By on August 4, 2013

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Personal opinion time here: I hate trailer queens. Let me clarify the term “trailer queen” before anybody gets the wrong idea. Trailer queens are vehicles that leave the safety of a garage, enter the safety of a trailer and head out on the street in an enclosure towed by another vehicle.

I saw a very nice car being shoved into a covered trailer this weekend and it just kind of set me off on the topic of trailer queens. Don’t get me wrong, there are many other vehicles beyond broken-down cars that should be towed behind another vehicle. A barely street legal quarter mile ride should be trailered for practical reasons like: microscopic gas mileage, finicky track motors, an earnest desire on the part of their owners to remain in one piece.

A theoretical situation might be a 10 second-or-less car that has just enough safety equipment like lights and wipers to render it a street legal vehicle. It also might have wheelie bars and laundry on the back end because, more than anything else, it is a quarter-mile track car. Who among us could resist a golden opportunity to unleash unholy high octane hell on some punk in a tuner car at a stoplight? There is no way that I, in a situation like that, could resist the stellar opportunity to make a 700-plus-horsepower-at-the-rear-wheels car dance on the street and teach valuable lessons in humility to computerized four-banger cars and their cocky owners.

I am weak and so would many car guys be, if we had access to that kind of awesome force under our right foot. Better to trailer this kind of temptation to a show.

The other side of the equation would be a very early antique vehicle with a top speed of 20-30 mph. They have their place on the road, but not on freeways. They would need a helping hand down a major expressway and that help would be a trailer ride. Nothing wrong with that. After all, if your car was built before the Interstate arrived, it’s probably unfair to expect it to be happy there.

My main problem is with the owner — no reason to say “driver”, right? — of a resto-mod or well restored car that is easily capable of freeway speeds and deserves a better fate than solitary confinement in a trailer. That is just plain stupid and owners of these kinds of trailer queens have no soul because they have clearly treated their rides as mere financial investments. I highly recommend that they set their trailer queens free and either drive them or sell them to a grateful new owner; the kind of owner that will drive them on the street. They should sell the cars and invest in a stock portfolio because they have a cold-blooded financial approach to the car hobby when they lock their cars into a trailer and suffocate any legitimate reason to own a vintage ride.

Most vintage rides are like horses. What I mean by that is this: you shouldn’t own one if your main game plan is to keep it locked in a pen, then shove it into a smaller pen and drive it around behind a truck. That is the way I see it, for what it is worth.

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90 Comments on “It’s Time To De-Throne The Trailer Queens And Put ‘Em On The Street...”


  • avatar
    west-coaster

    One of my favorite “non-trailer-queen” stories came from Pebble Beach, a number of years ago.

    Jay Leno had just spent a substantial sum having a grand Duesenberg restored. It was trailered to the concour d’elegance, where it took Best in Class. When the show was over, he tossed the trophy into the back seat and drove the car back to Los Angeles.

    As the person who relayed the story to me put it, “He took that car from 100 points to 95 points in all of six hours, but that makes him a true car enthusiast.”

  • avatar
    Summicron

    “you shouldn’t own one if your main game plan is to keep it locked in a pen”

    Easy to say when it’s not your money, time or marital stability that went into restoring something.

    We have several superbly restored pre-1960 vehicles in my neighborhood. Beyond fair weather processionals around local streets they get trailered everywhere. Why further expose all that beauty and work to the morons and derelict roads out there?

    • 0 avatar
      3Deuce27

      A ‘BIG’ second on that Summicron.

      I like to drive my rides, how else can you have a tangible, visceral, experience, and history with a car But, if you build a car to show, that is its function until such a time as the bloom is off the
      Rose, or priorities for it change.

      I once finished another 27′ ‘T’ roadster about 3:30AM and screwed the dealer plates on, hooked my Mullins trailer to it, threw my sleeping bag, tent, chairs, folding ladder, EZ-Up, cooler, tools, jack, and ditty and camera bag into it and headed for the Bonneville Salt Flats. Spent five days there and drove it to Las Vegas, then to Colorado through the national parks, from there to Sedona through more national parks, then to Santa Barbara and up the Cali coast, home.
      I was on the road a month and racked up over 7,000 miles with the only trouble, a broken throttle return spring. So I drive them, but that was a $15,000 car not a $150,000 to million dollar car.

      You can amass a lot of hours prepping a car for points show/concours. Exposure to the road, like the comment about ‘J’s car above, can subtract a lot of points even if there is no damage. And this is only part of the investment. There are thousands of hours and dollars invested into points show cars. It’s a hobby for the owners, like any other, and they need to maximize points. For builders, its a business and you need to have your product displayed in its best light, cuzz it pays. I encourage those in the ‘Hobby’ of points show, to trailer their cars with the best trailers available, and that means a 3-axle trailer or a chassy hauler.

      Some people judge me for even liking old cars, or polluting the air driving them, or for racing cars, even for having a collection of cars and bikes. So do we really need to get on that side of the fence with the do nothing yahoos, judging somebody who ‘needs’ to trailer his car? Another thing, a lot of points show cars are not licensed for a number of reasons.

