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A User's Guide to Buying an OpenTrailer

When the revered Dermot Healy gives advice, it's wise to listen. His words on the subject of trailers were given on the forum but are repeated here because (a) some readers may not have seen them (b) they're worth keeping for longer than the auto delete period of the forum (c) they're characteristically entertaining

1. Single seaters are MUCH happier in closed trailers rather than open ones
2. Secondhand 'branded' open trailers are usually very poor value especially if they are being sold on eBay, as they normally go for close to the price of a new one...therefore…
3. If you can afford it, buy a new open trailer (Brian James, PRG, Woodford)...then you more or less get your money back when you sell it after 2-3 years.
4. Buy the widest trailer/largest trailer your budget allows...small cars can go on big trailers but not vice versa so when you get your next car (..which you should buy from me) it will fit on. Or if you go to sell the trailer it will have a bigger market
5. Do not buy any of the 'option packs' or similar 'extras' from the trailer manufacturers - they are poor value and the stuff can be bought cheaper/better elsewhere ...but get the longest possible ramps
6. Tilt bed trailers may seem a great idea....but they are not. Heavier, more complex, more expensive, worse to tow & the benefits for loading are largely illusory.
7. Buy new trailers now (summer)..not March- April time when every one else wants 'em
8. Manufacturers will do deals if you appear with the money and don’t mess about.
9. People who make excellent farm/horse/ implement trailers ...make race car trailers which are nowhere near as good as their other kit.[Dermot wrote something more acerbic but our legal department changed it.]
10. None of the leading manufacturers show the slightest real concern about the quality of the products they produce.....just look inside their nice shiny lighting clusters and you will see the level of contempt for their customers
11. If your trailer shows any tendency to snake at any speed then either the car is not correctly loaded or the tow bar height is incorrect.
12. With regard to secondhand trailer adverts the phrases - (a) brakes need adjustment (b) brakes just overhauled or (c) no reference to brakes at all.....all mean the same brakes don't work....

And now even I am bored with the subject!

Dermot Healy

The editor adds:

I have always found two wheel trailers to be perfectly satisfactory and they have the following advantages:

  • They permit the trailer to be tilted for loading/unloading.
  • They greatly assist manouvering if you have to park in tight spaces
  • They have a natural tilt function that enables a trailer to accommodate different tow bar heights.
  • An open trailer usually elevates the race car to a reasonable height for it to be worked on. I realise that this is of no use to someone who has their car professionally maintained but for those of us with bad joints who take spanners to the oily bits it is invaluable.
  • An off the wall advantage of carrying a race car on an open trailer is that it starts many interesting conversations. Some people even wake you up to start them!

Patrick Huston

Douglas Mclay has written a superb piece on towing on the main Mono site.

Coming next in a series on paddock kit: How to Waste Money on an awning, by one who has.

The leading UK makes, in alphabetical order:

Brian James





The editorial ensemble