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towing a vintage trailer with my 54 Bel Air

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I have a 54 Chevrolet Bel Air with 3 speed manual. I am wanting to find a vintage travel trailer to restore and tow behind it. I don't want to get to big of a trailer so what size (length or weight) should my little 6 cylinder, 3 spped Chevy be able to pull? One concern is the lack of trailer brakes on most of these old trailers so I eitehr want to keep the size real low or add trailer brakes.


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Do you plan to use it as a camper or only as a show vehicle?

You will have great difficulty stopping a 1,000 pound trailer with drum brakes without trailer brakes. When you look at a trailer, take bathroom scales and check the hitch weight. You want the hitch weight to be about 10% of the trailer. Get some one of the same weight to stand on your bumper to see how much the car will squat. You could need to add air shocks or a class 3 equalizer hitch. Vintage trailers will be about twice the weight of a modern trailer.

A light weight trailer like a 'Teardrop Trailer' would make a nice show trailer. There is a large camping club of Teardrop Trailer owners and the have been sold since the 1940's.

I pull a 400 pound 1937 Mullins trailer behind my 6 cyl 1931 Hupmobile with Steeldraulic mechanical brakes. The brakes will lock the tires with or without the trailer. I always give the car ahead 3 to 4 car lengths in town and more on the highway. This causes everyone in a hurry to pass me.


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For show, I would look for one with an 8 to 10 foot floor. A 15 ft trailer will actually be a 12 ft as the 3 ft hitch is included. In Ohio you are permitted to put antique plates on a trailer and register period plates. A real find would be an Airstream "Bambi" which is the smallest they built, about 13 foot.

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  • 2 months later...

I tow my 1946 Tourette teardrop with my 54 BelAir on a regular basis for camping excursions.


I did add Monroe air shocks, the dual propane tanks make a pretty heavy tongue weight - I should have stayed with the single tank arrangement. VERY easy to tow due to the aerodynamic shape of the camper.

A teardrop would be a good option to consider, it has a queen sized bed inside as well as a killer kitchen (plus water tank, ice box, storage, etc.) in the back.

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