      Another reason to trailer. People tend to gravitate their vehicles to where they are looking, I have had too many close calls and one incident where a person looking at the car I was driving, drove into the side of it. This car had just had a $125,000 rotisserie restoration, and was on its test drive to check mechanicals before delivery to its owner. About $20,000 and two weeks later, it was finally delivered. I only do test drives these days, early in the morning.
      It took almost a year to settle the issue of who was libel for what. The settlement didn’t cover me fully or my late delivery penalties. And the owner missed the national CLC show causing me to miss out on the opportunities the exposure of a restoration by us would have brought from that show.

      So my feeling is, some cars are built to drive and show, and some for points shows, which are different then your typical local car show. Cars in those kind of shows are subjectively judged by categories, Best Paint, Best Upholstery, Best Custom, etc.

      Bottom line… To each, his own. Trailer or go, you shouldn’t be judge on such a superficial criteria, especially when it is your treasure and efforts on the line.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      +3 My money, my car, I’ll enclose it in glass if I want to and charge you just to look at it… Now, let’s talk about how you spend your money and we’ll see if I approve

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      +1. All my cars are drivers, but I’d one day like to have a place in the collection for show pieces.

  • avatar
    cybercharlie

    I agree whole heartily that cars are meant to be driven, not just sit there. If you want an art piece than paint one and save yourself the money. But to spend 10′s of thousands of dollars for a car with an engine and wheels and not go anywhere is a complete waste to me. If it’s worrying about crashing or damaging the car, guess it can be fixed or a good excuse to build another one.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      10′s of thousands are one thing…but what about the 6 and 7 figure cars? Since I posted earlier about wanting to drive a Ferrari 250GT California I had to run to the store to get an oil filter for the wife’s ride. On the way back a cell phone talker in a Buick nearly crunched my new Frontier. As bad as that would be I am sure it would be multiplied were it a truly great and historic auto that I had either a lot of blood, sweat, and tears or 6 figures in (or both). Not sure I would trust something like that to the drivers of Radcliff, Kentucky. Perhaps trailer it to the track?

      • 0 avatar
        Compaq Deskpro

        http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/16/crash-of-ferrari-250-gto-exerts-a-heavy-if-imprecise-toll/?_r=0

        This has happened already. Most likely he forked over a few million to that company that restores classic Ferraris and drove it home.

        • 0 avatar
          snakebit

          IIRC, the 250GTO was on the LeMans course with other historic race cars, and somehow, an errant resident was able to blow past the barricades with his daily driver and enter the road course unchallenged. According to the Ferrari owner, he expected all of the access roads to be manned and cut off to the public, and this resident car came out of nowwhere. Somewhere near the track is a French police patrolman with a dunce cap looking for work.

  • avatar
    raph

    I say it depends, if your going to competitively race the car, even a street car, trailering it to and from the track is a prudent move.

    The closest track of any sort near my AO is about 70 miles and I’d definitely hate to foot the bill for a tow from the track if I was going to make a max effort and something broke.

    • 0 avatar
      jrhmobile

      Exactly.

      As someone who has broke his sturdy and simple ride autocrossing in the parking lot at New Jersey Meadowlands, with little more than a hand-carry toolbox, a couple changes of clothes and a 350-mile trip between his busted car and his home garage in Maine, I can personally testify to Sutherland that I think his pontifications are way off-base. And I guarantee the writer of this post wouldn’t want to hear the terms I’d use to describe them.

      It’s easy to pass judgment when your ride — and your ass — isn’t on the line. Or the side of the road, for that matter. If you think it through, there are lots of reasons why it makes sense to tow your prized toy when taking it far from home. Even when that sweet ride is legally registered, plated and insured.

      • 0 avatar
        snakebit

        I agree: towing a race car and towing a workable classic car are two different issues. Around here,our motto is not to go so far away from home that you can’t afford the tow home. That being said, the article photo of the Cadillac truck towing a streetable Corvette C6 is hilarious and sad at the same time. Let me get past the lunacy and financial waste of a Cadillac truck, and ask why one buys a late model Corvette, a sports car afterall, if not for the fun of driving it. I’m not looking for an apology for choosing a bad example of a photo: apparently, someone actually treats their Corvette this way, ergo this photo.
        And, I know there are a contingent of, and I’ll single out British car owners in the States as I’m one of them, who wonder if the brake booster will fail and leak or the electric fuel pump will suddenly stop or they’ll be stuck in traffic and their baby will overheat, who don’t have the confidence to travel far without a trailer. To them I say check with your friends who have similar cars, find out the common weaknesses, update them on your car, maybe carry spares if possible, pack your mobile and ATM card, and hit the road. It’s a car and it was made for that.

  • avatar
    hubcap

    Honest to goodness race/track cars and street cars are two different things and I share the author’s sentiments in trailering the former.

    I wouldn’t buy a street car that I didn’t intend to street for the simple fact that I get a thrill out of driving.

