Shadow trailers and a VW towing a “fifth wheel”

I’m working on recreation vehicle related web pages right now at Haw Creek and, just like anything else of interest, sometimes I come across some strange stuff.

From 1970s ads:

shadow trailerFifth-Wheel Trailers usually hitch onto a pickup-truck cargo bed, but this new Shadow design from Harmon Industries, Warrensburg, Mo. tags onto a passenger-car rooftop. A removable steel plate, bolted to brackets along the roof gutters, take advantage of the roll-resistance built into modern roofs to firmly anchor the trailer hitch. Great maneuverability and easy tow handling are claimed for these rigs. Models of 18, 23, and 27 feet are being produced, and unfinished units are available for extra savings. Shell for the Shadow 18-foot Mini will start at about $1700; price is $6500 for the completed 27-footer fully equipped. Driver reports indicate the design is aerodynamically suitable and does not buffet at speed or in strong winds.

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4 comments… add one
  • Rummuser Jan 29, 2014

    Fascinating! If only we had trailer courts in India, I would plunk for one.
    Rummuser recently posted…Going To Seed.My Profile

    • Mike Jan 30, 2014

      I don't think the concept lasted very long. I think there were structural issues related to where the hitch was connected.

  • Ted Quick Feb 27, 2015

    Yes, the Shadow trailer didn’t last very long, and I understood at the time that there were several times that the tow cars suddenly became convertibles… Not sure about that though. In any case the energy crunch probably ruined the market.
    In any case I was working on a better version of the same concept which was independently invented by my father, Robert G Quick. He called it the Hyrider, but it was structurally sound, since the hitch was a permanent roll bar that ran up inside the center pillar of a 4 door sedan. Had a steel base plate that was U-bolted front and rear by the lift pads.
    Other than that the trailer itself was aimed at full time living, and the front half was an elevator platform raised and lowered hydraulically. That gave a full height trailer 24′ long when parked and 12′ long behind the car (plus clearance) when moving. I still have pictures if anyone is interested.
    Anyway we were scuttled by the energy crunch. since the oil tap was turned off in March just after we started selling stock to set up production, so we had to close down.

    • Jim Sanders Mar 19, 2015

      That’s too bad you had to shut it down. I think the idea is really neat, I’d like to see something like it become more available. It’d be nice to pull a trailer with a smaller car.

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