Hello all. Let me begin with some general thoughts.
I wanted a trailer to haul my MG-TC upon, not because I don't enjoy driving it. Rather there are often times when I simply don't have the time to drive it to where I want to be with it. It is simply a matter of expediency. I can put the car on a trailer and run interstate speeds for an entire day and arrive where I want to be with the car ready to participate in what ever the event is.
I wanted a trailer to be specific for an MG-TC. Small, easy to hook up, easy to tow, light weight, and strong. I do not like square or rectangular tubing. I worry about rust on the inside and therefore decided to build my trailer out of channel and angle steel. I wish I had the ability to build this same trailer out of aluminum, but alas that is simply beyond what I can do right now. Since this trailer with the car only weighs 2460 us pounds, it is light enough for what I wanted anyway.
I built the trailer as low and as narrow as I could to keep the center of gravity low and to make it easier to tow and to park. I wanted to be able to keep my car on top of the trailer while in the garage. The development where we live will not allow us to park anything except 1 pickup out side. Motor homes, trailers, etc. must be inside or at a remote storage location outside of the development.
I made the tongue of this trailer removable, similar to a removable "receiver" type hitch. This was again so I could park in the garage and not have the trailer in the way. I made the trailer a tilt bed since I did not want to carry ramps and have to put them on and off every time I load or unload the car.
The basic frame for the trailer is made from 5 inch channel steel for the sides and 2 inch by 3 inch cross members. I made the basic frame the same length as the distance from the center of the front wheel on a TC to the center of the rear wheel on a TC. When the car is loaded the front wheels are centered on the first cross member behind the front and the rear wheels are likewise centered on the first cross member forward of the trailers rear.
In order to keep the overall trailer as narrow as possible I used a new axel with a 4 inch drop. The spring centers are 60 inches. I used 15 inch wheels from a front wheel drive car as the offset made the side of the tires almost exactly the same as the ends of the axel bearing caps. Again this kept the outside dimension of the trailer as narrow as possible. The over all width came out to 81 1/2 inches. This allows me to park the trailer in a single car garage. With the tongue removed the trailer is just over 12 feet long. Only a few inches longer than the TC.
If anyone out there intends to copy this trailer, please let me know and I will be happy to either talk with you on the phone or exchange email with you with additional information and dimensions.
Please note that the trailer is not done yet. I have started wiring, but have not finished. I also have started painting, but have not finished that either. My plan at this point is to finish the wiring then disassemble the trailer and paint the parts, then reassemble and touch up as needed.
One last note. I hooked the trailer with the car to our 2001 Corvette and drove it over to the local truck stop where I weighed it. The weight on the axles was 2460 pounds. The car was full of fuel and otherwise empty. There will be a slight weight increase when I add the wiring and paint. There will also be a slight decrease when I grind and round corners on the steel and make the trailer look a bit more finished.
Note that I used a scissor jack to tilt the bed. I only used the screw and the center parts. I made my own arms. This was so I could make the jack clear the car and lift the car enough to avoid the use of ramps. This took a bit of experimenting to get it right. Clearance and amount of lift were the two major issues.Note: Since the tongue is removable I also needed to make the wiring removable. I am making a cable with a plug at both ends like I use in the truck. When I remove the tongue I can also unplug the wiring from the trailer.
Note: When I load the car I leave the drivers door open. There is not sufficient clearance between the bottom of the door and the top of the fender to open the door when my weight is in the car. The car stops on the trailer well before the door arrives at the fender. Once I get out of the car I can close the door.
Note: I have Firestone tires. I used 5 inch channel steel for the tracks that the car sits in. This is a very tight fit. I may eventually change my tracks to 6 inch channel steel, or use a pair of 2 inch by 3 inch angle to make the tracks. I do like the fact that the car can not shift around any when it is on the trailer. I also like the fact that the car steers itself when loading.
Note; The car and trailer are backed into one of our garages here. I plan to store the trailer in the garage with the nose to the front of the garage. The nose of the trailer is secured to a post secured to the floor of the garage. This will allow me to tilt the trailer while parked in the garage and drive the car on and off the trailer with out moving the whole thing out of the garage. The plan here is to keep the trailer inside and utilize that garage space for both the car and the trailer. I still want to be able to get the car out easily.
