Sometimes I feel like my head is so full of automotive obsessions it’s hard to keep track of all of them. Lighting minutia, taillight variations, air-cooling, packaging, trunks, instrumentation, and on and on. For whatever filthy reason I’ve always been fascinated by novel solutions to carrying lots of cargo in cars never meant to do so, and I’ve just stumbled upon an incredible mid-century tool for just this purpose. The ad I found even shows one of these things being used to let a Triumph TR3 tow a go-kart. And, get this, it collapses into a lump the size of a golf bag when not in use! For those of us that don’t care about golf, that’s like folding into a salami that’s about four feet long and ten inches in diameter. A TR3 using one of these to tow a kart is basically one go-kart towing another go-kart! So what is this incredible thing? It’s a Fold-N-Roll!
That’s the ad I saw; all online searches for Fold-N-Roll trailers seem to be for pop-up camping trailers, which this very much isn’t. The ad shows these things on a Corvair, a TR3, and a 1957 Ford Thunderbird with some exciting jet-engine-style aftermarket taillights.
When unfolded, the trailer looks like it’s, what, four and a half to five feet long, by about three feet wide? It’s a decent-sized little bed that can hold, according to the ad, a quarter ton! That’s 500 pounds of whatever, towed by a freaking Triumph TR3!
It has one wheel at the rear which looks like it swivels, and the trailer is mounted at two points to the rear of the car, so it’s more of an extension to the rear of the car than a traditional trailer that would hinge at the hitch point. That should make this thing a lot easier to maneuver with.
I love that it collapses and can just ride on the back; I guess the wheel gets stored in the trunk? Also, it even has taillights! Damn, this thing is clever!
The closest thing I can think of that you can get today are those cargo baskets that plug into a tow hitch, but those are far smaller and don’t collapse out of the way. Plus, with no wheel for support, they put a lot of strain on the hitch assembly.
The amount of flexibility this could add to your use of a tiny sportscar is amazing to think about. What if you love the feel of a tiny British sports car like an MGA, but sometimes also see discarded barcaloungers or desks on the side of the road that you just have to have? This is your answer!
Also, I just kind of love anything that employs those accordion-folding frame systems. Maybe it’s the result of a lingering childhood fascination with these things.
Is nobody interested in stuff like this anymore? Don’t Miata owners ever have to carry bags of peat moss? Couldn’t something like this help free us from the tyrrany of the SUV? Is this thing on?