Trailers became a convenient means of hauling back in the 1970s, when automobiles were fitted with robust steel bumpers and a hitch could be added by a local mechanic or anyone with a set of tools. Most utility trailers were built at home without much attention to safety. They were characterized by mismatched bias-ply tires which sang different tunes on the asphalt and stiff suspension (or lack thereof) that rattled the cargo when rolling over the smallest rock or minor hole. Trailer sway was typical and was corrected only by adjusting speed.
Homemade trailers have become a thing of the past and now, inexpensive, high-quality utility trailers are found at most building supply stores. Specialized trailers have become the norm when people need a unique trailer to meet their individual hauling requirements—or their distinct style.
In some cases, the object being towed is incorporated into the trailer and in other cases, the trailer design is more important than the objects it pulls, like the mini-trailers that are so small the cargo space and hauling capacity render them almost useless,
At first glance, this looks like a scale model replica tailgating the original SSR, but a closer inspection reveals the trailer hitch that connects the two and the wheels that support the miniature car. Although the little car, complete with taillights and license plate, appears to be functional, it is merely a container to haul cargo for the owner—albeit in a limited space.
If these mini-vehicle lookalikes were equipped with a drive train, suspension, brakes, a seat, and other components required to make a car functional, they could only be driven by kids under four feet tall. Even at that height, a convertible version like the absurd Chevy SSR pickup would work best.
Los Angeles ranks in the top five of the worst cities in the US for traffic. Congestion occurs day and night, and every make and model of car and truck can be seen on the streets and numerous freeways that crisscross the city. Often, something out of the ordinary is seen, and equally as often, it is an object being towed from one part of the city to the other.
Such was the case in October 2012, when the space shuttle Endeavour was towed by a Toyota Tundra truck over the Los Angeles 405 freeway on its 12-mile trip from Los Angeles International Airport to the California Science Center at Exposition Park. Endeavour’s wings cleared structures along the route by just inches and workers removed 400 trees along curbs to clear a path.
The 2019 Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid is a luxury SUV with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. Its most powerful drivetrain includes a 4.8-liter twin-turbo V8 producing 520 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. The maximum towing capacity rating is 7,700 pounds.
However, this Cayenne towed a 285-ton Air France Airbus A380 over 42 meters at the Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, setting a new Guinness World Record. Although impressive, a vehicle like the Cayenne would never be used regularly at the airport to push and pull aircraft. It has enough horsepower but insufficient torque. An airport push-tug or tractor typically has over 1,500 lb-ft of torque.
According to Statista, as of December 2018, there were nearly 60,000 public electric vehicle charging stations and charging outlets in the US. However, most of these can be found in California, in a few coastal states, and in major metropolitan areas. In the rest of the continental US, they are hard to find.
In the absence of electric vehicle recharging stations means EV owners need an alternative to keep their vehicles going. The Range Extender trailer is one solution. It has a generator powered by a high-efficiency diesel or gas engine that is used to sustain highway speeds for long distance trips. A 20 or 30 kW generator is all that is required to recharge the giant batteries built into the car.
Paul from Jefferson, Georgia, purchased his 2008 Ford Mustang GT not only for its performance but also for its appearance. So, when he needed a trailer to tow behind his aerodynamic masterpiece, he wanted to match that style. What better way to do it than with a trailer built from another Mustang body of the same year?
Paul bought a Mustang shell, painted it Vapor Silver metallic to match the towing vehicle, and even outfitted it with corresponding Forgestar CF5 wheels. Perhaps the trailer, with its flat forward-facing front reduces fuel efficiency, but most boxy trailers would not be much different. Bad MPGs are a small price to pay for style.
Created by French artist Benedetto Bufalino, the Caravane Piscine appears to be a regular towable trailer from the ground level, but ascending the ladder reveals a hidden wading pool on top. The pool's shell is constructed out of a lightweight resin. However, when full of water, the extra weight required the caravan's interior structure to be reinforced.
Although the swimming pool feature of this camper is convenient for a summer vacation destination without a pool, use while driving down the freeway is not advised. The water sloshing back and forth would impact the vehicle’s stability and create some waves for the swimmers inside.