    Similar arguments are being made concerning vintage airplanes. Some say they should be restored and placed in museums for the delight of future generations. Others just want to experience them in their natural habitat.

    One thing’s for sure. If I owned a P-51 it would definitely NOT be a hangar queen.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    Thirty-five years ago, I raced SCCA Showroom Stock for a while. For most of my competitors, the race car was reserved for racing, never driven on the street, and arrived at the track on a trailer. My race car, an Opel/Izuzu coupe, was a four-season daily driver.

    On Friday before a race weekend, my wife and I loaded it with tools, four extra mounted tires, clothes, food and camping gear. We drove it to the track and camped out for the weekend. Race prep at the track consisted of unloading everything and taping the headlights. Roll bar and competition seat belts were permanently installed. After the last race on Sunday, we loaded up again and drove home.

    A mechanical failure or wreck severe enough to immobilize the car would have meant finding a way to get ourselves and our stuff home and, depending on whether it was worth repairing, the car, too. However, that never happened. Even it if had, the admittedly substantial expense would have been far cheaper than buying and maintaining a tow vehicle and trailer.

  • avatar

    Another not-so-early antique that cannot handle freeway is a Willys’ Jeep. Driving 45 mph in it is suicide. I knew a guy with one who drove it to a local biker bar, but if it were a militaria meet, on the trailer it went.

  • avatar

    BTW, this whole debate is the same that airplane restorers have to face. It was especially painful to hear about a crash of 1926 Dragonfly in Australia, which was the last example remaining, and of course it was nasty because 6 people died. It’s not like those pesky P-51Ds that are all around :-)

  • avatar

    Agreed. I am the current caretaker of a ’65 E-type, and I do my best to drive it as often as practical. Mind you, with vintage British, that can be a challenge, but I’ve found the more you drive it the better it gets. I carry a sign in the car that I place in the window whenever I park it that says “It is OK to touch this car.” I let people sit in the driver seat. I even let people I judge competent drive it now and then.

    I take it on a week-long road trip once a year, and not only is a ton of fun to drive, it instantly breaks down social barriers everywhere I go. People who would never even wave now come up and chat with me. I have had chance encounters with noted car collectors in the middle of nowhere and have been brought to warehouses filled with multi-million dollar collections and given personal tours… all because I was driving something unique.

    I don’t worry about break downs because I carry tools, and any part is available online and can be overnight shipped to me anywhere.

    GOT ONE? DRIVE IT!

    • 0 avatar
      vaujot

      I like the attitude you show with that OK to touch sign.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      I saw a complete stranger’s DeLorean from the road and pulled into his driveway, and instead of chasing me away, the guy let me take pictures of and sit inside his DeLorean.

      What a cool guy.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I’m the same way with my Spitfire, which admittedly is a whole different ball of wax from your Jaguar. I let friends borrow it, I use it for pretty much anything. After 18 years of ownership I am not very precious about it.

      • 0 avatar
        halkyardo

        This is one of the reasons (aside from financial) that I am hesitant to start a restoration on my cosmetically scruffy but mechanically sound 1956 MGA. As it is, it has so many dents and scrapes (not my doing) that a few more really don’t matter, and I can take it out and enjoy it, and park it on the street without worrying of what will happen to it. I worry that, if I put countless dollars and hours into making it a perfect specimen, I’ll worry about it too much to enjoy it.

        That said, my father was a great role model for simply going out and driving a classic. When I was young, he had an immaculately-restored Jaguar XK150. After bringing it home from its first safety inspection after the 10 year restoration, he misjudged the approach to the garage, and put a big scrape down one side. A few words were said, but it didn’t faze him one bit. He’d regularly commute in it, race it, and generally use any excuse to take it out. There was even one memorable camping trip that we took in it!

        In my eyes, that’s how a classic should be – not some trailer queen that only moves under its own power a couple of times a year.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    Fortunately around here people drive their vintage iron rather than trailer it.

    Granted, the vintage iron goes away when the weather gets bad, but I can’t blame these people for not wanting to drive Chevelle SS396s in the snow.

  • avatar
    Flybrian

    To paraphrase Oldsmobile in the mid-90s, Its your money…do what you want with it.

    That said, this is why I would personally prefer to own a clone of an notorious high-dollar muscle car/etc over the real thing: a fraction of the price, 98% of the attention, and if something God forbid happens to it, you didn’t lose a quarter-million-dollar ‘investment.’

  • avatar
    April

    A few weeks back I had a similar conversation with a twenty-something guy friend of mine.

    Besides the crime of neat cars that will only be toted from car show to car show and never really driven he lamented the lack of affordable older performance cars. Most of the decent cars have been bought up and over restored by the Viagra crowd in a vain attempt to relive their youth.

    I really didn’t have an solution for him.

    :/

    • 0 avatar
      Mark_MB750M

      I guess it depends what your friend’s idea of “affordable”, “performance”, and “decent” are. British roadsters like krhodes1′s Spitfire or an MGB are out there in the $5000 range, C3/C4 Corvettes can be had for $10k, and he could get into a Porsche if his budget goes to $20k.

