Topic : Good tow 'car' ?

Does anyone tow their boat with a LR Discovery? 

I've had an offer of one to use but wondered of the std mast support lifted the mast high enough, and if it did, would the mast be close to vertical ?!! I don't have the opportunity to try it out first.

Posted: 05/06/2007 14:53:58
By: KM 2825
A quick search shows a Discovery is 1887mm high (my Rover Estate is 1481mm and I tow no problem with the mast on the transom but NOT I think 0.4metres of clearance between mast and roof) but it will depend also on the height of the tow ball and the height of the mast crutch.  You could also put the mast step inside the boat rather than rest the mast on the transom - that will gain a bit extra height.

Posted: 05/06/2007 16:25:23
By: Garry R
You could also put the mast step inside the boat rather than rest the mast on the transom - that will gain a bit extra height.

mmm, yes, but don't drive through low doorways etc. I've a friend who took the transom out of his boat (very neatly) by hitting the lintle os a doorway with the end of the mast...

Posted: 05/06/2007 17:26:59
By: Colin
Put the mast on the roof! Rather more seriously the lack of stability of most Chelsea Tractors is worrying enough in town the relatively short wheelbase actualy makes them rather bad towing vehicles.

Posted: 05/06/2007 18:38:08
By: ?
Missus has a Freelander and I use it to tow my OK about with no problems so I guess the same applies to the LR Disco!?

Posted: 05/06/2007 18:51:30
By: Richard Battey
I found a bit of a problem with a Megane Scenic. If I'd had the rear roof open it would have been smashed going out of the sailing club. I lifted the mast with a fleece in the U of the support.

Posted: 05/06/2007 19:01:48
By: Nigel 3280
No problem with Disco towing. High mast support and high transom support gives a better angle for the mast.

Posted: 05/06/2007 21:26:26
Thanks for the advice everyone, armed with the relative dimensions I'll try a mock up before committing, but glad to hear it is possible,

Thanks again

Posted: 06/06/2007 15:28:08
By: KM 2825
The higher the ball hitch, the lower the transom...and remember speed bumps!

Posted: 06/06/2007 16:07:08
By: Mags
Certainly possible; I towed 1620 for 2 decades behind my beat-up Mk2 swb, mast heel was down in the boat, and the front support was enought to lift the mast over a full size laden roofrack, and offset to one side to allow a windsurfer to be on the other side. True, mast tip was in the clouds, but I never had a problem except on the Hovercraft.

Posted: 06/06/2007 17:38:34
By: Rod & Jo
Hi, I just picked up  merlin and with luck the owner had a very high mast support and i was using a fiat Doblo van. 

I know that Discovery's are higher than my van being a tall 4x4 so think you will need a very long mast support.

Posted: 06/06/2007 22:18:17
By: Ramsay
also beware of spare wheels mounted on the back - they can impede if trolley handles clash with the wheel on a right hand turn.  My Freelander wheel cover was punctured by a handle.  You'd need to ensure the road base has a longer "nose" for the hitch.

Posted: 07/06/2007 11:06:13
By: mad jack
So, not as good as , say, an average saloon car.

Posted: 07/06/2007 13:26:55
By: 4x4 detester
Useful though if you have one small child to drop off at school... ;o)

Posted: 07/06/2007 13:43:39
By: Mags
I have always found my 550 Maranello a nice little car to use for towing the old tub around..... perhaps a bit steep on the MPG but no problems with height/mast restrictions, ...struggle to get the child seats in the back though.LOL

Posted: 07/06/2007 13:53:44
By: Richard Battey
I found the tow hook on my Maranello greatly enhanced the appearance, and the resale value, as I sold it to a guy from the caravan club. I also fitted a roof rack which was great for carrying ladders.

Posted: 07/06/2007 14:05:26
By: 4x4 detester
I decided to trade mine in as there was a slight whistling sound from the roof rack at 170mph - I think the fixing on the passenger side was out of alignment but they wouldn't fix it under the manufacturer's warranty so I just left it on the forecourt and got a Mondeo

Posted: 07/06/2007 14:40:03
By: Garry R
On a serious note watch the multistorey car park barriers especially in Guildford last year.  No problem getting in and  paying and displaying but on the way out the machine doesn't realise you are towing and the barrier can chop you in half (personal experience!!) Stop laughing everyone!!

Posted: 07/06/2007 14:44:06
By: Garry R
You can tow a Merlin easily with an MGB.  What you can't do is see anything behind you!  Will be investing in a periscope.

Posted: 07/06/2007 14:49:57
By: Andrew M
The MGB is a very neat tow car, in fact up until a year or so ago Laurie Smart towed 3556 behind his beautifully restored MGB.

Posted: 07/06/2007 15:21:53
By: Richard Battey
You did well to get a boat into a multi-storey car park. The Late Chris Andrews and the still with us Guy Gurney towed various MR's not only with MGB's but MGA's! As did lots of others.

Posted: 07/06/2007 15:37:28
By: ?
You want to try towing a maximum beam Hornblower behind an A35 van, now thats interesting.

