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A blast from the past


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Hey Grumps, how fun ! ! Yes, I remember them and, yes, they were a bit of work. But, the dollies pictured here aren't the early generation, double, round-tube, pole and pan dollies that were on early year wreckers. At least with pole and pan, there were ten-parts; two poles, two pans, two racks of dolly tires and four pins (some towers used screwdrivers if they lost the pins). Early version pole and pans were seperate, lighter and easier to handle as they came apart. Combine the dollies with a pair of 18-inch or-so tall, 6x6 post-ends, pole and pans were easisly installed using a, "Teeter-Totter", technique where you didn't have to lift the dollying end to install. Simply hook-up the casualty vehicle from the front or rear end, raise the casualty high in the air, position the 6x6 posts under each frame rail, and then lower the lifted end. The car's frame-rails would sit atop the blocks and the end to be dollied would raise to a height sufficient enough to install the poles and pans. The teeter totter technique was far faster than lifting one end, dropping it to lift the opposite end, installing the dollies, lowering the casualty, and the returning to hook-up the end  where the sling, tow bar, or just cable and hooks would attach.

 

But, the better item of, "early year", tow equipment that I liked to use were the chrome, "Moon-Caps", that were used like skates in the early days of carriers. Moon-caps were everywhere as was a 12-inch section of Hobie-Cat hulls. Even cars with no tires and wheels would slide with ease. It was also part of a flat tire service kit where we'd take a Moon-Cap to the tire being serviced and where all the lug nuts were placed to keep them together. What a great memory.       R

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Randall C. Resch

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I do remember performing the "teeter totter" technique, Dad had a pair of jack stands on each L.D. truck. I cant say i recall the double pole dollies you mentioned. that may have been before my time. The moon caps were a very useful tool to have. I remember using the old heavy rubber floor mats in the trucks for chain protection on trees for winching ( Roundslings and straps werent really a thing yet )or placing them between sling bars and such for bumper protection on certain jobs. It is funny to look back and think of some of the things we did as normal back then that would be considered barbaric by todays standards.

PROFESSIONAL TOWING & RECOVERY IS NOT JUST A JOB.. IT IS A LIFESTYLE

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Our early light-duty wreckers didn't have slings or tow bars, only a steel rim and tire cut in-half and welded to the wrecker's rear dock on a 500 Holmes twin line, shaft-driven PTO. The cable-hooks were attached somewhere to the frame and we'd slide small sections of car tires between the cable and bumpers. A chain was connected from the towed car to the rear dock. When starting out in traffic, the towed car would swing back, shift, and it would swing forward and slightly, "kiss", the rubber tired rim. It required a little finesse and smoothing driving to not bend the car being towed. But, cars in the  early years were made of real metal. The hardest car I towed was a 62' Jaguar XKE from the front bonnet. The picture is a likeness of what the set-up looked like.     R.

Stoney 5 TT Side.jpg

Randall C. Resch

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The Two Metal Poles worked much like heavy gauge metal fence posts back in the day. Instead of dropping into a slot the round posts were slid a larger round metal receptor welded to another metal rod that held the two bearings, wheels and tires just like the dollies we us today. I am sure someone has a time line of dolly innovations someplace as I recall seeing something like that at one time. Kinda surprised it isn't on the wall at the museum. I remember pan were then added to the posts, then the two posts became one round post then one square post (As Pictured). The square must have been found to be stronger as we progressed to extending Bars and back two an innovation of the original design. I was thrilled when the heavy metal was changed to aluminum, although I have see those who overload their trucks overload the dollies till they look like a sway back horse and are difficult to retract.

 

The earliest dollies I can recall using were on the super cradle I pictured in the vintage forum. They were similar to the picture above but the pans were no where near as deep. I don't know where I picked up the "teeter totter" method using Jack Stands as I do not recall seeing anyone doing it around here. Now I am sure there were, I just didn't see them and those that saw me were interested when I called it a "teeter totter". Like I said that was what it looked like and later I found others around the country had done the same for years. KInd of like when I did an "Air Lift" only that has numerous names. Getting back to the "teeter totter" method, some may ask how the dollies were loaded other then using jack stands. You picked up one end of the vehicle set the dollies, then moved to the other end to load for tow. When these early dollies were designed there were no auto-loads. he wheel lift systems being designs were certainly not auto loads.

 

Now I am far from a Historian, for that we would have to look to Wes Wilburn. He can surely fill in the blanks.

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I have never seen a set up like that one. I can picture a big ol 72 monte carlo hanging off the back of that truck and "leaning" its massive steel bumper on the rubber. I guess thats why when wheel lifts and roll backs really started to become the norm, a lot of companies boasted about "damage free towing". I remember as a kid, tow companies had that plastered all over their trucks. My fathers included.

PROFESSIONAL TOWING & RECOVERY IS NOT JUST A JOB.. IT IS A LIFESTYLE

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