The Robinson R22 is a single-engine light utility helicopter with a two-bladed rotor. Its small size makes it possible to transport the aircraft without dismantling or folding the blades. Towing requires securing the R22 rotor blades and tail boom to a truck or trailer bed, which must have rigid torsional properties to reduce motion and prevent stresses being applied to the helicopter during transportation.
The helicopter design permits take off and landing directly onto the trailer. Once this camper and trailer arrive at the vacation destination, the trailer can be disconnected, kayaks and bicycles removed, tiedown straps removed, and the helicopter is ready for flight.
Regulations vary by US state for recreational vehicles, but most do not permit passengers to ride in travel trailers. However, passengers are permitted to ride in fifth wheel trailers, like this Volkswagen, if they can communicate with the driver and an exit can be opened from both the exterior and the interior. Windows in the trailer must be made with safety glass.
The extended pod of this 1956 Volkswagen Bus provides plenty of room and comfortable seats for extra passengers and can accommodate a mini kitchen with refrigerator, sink, and microwave oven. Even the dog has room to roam around in this fifth-wheel trailer.
Travel trailers offer a convenient method for carrying everything needed for a family vacation. Many are equipped with the basic facilities found in a home, including kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping accommodations. Built for travel, most are aerodynamically designed for reducing resistance and improving fuel economy at highway speeds.
What is much less common than a travel trailer is one that looks like a house, complete with gable roof and shingles, glass windows, wood or vinyl siding, and even a front porch. Although these trailers are built without any consideration for fuel economy, they offer the owner all the comforts of a standard house, just on a slightly smaller scale.
The Volkswagen Beetle of 1960 was equipped with a four-cylinder, four-stroke, 1200cc air-cooled engine that generated 36 horsepower. By 1970, Volkswagen had upgraded the Beetle engine to 1600cc (Type 3), with an increase to 57 horsepower. Nevertheless, 57 hp is barely enough power to accelerate the car sufficiently to merge into traffic on a freeway entrance. Towing a trailer make things worse, significantly taxing the engine of the underpowered vehicle.
Wisely, the owner of this beetle built a lightweight trailer consisting of matching VW fenders to tow a small scooter. If a Harley-Davidson had been the chosen two-wheeler, an upgrade to an aftermarket high-performance engine in his beetle would most certainly be required.
Manufactured from 2001 to 2009, the Lamborghini Murcielago is a supercar with a sleek, angular design and dramatic scissor doors. The all-wheel-drive coupe is powered by a V12 engine and accelerates from 0-62 mph in a mere 3.8 seconds. Only 4,099 Murcielagos were produced during its eight-year run.
No Lamborghini Murcielagos were offered from the factory with a tow hitch. Yet, the one seen in this photo has a trailer full of goats attached to the back end, no doubt with a homemade or aftermarket hitch. The only reasonable explanation for this animal trailer scene is the owner also has a pickup truck that he uses for farm activities but when he needed to transport the goats, he discovered the truck had a flat tire.
A 2019 Ram 1500 with a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 generates 395 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque, which is plenty of power to tow a boat. But who needs it? This boat is being towed by one horse worth of power (the horse's torque stats remain unknown). While this towing configuration is clearly more fuel-efficient than the Ram 1500 (a bale of hay costs less than a gallon of gasoline), the maximum speed is limited.
A typical horse can run up to speeds of 30 to 40 mph when free but much slower when towing a trailer. Also, backing up the horse and trailer to unload the boat in the water at a boat launch is probably more difficult than doing it with a vehicle.
The sight of a rat rod on the street is unusual by itself, but one that tows a rat rod trailer and a rat bike is rare. This rig may have been seen driving from Ft. Lauderdale for the Turkey Rod Run in Daytona, where it took Best of Show at Ironhorses Church of Chop Show. The owner started with a 1934 Ford Truck that barely ran, then bolted in a crate engine with 302 heads, a thumper cam, and a Charlie Price triple-deuce setup.