      A 20-something and a 50-something are at different spots in the their earnings curve, so it’s not realistic to expect them to be able to afford the same things. When he’s at the Viagra age, he’ll hopefully be able to have the things that the current cohort does.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        I just saw an immaculate ’76 Vette for $10,500 today, and given how beautiful the car was, it would be well worth that price.

        Funny how rubber bumpers and smog equipment drop the price of a C3 by 30 grand…my uncle paid 40k for a ’68 327 Vette a few years ago.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          That sounds good for a clean ’68 and high for a clean ’76. Even an exceptional early smogger, 5 grand feels about right.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            I dunno man, I don’t think the rubber bumpers drop the value THAT much…

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Between the lo po early smogged models and the iffy cross fuel injection of the 81-83, I wouldn’t pay much for any Vette 73-83 with original equipment.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            The unloved ’73 to ’83 Corvettes, V8 Camaros, El Caminos or similar muscle, make for cheap thrills if you know where to unlock the fun. You’re looking at adding a ‘limited slip’ or locker with 3.73 or so, gears. Then rebuild the engine with higher compression pistons and whatever emissions friendly, CARB approved mods your state allows. Headers? An overdrive trans would complete the package if not so equipped. You end up with a light weight performer and the satisfaction you built a kick ass classic for under $10K that looks/sounds bone stock, but puts a smile on your face every time you mash the gas.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Also an excellent approach if you have access to the extra capital for mods, shop/tools, and can acquire the expertise.

            Personally unless your in love with the C3 I’d go C4 and I’d tinker with it a bit since I’m not a fully fledged mechanic capable of doing serious work on my own. If you are, then a more advanced project may be in order.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            If you’re not comfortable doing basic mods yourself, any backyard mechanic is well versed in 70′s and 80′s tech with junkyard upgrades. And you’re not doing the rebuilds yourself. Most everything is plug-n-play, like a custom stereo system. You can’t leave that stock either.

          • 0 avatar
            Lt.BrunoStachel

            @28 & Denver.”The unloved ’73 to ’83 Corvettes”

            I would love to have an 83 Vette! Uh you 2 clowns do know they didn’t make 83 Corvettes, don’t you?

      • 0 avatar
        April

        My friend is into Detroit metal. :)

        Anyway, not many 20-somethings can afford a $10K Corvette. Plus there are few equivalents out there today where it is possible to buy a decent nine year old 1969 Camaro convertible (307 V8/Powerglide) for $900* ($3200 today adjusted for inflation) .

        I almost did for my first car but went with a 1977 Chevette instead*.

        (I was too practical for my own good)

        o_O

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          Oh believe me, if I had 10k, I would definitely buy that ’76 Vette…

        • 0 avatar
          Summicron

          “o_O”

          Jeez, there’s another one! Flyswatter!

          Starting to be all over like damn earwigs.

          • 0 avatar
            April

            ?

          • 0 avatar
            3Deuce27

            ““o_O”

            Jeez, there’s another one! Flyswatter!

            Starting to be all over like damn earwigs.”

            LMAoFF! Thanks!

          • 0 avatar
            Summicron

            Thanks, 3Deuce27. Apparently you’ve put up with these critters.

            @April

            Your internet symbol reminds me of a bug that is All. Over. woodsy Wisconsin in the summer & fall called an earwig.

            They’re about an inch long (locally) and have pincer-looking things growing out of their head and butt. Those in the rear are larger.

            Harmless, just creepy.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        Then you add the filters of “extremely rare” or “last of its kind” and the vehicle maybe just garaged permanently.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I’ve heard people whine on about such things too, and you know what? It’s just BS excuses for not having the car they’ve always wanted. There are plenty of great vintage rides available in any price range.

      Nice LS6 Chevelles trading for 100k? So what? They were never particularly affordable cars. There are still plenty of Malibus available for under 10k.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    I don’t think this is so black and white. Dude with a garden variety 66 Mustang? Sure, drive it, well insured of course. Dude with a Tucker…Probably want to trailer it. Then there are the exceptions. If I owned a Ferrari 250GT California I would probably be best served with trailering it, but I would want to drive it if for no other reason to always be able to look at it.

  • avatar
    JuniperBug

    I don’t know why people get so bent out of shape. If you’re the owner of a vehicle, you should be able to drive it – or not – when you want. For those who enjoy keeping their cars pristine, they get to have the satisfaction of owning a pristine car which I presume is a good investment. For those who love to drive, the former group ensures that there will be a nice supply of good cars for a long time to come. It’s win-win. Part of the appeal of the Miata to track guys is that in addition to its nice balance for the money, if you wad yours up at the track, for a few thousand dollars you can find another nice one that a retiree used only on nice days and spent more time washing than driving, take the style bar off of it, bolt on the fancy go-fast parts from the wrecked car, and continue racing with minimum worry.

