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Trail’s End: Trailers for the Trailbound

Posted in Features on January 5, 2019
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Photographers: Four Wheeler Staff

Forget, for a moment, the behemoth boxes behind big rigs and the platform following your tow hitch, routinely laden with landscaping tools or a bass boat. Instead, think about the trailers you’ve seen beyond the 4x4 trailhead. We took a trip back to August of 1989 to some of our favorite one-off trailbound trailers.

Approaching Michael Vanvakaris from behind when he was towing might have made you think you were seeing double. You would have been mistaken though, as he only had half of a Bronco in tow. Michael’s trailer was born from a ’71 Bronco that had suffered a front-end collision. The banged-up Bronco was sliced behind its doors—body, frame, and hardtop—all with a plasma cutter. Beneath the half-Bronco went a custom-fabricated solid axle, leaf springs, and Gas-a-Just shocks. The trailer rolled around on 14x36-15LT Pro Trac tires, 15x10-inch chromed Appliance wheels, and look-alike chrome hubs. Two-tone DuPont Centari Ford Metallic paint and stripe tape made sure the trailer matched its ’71 Bronco tow rig, while Michael’s custom diamond-plated toolbox/icebox rested on the trailer’s yoke.

Bill Davis’ trailer was named “Horse’s Ass,” and similar to Michael’s, the trailer matched his 4x4 pack mule, “Pack Pony,” which was a Mustang body on a Bronco frame. Continuing with the theme, Bill sought out wrecked ’65 and ’66 Mustangs from a junkyard and lopped off the tail sections. After building an underframe and custom hitch, Bill sourced the frontend from a ’58 Ford pickup, and he used that to build the trailer’s suspension. A combination of leaf springs, coil springs, and shocks absorbed the bumps. The seamless joining of the two Mustang trunk sections (which were expertly welded, ground, and blended together) and the twin trunk lids were the most striking parts of the trailer. Both lids were fully operational and allowed access to the cargo area. Bill’s artful trailer sported 15x8-inch Western chrome spoke wheels, 32x10R15LT Courser Radial RT tires, factory chrome trim and taillights, and was painted with Imron Bay Blue Metallic paint to match the tow rig.

Both trailers, though they might look like shiny showpieces, spent their fair share of time on 4x4 trails, following dutifully behind the tow rigs and making sure basecamp was fully stocked with camping gear.

Tell us about your favorite trailer, whether it is a custom-built, mirror-image of your tow rig’s backside or a heavily stocked adventure box that keeps you supplied for extended trips away from the pavement. Snap a couple of high-resolution pictures and send ’em our way at editor@fourwheeler.com.

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