Moving on its own wheels an unlicensed car or uninsured vehicle is now illegal, unless for the short journey to the nearest MoT-testing place for test purposes, yet enthusiasts frequently need to transport such cars, whether a racing car being taken to a meeting, a new purchase on its way home, or an uncompleted vehicle en route to workshop or body-builders.
Van hire can be expensive, so some time ago we drew your attention to Piggy-Back Trailer-hire. Regulations governing the use of trailers are pretty complicated and likely to he more rigidly enforced, as rally driving Chief Constable Gott has seen fit to remind us. So even those who possess their own trailers will find it prudent to take them off the road at times, for servicing and re-equipment. The advantages of hiring a legally viable, as-new, insured trailer from Piggy-Back need no underlining.
Since we first mentioned this ambitious hire scheme we have had an opportunity to put it to a practical test. The largest Piggy-Back four-wheeled trailer, of 17 cwt., 33 sq. ft. capacity, was booked and three vintage cars of average wheelbase effectively transported on it over a total distance of some 350 miles, one at a time, naturally. The clever aspect of Piggy-Back towing is the use of a universal yoke which enables most cars, providing they do not have wire wheels, to be rapidly equipped for towing, as a conventional tow-bar is obviated. This yoke rides on bearings contained within plates which bolt to the car’s back wheels after the nave-plates have been removed, using extensions of the wheel-retaining studs or bolts. The yoke has square-section sliding arms which are adjusted to the required width and then locked. A trailer rides better attached thus than from a towbar, It can be detached from the car by releasing simple catches at the wheel-pick-up centres and lifting clear. The use of this patented yoke enables Piggy-Back to adapt 90% of modern cars for trailer towing, whereas to fit them with a tow-bar would cause much delay and possibly damage.
We presented a Chrysler 180 to them and, although it took rather longer than the advertised “matter of minutes” before we got away, due to electrical conundrums, the process was quick and efficient. The car’s wiring is tapped within the boot by self-piercing connections to give brake lights, flashers and rear lamps on the trailer, the wiring being instantly detachable by a pull-out connection on the main lead. The registration number on your car is painted on the trailer’s number-plate, and off you go.
The trailer we used had retractable nose-wheel and rear legs, overrun brakes and hand winch, and easily dropped loading ramps. It had been newly painted but had a “flat” on its nose-wheel’s solid tyre which made hand manoeuvring difficult, and a frayed winch-cable. These are scarcely valid criticisms, however, because brand-new low-loaders were being added to the fleet at the time. The trailer, laden or unladen, towed extremely well even at 10 m.p.h. above the legal speed limit, and its rear lamps were reassuringly bright. Ropes for lashing down the load were provided. An inadvertent test convinced us of the strength of the axle attachments and yoke linkage. It was on paired Dunlop and Avon tyres; a spare wheel is provided if requested.
Full instructions are provided for hirers and other types of Piggy-Back trailers available include little 7 cwt. and 8 cwt. open utilities and runabouts, a 9 cwt. 105 cu. ft. luggage van and a four-wheeler lockable Apartment van to carry 15 cwt. in 170 cu. ft. of loading area. Details of how much household furniture you are likely to be able to get into these different-size trailers are issued and low-rate contract hire is available. Rates normally range from £2 to £4.25 per day, “our” low-loader being charged at £3.75 per day. The Piggy-Back headquarters are at 107, Mortlake High Street, London, SW14 (01-876 4441). They normally close at 6 p.m. and are not open at week-ends but arrangements can be made for returning trailers at a somewhat later hour. There are depots at Manchester and Birmingham and probably, in time, delivery and collection at clients’ addresses will be possible. Although the racing season is coming to a close Motor Sport readers will no doubt still have plenty of occasions to use trailers and we expect Piggy-Back to be quite busy around the time of the Brighton Run! It is advisable to ring the obliging and charming Mrs. Preston at Mortlake and book well in advance of requirements.—W. B.