    That said, the folks who make a “lifestyle” out of trailering their motorcycles to various meets, dressing up in their costumes, and then pretending that they’re hardcore riders strikes me as silly. Doesn’t mean I’ll try to stop them from doing it, though; I’ll just laugh when they talk about who “has a real bike” when I put more mileage on my sportbike in a weekend than they do in a season.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    I’m in a bit of a disagreement with the OP. Something that never gets used seems rather ridiculous, but it really does not take too many hours of use to degrade a better than factory under hood appearance. I personally would sparingly use my car even if restored to concourse condition but I certainly respect those who’d rather not. But driving it 300 miles to a car show? No, I would not do that. But it would certainly be used as a weekend stress reliever.

    April, I usually agree with your posts, but not this one. Not a damn thing wrong with “over-restoring”. I was at a car show last week and the owner of a gorgeous ‘Cuda actually had factory defects built into his 100K restoration. Crooked jack sticker, runs in the trunk paint, overspray on the headers. Why anybody would do that is beyond me. I’m still a decade away from being the “Viagra” timeframe in my life, but sad to say, that age group is the one with the bucks – and desire – to buy and restore these cars. I don’t know your age, but I still have my first car, and it serves very well as a time machine and it does a good job of recalibrating my head…

    • 0 avatar
      April

      To replicate lousy build quality boggles my mind. It is subjective but I was talking more about going beyond “perfect” some restores are. Something that never existed from the factory.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Runs in the paint is going too far, but factory ‘orange peel’ is a must. Did Cudas come with factory headers? Over spray on them would be a ‘mistake’ if supposedly “factory”.

  • avatar
    Darrencardinal1

    Adam Carolla talked about this recently, as in why he does not drive his Miura.

    In a nutshell, its a pain. Its a finicky vehicle that always has little ticky tack things going wrong.

    Not to mention the thing is worth $1 million. Would you really drive a car like that if you had it?

  • avatar
    AlfaRomasochist

    We have 2 vintage cars – a ’71 Alfa Berlina, and a 1960 Nomad. Every time we take them out for a drive – which is often – I end up feeling like I made somebody’s day. Last month we did a 2000+ mile California road trip in the Nomad, and everywhere we went people were smiling, taking pictures, introducing themselves, telling stories, etc.

    Done right, vintage car ownership can have the opposite effect of modern car ownership. Modern cars tend to isolate us from our fellow travelers, where vintage cars bring people together.

  • avatar

    Meh. If I had a car that was worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, I’d be pretty reluctant to put it on the street or in a parking lot where it could be subject to being hit and the like. Sure, you can make sure it’s insured and the like, but you still have to deal with the fact that you let a rare/valuable car get damaged/destroyed.

    Besides, most daily driving isn’t particularly fun. My morning commute involves something like 25 traffic lights. Doing it in a sports car would probably be more of a hassle than enjoyable.

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    Not just trailer queens, but garage queens. My neighbor bought a Ferrari convertible last year. Drove it for maybe a month or two and now it just sits in the garage everyday like most Ferraris, Lamborghini’s and other similar cars do. WTF is the damn point? I just don’t get the point of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a damn car and then putting a 1000 miles or less on it a year?

    Also, if you have to worry about someone hitting your car or something going wrong with it, then you can’t afford it. I respect people like Rowan Atkinson aka Mr. Bean who drive the crap out of their super expensive cars. If it crashes, he fixes it and keeps on driving it. A car is not a painting, it is meant to be driven.

    There is very wealthy man in my town that owns a hundred or so collectible cars, Rolls Royces, Duesenbergs, everything I can think of, you name it and he drives them all and all the time. There is another guy like him in town with a huge collection of Lamborghini’s, Ferraris, Vipers and so on and he on the other hand does not drive them. He drives his Escalade or Mercedes Benz SL or Corvette while the others stay in his garage.

  • avatar
    Syke

    If you hate trailer queens, don’t go near a motorcycle show. At that venue, we’re talking light enough weight that they can be pushed on and off a trailer. And leave the inside of the exhaust pipe clean enough to eat off of. A gentleman who regularly shows a complete set of ’59-70 Triumph Bonnevilles in the PA/MD area immediately comes to mind. None of them have ever been started since the day the restorations were completed.

    In our hobby, the usual answer to this is that, in competition, the winners at the end of the day have to be driven up to the podium to pick up their trophy. If not announced beforehand, it often causes some serious anger.

    Like the custom Harley show in Harrisburg, PA about 15 years ago when the practice was new. Turned out that 8-10 of the top prize winners couldn’t receive their trophies – because the engines were empty cases. Well, why spend money on useless things like pistons, etc. when the judges won’t see them?

    • 0 avatar

      I remember competing in the Rats Hole Chopper show during Daytona Bike Week in the 80′s. In order to roll the bike onto the boardwalk for display you had to start it. Seems someone the year before won their class with a bike that had hollow cases as you mentioned. One of the other guys in his class raised hell stating it was a motorcycle show, not a sculpture competition. I think the starting rule should apply to any motor vehicle show.