For the bike, he custom-designed the gas tank and installed a rebuilt 1941 Harley-Davidson Big Twin Flathead and copper plated everything on the motor. The trailer that matches the rod and bike was built from scratch.
Riding a bicycle is good exercise and if a trailer is attached, it is even better exercise (especially if it must be pulled up a hill). Towing a boat behind a car or pickup truck is a common occurrence but pulling a boat behind a bicycle is rare. The trailer hookup requires a loosely-fit gimble joint providing the six degrees of freedom necessary for rotation along the X-Y-Z axis.
The bicycle is free to make turns and move up and down in any direction. The trailer is equipped with pneumatic wheelbarrow wheels providing the suspension to absorb road bumps. The bicycle and boat combination is not only fuel efficient, but it can also save money that would otherwise be spent at the gym on a spinning class.
During the summer, everyone has seen dogs that try to cool off by sticking their heads out of a moving car window, as the wind makes their ears flap and their tongues contort. Perhaps less frequent—and more precarious—are small dogs spotted riding in the lap of their motorcycle-riding owners. In both cases, the animals seem to enjoy the open air.
This dog, who donned goggles to make a fashion statement (or more likely to protect his eyes), seems just fine inside his car-shaped trailer behind the owner’s bike. Laws vary by US state, but most require a pet to be secured within a crate when riding in a trailer. The mini-car trailer may qualify since the opening is too small for the dog to escape.
A large high-quality LED is often used at sporting events and music concerts to provide an enhanced view to attendees. This screen can be placed anywhere and can be rotated 360 degrees, permitting the display to be seen from any angle. Completely self-contained, a diesel-fueled generator provides 28 hours of continuous operation. No external power supply is needed.
Any vehicle with a towing capacity of 3500 kg or higher can pull the LED-wall. This LED screen trailer would also be ideal for the individual who needs to leave the house but doesn’t want to miss an important football game. Just pull over to the side of the road, set up a comfortable chair, and fire up the diesel generator.
According to Livestrong: “Going green helps the environment by reducing the amount of pollution that enters the soil, water, and air. By using alternative energy sources and avoiding the burning of fossil fuels, recycling, reducing waste, and driving more efficiently, fewer pollutants are released into the environment.”
At first glance, it appears that the only feature of “going green” this car and trailer provide is the color. However, pulling a second car on a trailer to a destination instead of driving it reduces the carbon footprint by not consuming any gasoline or polluting the atmosphere. The three-piece caravan uses only one trailer and it looks cool, as well.
The golf cart is the ideal vehicle for transporting golfers and their golf clubs from the tee box to the fairway (and occasionally, through the deep rough in search of a mishit ball) and ultimately (ideally), to putting green. It is open-air, usually battery powered, and lightweight to prevent damage to grass surfaces and plant beds.
A golf cart is designed to haul two golfers and when loaded with additional passengers, the performance is significantly affected. Just ask any golfer how much slower the cart runs with four passengers. For these reasons, the light-duty golf cart is rarely seen pulling a trailer of any kind—and seldom a 27-foot boat.
Who needs horsepower when you have camel power? While humans can only last three to five days without any water in temperate conditions, camels have been known to survive six or seven months during Sahara Desert winters without drinking. According to Christopher S. Biard from wtamu.edu, “A typical camel can drink 200 liters (53 gallons) of water in three minutes. Perhaps this is where the misunderstanding arises that camels store water in their humps.”
Instead, the bulge is full of fat that acts like a spare tank of gasoline in a car. When food and water become scarce, the mound of fat provides the camel the energy it needs to keep functioning.
Samsung in Saudi Arabia transported a 1,048-ton reactor from Damman, where it was assembled, to a petrochemical plant in Shaybah. Two hydraulic trailers and ten prime movers were required to transport the massive device on a perilous 1,080-kilometer route over narrow winding roads and steep desert hills.
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Each hill was a challenge: six trucks were positioned in front of the load and four behind for the climb, switching to six behind and four in front for the descent. To ensure safe weight distribution, the trailer's suspension had to be adjusted continuously. No facilities were available along the final 500 kilometers of the trip, requiring the transport team to be fully self-supporting during the final weeks.
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