On the other hand, you might want to take a nice, long vacation from it, starting Monday. Margie

FYP. Brakes and steering for a 40 year old vehicle that has not seen the road for a while would make me nervous.

Marjorie Suddard
Marjorie Suddard General Manager
9/29/15 1:09 p.m.
Ian F wrote: Wait a minute... a CT to Hershey trip shouldn't be on I-95 for very long. I'd think I-95 to 287 to 78 to 81, no? Anyway... if for some reason you're passing through Philly and need help, I should be around.

They're actually going from Hershey to CT to pick up the truck and Spitfire, then home to Florida. I think Alfadriver got it right--though Eric, the truck does have new brakes (Gary Hunter took care of that when he was up in the Northeast a couple of weeks ago).

ultraclyde
ultraclyde UltraDork
9/29/15 2:08 p.m.
FYP. Brakes and steering for a 40 year old vehicle that has not seen the road for a while would make me nervous.

ehh...it's king pin twin I-beam front suspension and recirculating ball power steering (at least, I hope it's power.) They started out loose and scary as hell. Age didn't affect them as much as mileage. Just think of it as 'aiming' instead of 'driving.'

Tom1200
Tom1200 Reader
9/29/15 10:21 p.m.

Most of my tow vehicles have been 70's Fords and yes aim does describe the handling.

I love the ramp truck, the only thing I want out of one is a sort of 4ft sleeper type cab extension so I can change into my race gear, maybe even have a microwave and a mini fridge.

I also want to the pros and cons of the ramp truck over a pick up. Can I easily fab some add-ons that let me haul some of the usual pick up truck loads or is it really a single use vehicle. For the magazine obviously it just needs to tote cars.

Tom

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
9/30/15 8:16 a.m.
ultraclyde wrote:
FYP. Brakes and steering for a 40 year old vehicle that has not seen the road for a while would make me nervous.

ehh...it's king pin twin I-beam front suspension and recirculating ball power steering (at least, I hope it's power.) They started out loose and scary as hell. Age didn't affect them as much as mileage. Just think of it as 'aiming' instead of 'driving.'

I always looked at is that you were giving the truck suggestions as to the approximate place you wanted it to go.

minimac
minimac SuperDork
9/30/15 10:45 a.m.

Our old ramp truck was made from a F-600 moving truck. Sold the box to a neighbor for use as a shed. Aim was a good description for the steering on that, too. Margie doesn't seem too concerned...must be the life insurance is paid up to date!

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
9/30/15 11:40 a.m.

In reply to minimac:

Tim does race a TR3 and I'm sure this is not the first truck with vague steering he's driven.

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
9/30/15 5:18 p.m.

Ian F... that hurts!

Good ideas. I have a pickup, so I hadn't thought of the idea of making the Ramp-meister a dual purpose vehicle. I was definitely going to put a hitch on it, which effectively gives me a way to tow two cars to the track at once, or my travel trailer and a race car.

The dual towing idea, coupled with my love of period looking stuff and then the main reason I went this way is to have a place to just leave all my race stuff, between races.

Now we have to unpack everything and remember to repack everything between events.

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
9/30/15 5:20 p.m.

I was going to go around NYC. Not where I like to work on my crappers on the side of the road. I much prefer the calm and beauty of I 287.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
9/30/15 10:25 p.m.
Tim Suddard wrote: I much prefer the calm and beauty of I 287.

The only time I'll drive through NYC is at o-dark early. If I cross the GWB at around 6am, then 87 to the Cross County to the Hutchinson to the Merrit is a reasonably calm way to get to CT and points north for me. I was working on a project in Portsmouth, NH for a month so I was doing this drive every week.

Going home, it's always 287 -> 202 -> 31 -> 95. Been doing that drive for almost 20 years now, since I started mtn bike racing at venues in NY and VT. Are there shorter and maybe faster routes? Maybe. Less stressful? No. And at this point in my life, I'll gladly trade miles/time for less stress.

wannacruise
wannacruise New Reader
10/1/15 7:42 p.m.

"Going home, it's always 287 -> 202 -> 31 -> 95. Been doing that drive for almost 20 years now, since I started mtn bike racing at venues in NY and VT. Are there shorter and maybe faster routes? Maybe. Less stressful? No. And at this point in my life, I'll gladly trade miles/time for less stress."
I haven't looked at the map lately but I have been driving from Pa into CT for quite a while too. I would think from Hershey I would take I-81 to Scranton, Pa. then I-84 straight thru past Hartford, Ct. Couldn't be less stressful. Tim I know you like those Triumphs but if you ditch that spitfire and stop here in Pa and pick up my Healey, take it to Florida, I could use it on the Orange Blossom Tour. Course then I'd probably have to drive it back to Pa in late March or early April. Hmm. Dave.

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA Dork
10/1/15 9:28 p.m.

Can't drive this truck on the Merritt / Wilbur Cross with or without commercial plates. So it's I-95 and all its wonderfulness.

As far as 287 goes, I hope the Tappan Zee Bridge doesn't fall apart.

Sounds like a good road trip to me. If you break down and need parts, you can always unload the Spit and go chase them.

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA Dork
10/1/15 9:32 p.m.
Marjorie Suddard wrote: Tim and the TSA don't quite see eye to eye. His latest scolding was for duct tape. They consider it a no-no, and weren't exactly swayed by his arguments that this is a silly policy.

After making this argument, I'm surprised the next sound Tim heard was not the snapping of a rubber glove.

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
10/3/15 6:08 a.m.

My buddy Rennie already found a cheap BMW 2002 Bauer convertible that we need to stop and look at. We may already be driving, not carrrying, the Spitfire. Good thing is has working overdrive!

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
10/3/15 7:12 a.m.

CT to FL definitely beats my MI to PA run.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
10/3/15 7:14 a.m.

In reply to wannacruise:

81 is fine if you're in Hershey, but I live within ear-shot of I-95, so...

wannacruise
wannacruise New Reader
10/3/15 7:49 a.m.

"81 is fine if you're in Hershey, but I live within ear-shot of I-95, so... " Can't get the quote button to work. But I got ya on the I-95 bit. I thought I read Tim saying he was going to Hershey before New England. But like now I haven't gone back to reread anything. Dave. PS: Guess I'll just have to drive the Vette to Florida. It handles the SuperSlabs better than the Healey.

alfadriver
alfadriver UltimaDork
10/3/15 8:04 a.m.
Tim Suddard wrote: My buddy Rennie already found a cheap BMW 2002 Bauer convertible that we need to stop and look at. We may already be driving, not carrrying, the Spitfire. Good thing is has working overdrive!

So a stop at U-Haul for a rental trailer is certainly in play, then.

Margie- have you cleared out some room?

BTW, thanks for ramping up your buys like this- makes my down fall of work much easier- as I can live through you guys. Cuts, bruises, dirt up my nose and all.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
10/3/15 8:43 a.m.

In reply to wannacruise:

I hear ya... I'm still not 100% sure on what route he's taking. Margie said Hershey to CT then FL, but a couple of Tim's post hint at going from CT to Hershey. Or I'm misreading (quite possible)... Regardless, hopefully he'll post updates from the road and let us know how he's doing.

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
10/7/15 5:19 a.m.

We are posting daily updates. Yesterday was long, but we have this thing sorted pretty well. And it runs and drives pretty darn well.

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