  • avatar
    thanh_n

    “There is no way that I, in a situation like that, could resist the stellar opportunity to make a 700-plus-horsepower-at-the-rear-wheels car dance on the street and teach valuable lessons in humility to computerized four-banger cars and their cocky owners…”

    Until said owner of the turbo’d CRX or AMS Evolution teaches a valuable lesson in humility to the cocky owner of the 700+ horsepower rear drive car. Open your eyes and look at things from both perspectives man.

    • 0 avatar
      Jellodyne

      Win or lose, if you’re racing you risk crashing your precious vehicle. Which is the one and only point of that paragraph. No other perspectives needed.

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    Odd, but hot button topic. Truth is that people restore older vehicles for many different purposes. These range from restoring million dollar cars for museums to making a cheap, humble daily driver.

    My own DD is a 15 year old Panther restored to an almost new condition, with an even better than new suspension. It is perfect for my needs, and it cost very small money.

    A museum quality restoration or preservation of a significant vehicle really IS an investment. The only reason to drive it is once in a while around the block to make sure its fluids and soft bits are still good.

    You covered track cars, but there is a great deal more. You have the local car show, Cars and Coffee and drag strip stuff – restorations, restomods, hotrods, low riders, donks and cars built for a specific drag racing class. These are just for hobbies. They aren’t supposed to make purely economic sense. Drive or not drive? Who cares?

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      Can “smooth” Panther bits fit under a “box” Panther?

      Odd place to ask, but I’d love to get a 88-91 Grand Marquis and give it much better suspension…

      • 0 avatar
        Compaq Deskpro

        Fun fact: the shocks and springs are the same on Panthers from 79-02. Lots of stuff is shared.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Yes and no there are different spring rates between box and Aero for the fronts from 79-91/92 and the rears could be swapped between 79-12 though again there are different basic rates and loaded heights between the 79-90/91, 91/92-02, and 03-12. Yes 2012, even though we couldn’t get a 2012 Panther Ford made some for the middle east.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Yes you could put a Box Panther on an Aero chassis. Ford did it themselves. The 1990 Town Car was the first Aero car but it was on the old Box chassis and used the 5.0. That body carried on unchanged for 1991 but was now sitting on the new Aero chassis with the new rear suspension and the partially new front suspension with revised geometry.

        The basic Grand Marquis body shell introduced in 92 was carried through to the 2012 Crown Vic. So yes you could bolt a Box body on an Aero chassis either the 92-97, 98-02 or 03-12. The one potential problem would be connecting the Box’s steering column to the 03-up rack and pinion, there may not be factory parts to make that work. However I’m certain you could put something together with the offerings from Borgeson.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          I didn’t mean a body swap, I just meant suspension and brake upgrades…

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Then no, despite the fact that the bodies swap between the box and aero frames, the aero frames and their suspension is different. They break down into 4 different versions.

            79-90/91

            91/92-97 got an entirely new rear suspension and everything up front but the lower control arms and steering linkage was new. The frame was also stiffened considerably at the same time.
            98-02 got another entirely new rear suspension and more frame tweaks to accommodate it.

            03-12 got an entirely new front suspension and hydrofromed frame though it kept the body mounts in the same places and used the same rear suspension geometry and mounts to hand a new 4″ wider rear axle.

            The only thing that you could swap to a Box is the steering box from a 92-02 car, to get the quicker ratio but w/o the appropriate PS pump, steering wheel sensor, computer and EVO you aren’t going to gain the feel of the Aero cars. You could use the Aero springs but they too won’t really work right as their installed heights and spring rates were designed for the new frame and geometry.

            You can up the performance with some Addco sway bars and by having Eaton custom make you some springs or finding some police fronts for a Box car and cutting them to get an appropriate, non off-road capable ride height. You’ll still be stuck with the floppier frame though and drum brakes out back. You could get the larger drums from a police or tow package car though for a little improvement there.

  • avatar
    Maintainer

    Want to know something? Sure you do..

    Most of the people that bitch about “trailer queens” have never built a car to that standard and the majority of the bitchers have never built a car to begin with. They don’t have a clue as to how hard you have to work to get a body smooth enough to paint it Black or how to keep from Tiger Striping Silver.
    Until you learn to weld your own body panels, mold your own fiberglass and shoot your own paint you have no beef with “trailer queens” or their owners.

  • avatar

    The actual truth is most trailer queens were built by somebody else and I speak from thousands of encounters and interviews with owners at car shows. I encountered one scenario where a guy with a long career as an auto body pro made a stunning restoration of a 1965 Chevy Impala his last hurrah in the trade. I asked him if he planned to drive it a lot and he looked at me like I had asked him if he planned to push his wife into prostitution. He was more like your assessment than another retired body guy who made himself a show-winning custom hot rod as his last job and planned to drive the wheels off it as a retirement hobby. Both were incredible vehicles done to the highest possible level by talented tradesmen but these two guys went in two different directions on the trailer queen philosophy. I like the second guy’s attitude because both were meant to be driven in my opinion.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I personally just don’t see the appeal of owning a vehicle you never drive. I feel at that point it is more of sculpture than a machine.

    I give the trailer queen owners some big credit for personal restraint though. If I had a Terraplane or Mach 1, I’d be driving it all the time!