Posted: 07/06/2007 16:08:41
By: Rob-2601
And the difference between any 4X4 and a hedgehog is?

Posted: 08/06/2007 09:47:15
By: ?
Laurie's car, which he restored himself, is in fact the rare and wonderful MGC GT - a fair bit more grunt than the B and more style than the V8.

Posted: 08/06/2007 10:03:30
By: Andrew M
To return to ?'s question, the answer is "substantial".  Like the difference between involved and committed, consider a plate of eggs and bacon.  The hen is involved but the pig is committed

Posted: 08/06/2007 10:11:46
By: Garry R
I thought it was to do with hedgehogs!

Posted: 08/06/2007 12:37:30
By: ?
If the egg is involved and the pig committed, where does that leave the brown sauce? Oh! and MGCs never caught on because they wre too front heavy with the six cylinder engine in.

Posted: 08/06/2007 14:59:58
By: southend sandworm
It's exactly 10 years since I sold that MGC to Laurie. I'm very envious whenever I see it because he's done a superb job on it. I towed gliders trailers with it and the only problem I had was with the low ground clearance when I was driving in and out of fields to collect gliders that landed away from home. A great car, I regret selling it but it went to a good home and unlike Laurie I don't have the necessary skills to look after it properly.

Posted: 08/06/2007 15:52:01
By: Robert Harris.
I haven't driven an MGC but the reputation stems largely from the initial press tests which were with poorly prepared and underdeveloped cars.  The weight distribution is in fact little changed from the B and with correct spring and damper rates and adjusted tyre pressures the reputation is not deserved.  BUT the engine is much heavier and therefore so is the car, the steering is totally different and that gives an impression of a less balanced car.  This is vitally relevant to the subject of this thread which is all about Land Rovers.  What did you think, Robert, was it a dog?

Posted: 08/06/2007 17:26:52
By: Andrew M
The MGC did have a 'swelling' in the bonnet behind the grille to accomodate the longer engine, and never quite had the style of the Healey 3000 which had a similar six cyl.unit.

Posted: 08/06/2007 17:42:16
By: Aesthete
A little like another car of a similar era, the GT6 - the shoehorned six cylinders making it more prone to understeer. Not an appreciably heavier unit, just pushed further forward.

Back to the thread, and I have learned that:

A LR Discovery would be fine to tow the MR with so long as no low bridges, arches or multistorey car parks are to be negotiated.
The interior should be without the prickles from a hedgehog (inference from ?)
I may need a trailer with a longer draw bar to avoid trolley handles piercing the rear wheel cover (or even the rear door)on tight corners, and longer front (and rear) mast props to obtain a more conventional mast angle and roof clearance. Carrying ladders at the same time would be ill advised.

If I could find one (possibly abandoned in a car park)I could try one of the Maranello built LR Discoveries which would help me arrive more quickly but with the penalty of a little wind noise over 170mph.

I'm so glad I asked! LOL

Posted: 08/06/2007 20:55:01
By: KM 2825
Is it true that the engine came from a tractor originally?

Posted: 08/06/2007 20:56:08
By: floppy toppy
The BMC C-Series was a straight-6 automobile engine produced from 1956 to 1971. Unlike the Austin designed A and B-series engines, it came from the Morris engines drawing office in Coventry. Displacement was 2.6 to 2.9 L (2912 cc) with an 83.3 mm bore and 88.9 mm stroke.

The engine appeared in a variety of different cars and commercial vehicles including saloon models from Austin, Morris, Wolseley and later versions of the Riley Pathfinder (officially known as the Two-Point-Six). The C-Series engines also found their way into the "Big" Austin-Healey models and the A-H 3000 replacement, the MGC.


2.6 L (2639 cc) 77x89 mm
1954-1959 Wolseley 6/90
1954-1959 Austin Westminster A90/A95/A105
1955-1958 Morris Isis
1958-1959 Riley Two-Point-Six
1956-1959 Austin-Healey 100-6

2.9 L (2912 cc) 83.36x88.9 mm. Four bearing crankshaft.
1959-1968 Austin Westminster A99/A110
1959-1968 Wolseley 6/99 and 6/110
1959-1964 Vanden Plas Princess 3-Litre
1959-1967 Austin-Healey 3000

2.9 L (2912 cc) 83.36x88.9 mm. Seven bearing crankshaft.
1967-1971 Austin 3-Litre
1968-1970 MGC

That's from google, btw. No mention of tractors.

Posted: 08/06/2007 21:47:20
By: KM 2825
Let's get back to GRAVY BONES....Woof!

