Building a racecar is all good until you have to take it racing for the first time. It's stressful leading up to a track day, stuff needs to be prepared with to-do lists that read “New parts to be installed, needs a new tune, major service- change all fluids, pack tools, bring fluids”. Many either forget or don’t think until a mate or the girlfriend asks “how are you going to take it there?” and it's “oh, crap, FML!” followed by a mad rush to find a car trailer and a tow vehicle.
She is a run of the mill, heavy duty, 2-tonne, double axle, braked car trailer. September 2016 saw her inaugural tow transporting Simon’s Levin to Wakefield Park Raceway, Goulburn, 2 hours south of Sydney. The old girl did a solid job transporting the Levin coupe but was in desperate need of TLC and low car friendly mods.
Issues that needed to be addressed:
Onto the makeover.
First on the list was lowering the guards. We took a measurement of the car (NSX) with the lowest door height-to-ground clearance. Then we compared it to the height of guard to trailer bed and the tyre to guard clearance. The welds were then cut from the outer and inner guards separating the two panels.
With the outer guards off, we moved onto measuring the lowest possible mounting position for the guard and the amount of travel the leaf spring had when fully loaded. For this we use Simon’s R32 GTR, its dimension and weight is a snug fit. Factory stock the car weighs approximately 1400-1500kg meeting the maximum weight limit allowable for our trailer. We mark 3 points; static height- with no weight, fully loaded height and our new guard position-adding an inch of height for suspension travel. It's not the hella flush guards we wanted, but it does allow us to open the doors of a relatively lowered car.
We clamp the outer guards, cut off the excess inner guard and begin welding them into place.
A subtle yet luxurious mod. No more awkward jumps through a window but a dignified door exit.
The top loading of old tyre rack via an empty trailer bed was a cumbersome and difficult exercise. To make it easier and user-friendly we came up L-frame design. This put the wheels lower to the ground, away from the car making easier to load and unload. The last piece of the puzzle is an adjustable horizontal brace to suit different wheel sizes ranging from 14“ to 18” and will complete the tyre rack base.
Instead of servicing the old drum brakes we ditched it all and went for new items.
An issue we faced with the old girl is her inability to transport a lowered car without removing the front bar and splitter. The issue was her ramps when attached to the trailer bed created a high angle. This would catch the front bar of a lowered car before the wheels had any chance to roll onto the ramps. To overcome this, we built a secondary pair of removable ramps to lessen the angle and be more low car friendly. Trigonometry to the rescue, thank you high school math!!!
We started off making the secondary ramps from steel square tubing and quickly realised they would add too much gross weight on the trailer once done. What else is light, strong and cheap?
Timber! They're light, cheap, somewhat crude and less elegant than the steel ones but work just as well.
Sanding sucks, even with power tools it takes forever! The uneven surface of the checkered plate steel doesn't help either. We sanded, wire brushed and then sanded some more.
First to get painted were the old trailer ramps.
Overspray isn't a big deal when the whole thing is going to be sprayed the same colour.
Next to get painted was the new tyre rack, we make sure to spray the hard to reach places first before moving onto the easy stuff.
Spray painting the trailer bed is an awkward CrossFit like exercise. You start from the front, crab-crouch backward, with an out-stretched arm waving a spray gun (that weighs a couple kilograms) at a constant rate from left to right, all the whilst maintaining your balance making sure not to spray paint your feet.
Two layers of paint and she's ready for the next track day.
And for the pièce de résistance...
It aways amazes us what elbow grease, paint, and TLC can do to old stuff.
She had seen better days and came to us quite run down, but we saw potential that many would just not be bothered with-especially a trailer. Yeah, we could have left it, towed with it as-is but seeing the potential and converting it into something great takes hard work, time and usually doesn't make any financial sense but we wouldn't have it any other way.
It's just what we do.