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      If I had a Terraplane, I’d be driving around dressed like a 30s gangster!

      Because, well, if it was good enough for John Dillinger, it’s good enough for me.

  • avatar
    3Deuce27

    There seems to be a big misunderstanding about show cars not being driven, because they are trailered to events.

    At a typical Concours de Elegance or points show, the car is driven to its place on the grounds, the judges judge the cars. After, there are at least one or several over the road, local touring events where the cars are driven. Then they return to the show grounds.
    On the awards day, they are driven by the awards podium to get their trophy. Then, they might get more local drives/tours in before being put back in/on the trailer or hauler and taken home. The point is, that a lot of so called ‘Trailer Queens’ aren’t, they are driven, even raced.

    Before the show they are prepped for points consideration. Loaded into a trailer for hauling to the show, which may be thousands of miles away, plus the return. Once judged, they are free to get a little road wear and go on a tour, some don’t, but not many. The owners want to drive their cars, it is a lot more fun then a static display, just like ‘J’ did with his Duesy, once he had the trophy, he drove it home, but I’m sure he had a chase car/hauler backing him up.

    All points shows have a large vehicle driving component to the event.

    For example, ‘The Pebble Beach Motoring Classic’, no trailer queens here, at least not on this run… maybe next time we will use the trailer for our million dollar car. > http://www.pebblebeachconcours.net/pages/3024

    Or this event, the classic and highlight of the Pebble Beach weekend, the ‘Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance’ presented by Rolex. Want to see million dollar plus cars(Trailer Queens) on the road, pick an empty spot along the tour and get your camera ready. > http://www.pebblebeachconcours.net/pages/about-events-driving/index.htm

    I recently had the once in a life time pleasure of going on tour in a 1912 Buick Phaeton. A pretty fast car for the day at 65MPH, but it only had brakes on the rear, steel backed leather band brakes. So speed had to be managed carefully. Fade was excessive. And double clutched downshifts were the order of the day. It was ‘trailered’ to the event.

    And then we have the historic race car events. Cars are trailered to the event, then get taken out in turn three by another half million plus car. Guys will be guys and there going to race… no matter!

    So disabuse yourself of the notion, that the cars see no road time and are not enjoyed as dynamic mechanical and physical works of visceral art.

    Now some custom cars on the custom & Hot Rod show circuit, don’t get much or any drive time in, until the annual circuit is over. The life span of these cars on the show circuit is about one year. After, they are driven or sold.
    Some remain another year on the circuit representing a product, but that never lasts for long, and then, it is usually sold. They go to new owner who shows it locally and drives it, occasionally. The new owner pays top dollar for a national award winning car, as much as a half million dollars.

    http://www.aaca.org/
    http://www.aaca.org/Meets/judging-guidelines.html
    http://www.aaca.org/images/meet_brochures/2013_Judging_Guidelines.pdf
    http://www.pebblebeachconcours.net/pages/3006

    http://www.rodshows.com/gnrs/
    http://www.rodshows.com/gnrs/show-history.html

    http://www.portlandhistorics.com/

  • avatar
    Eyeflyistheeye

    Nobody has the right to tell me how I should and should not enjoy my car and I have no right to tell anyone else how they should or should not enjoy their car assuming that nobody’s safety is being put in danger and no laws are being broken.

  • avatar
    3Deuce27

    Had enough! Tried to be informative and a gentleman regarding this non-issue, but enough is enough!

    ‘It’s Time To De-Throne The Trailer Queens And Put ‘Em On The Street’

    Bottom Line… Catchy, too cutesy title with no substantive substance, that appeals to the base prejudices/jealousies of some, while masquerading as a subject worthy of discussion.

    The presumption of some, to tell others how to manage their business/investments, how to manage ‘their’ hobbies, and usually proffered by someone who has no equity in any serious endeavor, no skin in the game, is specious, and in poor taste. What kind of mind comes up with this BS?

    I hate too use cliches, and, I don’t know you, J Sutherland and cohorts… but ‘Get a life’.

    It’s unfortunate if I offend, but this type of judgmental gobshite, galls the hell out of me, and should offend others of principle.

    Let it fly ‘J’, but I see you on this subject as a person tenuously standing on one toe in a pile of your own excretion, with your other foot up your arse. Unfortunately it didn’t get in place soon enough to stop you from your excremental effusiveness on this baseless non issue.

    You can take comfort by the company you keep, seems their are plenty who want to tell the rest of us how to comport our lives. What is acceptable according to the enlightened, few… or is that benighted!

    • 0 avatar

      3Deuce, it appears you have attempted to gain intellectual high ground on me with excessive use of words like “effusiveness”, “excremental” ,”comport” etc. I do understand the ten dollar words very well, but I choose not to engage in any attempt to beat people up with an Oxford English dictionary when I write my material.

      This is more of a hot button issue for you than me, so perhaps I should clarify my point a little for you and others: my quarrel is not with museum pieces and rarities like Tuckers-my problem is with a guy who has invested maybe 50-70k in a vehicle of little note(my unnamed example early in this op-ed was a resto-mod Tri-Five that would have been a very drivable street car.