Posted: 08/06/2007 21:49:15
By: Dudley
Ah the Pathfinder!  The end of Riley as we knew it.  With the short pushrod twin cam 4-cyl 2.5l engine replaced by the agricultural straight six that also went in the Healey Riley died to become just a badge of BMC with the 2.6.  MG had been told that the redesign of the C-series would result in a lighter and smaller 6 cylinder engine that would have no problem slotting into the longish engine bay of the MGB.  In the event it was no lighter and only about half an inch shorter, if anything a little taller, neccessitating the bonnet bulge to clear the top of the engine with a teardrop to clear the 1st of the twin SU HS6's.  It wasn't really a C series engine at all (though bore and stroke were carried over) and the only other car that had any bits of it was the even rarer Austin 3 Litre, which looked like a Landcrab but was rear wheel drive and the unfashionable replacement for the Westminster.

Am I on a forum about sailing? I seem to have got carried away somewhere else

Posted: 08/06/2007 22:10:30
By: Andrew M
from 1968 it shared the redesigned 7 bearing crankshaft emgine with the austin 3-litre.

Posted: 09/06/2007 01:04:58
By: john
and on ebay;

Posted: 09/06/2007 01:10:03
By: john
and you have got to admit ..... the car looks real cool  with a merlin hitched on the back.

Posted: 09/06/2007 06:45:00
By: Richard Battey
Apart from occasional wheel shake at around 70 mph my MGC was definitely not a dog. 

At the end of the production run University Motors bought several hundred MGCs including mine. UM made a number of modifications to these cars which included changes to the suspension, engine upgrades and new paint jobs. Apparently not all the mods were done to every car and as far as I know they were not documented. UM rebranded them as 'University Motors Specials'. Mine had a Weathershield sunshine roof and a stainless steel exhaust system which I believe she still has. I also believe she had some suspension mods. Laurie has done a lot of work on the engine, he also stripped the UM vinyl covering off the roof and fitted new wheels which have eliminated the wheel shake.

'UMS' MGCs in such excellent condition are rarities these days, I bet Laurie could sell her for a lot more than he paid me for her but I'm sure he has no intention of doing so.

There's another Merlin Rocket connection to my MGC because in 1984 Stu Gurney found the car for me.

Posted: 09/06/2007 09:39:39
By: Robert Harris.
A girl friend of mine has one of these "specials" it's iron grey in coloue and fortunately she has long flowing red hair because she's needed to be on good terms with nearly every RAC patrolman in the UK! Having said that it looks good but it is very uncomfortable and by modern standards the handling simply awful. But she will not be parted from it recalling the early MG slogan that "you can do it in an MG".

Posted: 09/06/2007 11:26:17
By: ?
I have a chrome bumper mgb and a 76 smokers they certainly look good together and are about the same age.  Hey i am living in the past but they were good days :-)

Posted: 09/06/2007 17:55:36
By: phil
Unless a contortionist with a high pain threshold I remain unconvinced you can do it in an MG, at least with the roof up.

Posted: 09/06/2007 21:20:28
By: Andrew M
Someone I worked with aeons ago claimed that she and her boyfriend did. And in the luggage racks of those old trains!

Posted: 09/06/2007 22:02:06
By: Robert Harris
Re the above comments regarding Chris Andrews and Guy Gurney in MG's. Was passenger in both with disasterous results. Chris, in a hurry to Whitsatable, wiped his mast and transom off when travelling through Shoreham airport (A short cut!!) and Guy lost the traller off the back driving down into Salcombe. The trailer came off, he saw it in the mirror, braked, and the mast came in through the rear window, missed my head by an inch and broke the windscreen!

Posted: 10/06/2007 09:01:58
By: Barry
Forgot to say that Chris's mast hit the low bridge. The car and boat made it to the other side, The mast,transom and number plate didn't.

Posted: 10/06/2007 09:08:24
By: Barry
It was a re-war slogan MG TD a bit more "leg room"!

Posted: 10/06/2007 11:24:20
By: ?
Another MG slogan "safety fast" never used by the london rubber company though. Must point out that I never said MGC was a dog just that they never caught on. Mind you, once mgs' started using a,b,c engines they weren't really mgs and culminated in the mg maestro (owned one, digital dash died and annoying woman on computer would not switch off,"fasten safety belt") and metro. A sad sad ending although the MG maestro turbo was a blast.

Posted: 10/06/2007 18:40:15
By: floppy toppy
Ref: the previous reference to tractor engines, its probably the Aston Martin/David Brown link. David Brown, (DB prefix to the model reference)previous owner of Aston Martin had a family history in the tractor business which subsidised the low volume car production. Lamborghini also have  close links to agricultural machinery.

Posted: 12/06/2007 09:48:24
By: KM 2825
I think that I may have been thinking about the TR series that, If the urban myth is correct, had a sort of massey ferguson engine in them.

Posted: 12/06/2007 10:16:09
By: floppy toppy
Talking of Aston Martins Robin Judah was one of the best Merlin Rocket sailors of the late 50s and early 60s, he had a DB something or other. At the time the speed limit for a car towing a trailer was 30 mph. Fed up with being caught for speeding on his way to open meetings Robin devised a roof rack onto which he could slide his Merlin Rocket. The Aston was low and it was easily done. The keel stepped mast hung out a few feet at each end but I don't think it caused any problems.

Posted: 12/06/2007 19:59:05
By: Robert Harris.


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