Home » This Odd Little Collapsable Trailer Seems Like A Great Idea That’s All But Extinct

This Odd Little Collapsable Trailer Seems Like A Great Idea That’s All But Extinct

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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!

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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.

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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?

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Sbzr
Sbzr
10 months ago

that can’t be good for the frame of the car right?

Ben
Ben
10 months ago

Given how far that sticks out I bet a lot of people would take out gas pumps by turning too early when they pull away. Same thing happens with RV drivers all the time because of the giant overhang in back.

BurntClutches
BurntClutches
10 months ago

This seems very similar in concept to the “Trailer-in-a-Bag” for motorcycles. I’m not sure I’d want to pull either one behind my vehicle, however.

Droid
Droid
10 months ago

“Don’t Miata owners ever have to carry bags of peat moss?“
it took me three trips to bring above ground pool to transfer station strapped to trunk of NA miata: 1-vinyl liner; 2- corrugated steel sides; & 3- aluminum frame and coping.
guys at the transfer station all came out of the office to watch the crazy guy using the miata like a pickup.
also strapped canoe onto top a coupla times…
ya i miss the miata dd for 5 years outside boston, including the winter from hell in 2015. every day was an adventure.

Mike Holzer
Mike Holzer
10 months ago

Don’t Miata owners ever have to carry bags of peat moss?

Yep, we use our 4Runners for that.

05Mil Machine
05Mil Machine
10 months ago

I can picture that little wheel doing the “shopping cart thing” going down the freeway at 75MPH….

Jakob K's Garage
Jakob K's Garage
10 months ago

Over here they were popular on VW Beetles, as it already had those protuding rear bumper brackets you could easily mount stuff on.
Also, if you mount a tow bar here, you are required to have the car inspected (and who knows what they’ll find…) , and two wheel trailers need to have their own license plate, wiring and lights. So as a loophole to get around all those things, the one wheeled ones were clever.

Last edited 10 months ago by Jakob K's Garage
Paul Kett
Paul Kett
10 months ago

Also you can put the kids in it when they start misbehaving.

Cool Dave
Cool Dave
10 months ago

Some people already struggle to remember to put their gas cap back on or stay in their lane and you want to promote the idea that they should poorly bolt a (probably not well made) ‘trailer’ to their vehicle themselves, at home, that relies on nothing more than a pivoting wheel for support?

Paul Kett
Paul Kett
10 months ago
Reply to  Cool Dave

What could go wrong?!!

Whatsanautopian
Whatsanautopian
10 months ago

what a delightful rant…yes, that thing is on, and we’re listening, jason. we’re listening.

A. Barth
A. Barth
10 months ago

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.

I use a motorcycle carrier that attaches to a car in the same way as the cargo basket you mentioned.

The amount of weight such a device can carry is dependent on the hitch receiver. On my car, the receiver is attached to (IIRC) eight points on the body and replaces something called an impact bar. Because of the substantial integration with the car, the max tongue (i.e. vertical) weight for that receiver is 900lb. The max weight capacity of the carrier itself is 500lb and the bike I carry is about 300lb so it all works. 🙂

Depending on the construction of the fold-and-roll trailer and the integration of the custom vehicle attachment, and assuming an evenly-distributed load, the hitch end would support up to 250lb and the wheel end would have the other 250lb. That doesn’t seem too onerous for the hitch.

Nic Periton
Nic Periton
10 months ago

The mounting points for these things were surprisingly solid and not an easy job. An XK120 fell into my clutches some years ago, an unfinished project. The trailer was sort of in bits but it was not, as the vendor had thought, part of the roof mechanism.
The wheel was on a bayonet type connector thingy, with wing nuts. I never got it to work, someone bought the jag,as a now driveable project and took the whole lot away. So, thirty odd years ago, somewhere in southern England there was the non functioning remains of one of these funny foldy carry things. I hope this is helpful knowledge. (No it is not)

A. Barth
A. Barth
10 months ago
Reply to  Nic Periton

All knowledge is helpful, even if its purpose isn’t obvious. 🙂

Joe The Drummer
Joe The Drummer
10 months ago
Reply to  Nic Periton

Heh. I read that last bit as though Derek from Vice Grip Garage was British.

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
10 months ago

“The closest thing I can think of that you can get today…”

Swivel-wheel trailers are still available in single- and double-wheel configurations:

https://www.cruiserlifts.com/collections/swivelwheel-transport-systems

but the collapsible feature of the Fold-N-Roll is a nice touch. It looks like it hasn’t made the list here, either:

http://singlewheel.com/

LTDScott
LTDScott
10 months ago
Reply to  Mike Harrell

I immediately thought of Pete Peterson too.

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
10 months ago
Reply to  LTDScott
Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
10 months ago

Couldn’t find out any more on this either. Neat idea. A custom hitch for each type of car sounds like a logistics nightmare, though, depending on how that customization is achieved.

A. Barth
A. Barth
10 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

I’m not sure how the suppliers do it, but etrailer.com has a long list of receivers that are customized.

(Full disclosure: I have purchased from them but otherwise have no connection.)

Ted Fort
Ted Fort
10 months ago
Reply to  A. Barth

I promise we weren’t worried that you were in bed with Big Hitch.

Last edited 10 months ago by Ted Fort
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