The following was added February 11, 2007
The axel is 81" from tip to tip with 60" spring centers. I used off set wheels so the outside edge of the wheel is almost the same as the tip to tip of the axel. One could build this trailer two or three inches narrower, but I am quite happy with the 81" axel. The outside to outside width of the trailer measured at the fenders is just a fraction over 82" and that goes in and out of the garage, exercising a bit of caution, just fine.
The basic frame is a ladder type construction. The side rails are made from 5" channel. If I was doing this again I might use 6" channel rather than the 5". It would add some weight to the trailer, but my tires fit very tightly into the 5" and would probably be more comfortable inside the 6". The cross pieces are made from 3" X 2" angle. The side rails of the basic frame are 60" center to center. This places the springs directly below the side rails. The over all length of the basic frame is 8' 1 3/4". I bought two 20' sticks of the 5" channel and had a 12' piece cut from each. I can not explain the extra 1 3/4". I used it but it was probably not needed. The cross pieces of the basic frame are evenly spaced 24" apart with the 3" side vertical and the 2" side horizontal. The last cross piece at the back of the trailer is 23 3/4" so the ends matched. Hope that is not as clear as mud. If it is email me and I will try to explain it better. When building the basic frame I welded it together, then welded in some small L shaped brackets, then drilled and bolted the brackets to the side rails and the cross pieces. Basically each joint is welded and bolted with 3/8" bolts.
After building the basic frame I bolted the tracks (12' X 5" channel) to the basic frame. I tried to get it so the front of the front tires stopped just behind the front uprights and so that the center of the front tires and the center of the rear tires was sitting directly above the front and rear cross pieces of the basic frame. I found that 16" from the front of the track to the front of the basic frame cross piece accomplished this. The center to center of the tracks is 46". I would suggest you try this on your car before you attach the tracks. I found some variance between the width between the front tires and between the rear tires. The uprights at the front of the trailer are 15 3/4" high.
The center of the axel is located 71" back from the front of the rails. This puts just a bit over 175 pounds on the hitch. I would suggest that before welding the axle in place that you mock it up with the car on the bed and measure the weight on the tongue before final locating of the axle. I chose to drill holes and bolt my axle brackets in place rather than welding them. I used grade 8 bolts for this.
The tongue is @45" long overall. I bought a receiver tube from a local trailer supply place which was 18" long. That placed the front of the receiver just a couple of inches ahead of the front of the trailer. Please note that the tongue is removable for parking in the garage. I have had some comments that the tongue looks weak, but I believe it is OK. Of course I can not prove this other than by using the trailer.
Now, let me be very clear on this. I built this trailer and believe it is a good design for my car! However I am not an engineer and make not claim or warranty to the effect that the trailer is a safe design! If you choose to copy this trailer you will do so at your own risk!
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
That's about it. If anyone has any questions please email me.
January, 24, 2014: I finished this trailer several years ago. I am very happy with it and it’s performance over the miles it has traveled. My theory about trailering a TC is simple. I prefer to drive the car, however sometimes distance and time and conditions interfere. An example is a trip Anne and I made to El Dorado, Kansas. The distance was about 550 miles one way. It was on this trip that I did the page on driving the Flint Hills and Prairies! It was summer, very hot, and our time was limited. While driving across Western Kansas the temperature was in the high 90’s! The humidity in Kansas is always high. It would have been a very long trip in the TC. Instead we were in the 2001 Corvette with the TC behind us. The object for me with these cars is to drive them. I would probably not have driven the car on the Kansas trip so without the trailer the Flint Hills trip would not have happened. Time, distance and conditions would have made me decide to leave the TC at home. That is the simple truth.
Since building the trailer it has traveled to California, Kansas, Texas, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Wyoming. The most recent trip was to the GOF in Carefree, Arizona. The trailer always does as it should. There have been no issues with it at all. Since I first painted it with Rustoleum the paint has deteriorated to the point that I am planning to have it sandblasted and repaint it soon. I have also modified the scissor jack several times to allow more clearance with the front of the car.
My best wishes and good luck if you decide to build a trailer for your TC.