      I have been personally involved with restorations that ran at this level of investment and never once did I consider trailering it to a show. Just my thoughts as I watch people like you take shots at me with an eloquent use of the written word. You have mastered the English language and use it as a weapon to beat people over the head when you disagree with their opinions. Maybe it is time for you to exhibit a little emotional self-control and master some sense of decorum over a minor oped piece.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        Hey, it’s better to have people yelling at you than it is to have ‘em skip the piece, right?

        I respect everybody in this discussion so please be nice to each other :)

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Late to the party, but I despise trailer queens, too.

    But:

    If I had the money to spend on a restoration, would I do the same? I can’t answer that. Thing is, some of these cars are in better-than-new condition, so perhaps that’s the difference. That’s not me. I’d restore a car to be driven daily if I wanted, so I’d have a lot less money invested.

    Anyway, if it’s not my money, who am I to complain?

  • avatar
    autojim

    Not a fan of “push cars” at all, but with most of the major marque clubs requiring demonstration of operation of the car as a part of concours judging now, there are fewer of them around.

    Once upon a time, back in my high school days, I drove my daily-driven ’65 Mustang the 100+ miles from Tulsa to Oklahoma City for a large Mustang & Thunderbird show at a local Ford dealership. It rained on us on the way, but we got there, cleaned up the cars, and put them on display. What should back up in the spot next to me but an enclosed trailer, which disgorged (on a winch cable) a ’64-1/2 coupe that looked showroom-new.

    Okay… then we learn that in the nuances of this show, the 3 or 4 of us with daily-drivers would be in the “64-1/2-66 Stock” class up against a decidedly hot-rodded car that started life as a 6-cylinder but now had a built-up 302 % Imron paint (remember when Imron was the hot stuff in paint? Yep, this was then) & a bunch of other aftermarket goodies, and this showroom-fresh resto. Well, what are you gonna do?

    So I get to looking at this fresh resto, and under the hood, something bothers me. Wait… there’s no intake manifold gaskets. No valve cover gaskets. I look underneath. No oil pan gasket. No front cover gasket. No fuel-pump gasket. No transmission pan gasket on the C4 automatic. Come to find out, this thing had NO fluids in it whatsoever. Someone spent (this was 1985 or 86) something well into 5 figures building a 1:1 scale static model of a ’64-1/2 Mustang. And I had to wonder why, particularly when the owner came up and was an officer in the Tulsa-area MCA chapter. Even back then, he could never show that car, in that state, at an MCA event, because it wouldn’t come close to passing the operational tests required for judging. (The funny thing: this same guy gave me a bunch of crap about “not knowing anything about Mustangs because you’re just a 16-year-old kid” when I finished my car and brought it out to the club’s monthly dinner meeting. At the time, between working on my own car and several others to earn money for parts for mine, I could quote dimensions & torque specs, part numbers, and current retail & jobber prices for most of the car from memory. My car has never been in an MCA meet and probably won’t in my lifetime. It’s wrong, but then I built a driver, not a concours car.)

    I own an enclosed trailer. I use it to haul race & autocross cars around. My autocross car is street-registered and -driven, but when I go to a race (particularly a National-level event), there’s just so much STUFF that I take with me that just won’t fit in the car or even in the car + a small tire/toolbox trailer. And if the car breaks (it’s happened), I have a way to get it and me home. The trailer is a handy tool: even with my street-driven car, I can do pre-race prep at home under easy-to-work-in conditions, put it in the trailer, and arrive at the event pretty much ready to go. Makes the day go easier.

    But it’s also nice to drive that car on the street. If you can put aside the punishing ride from the autocross suspension I put in it, it’s quite enjoyable, even on longer trips. I drove it the 1500 miles from greater Detroit to Houston when I moved here.

    • 0 avatar
      snakebit

      “not knowing anything about Mustangs because you’re just a 16-year-old-kid”. I don’t want to tar and feather all MCA members for one idiots actions, but if this dude was an MCA member, he was extremely shortsighted. Just where did he think the future of MCA was going to come from, aging-out retirees about to lose their driving privileges? It’s hard enough to get young people interested in older cars, we should be encouraging anyone who shows any initiative, and especially folks who like ’65-66 Mustangs-without sounding partisan, the most accessible and parts-supported classic car I can think of at this time. I’m into Sunbeam Tigers, and a half dozen of the most avid and knowledgeable guys in the various clubs and user groups are 30yo and younger, and we’re fortunate to have them onboard.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I honestly don’t care how people move their cars about. If they want to trailer their cars to shows or the track, so be it. This talk of what *should* or *shouldn’t* be driven is stupid if it’s not your car.

    However, if you drove that no-glass fender-less roadster 3,000 miles to the show in April, I’m giving you some mad props though.

  • avatar
    crtfour

    I have a friend that spent $50,000 restoring a ’67 Corvette and that figure doesn’t include the price he paid for the car. it’s so pristine now that he’s truly afraid to drive it. But he says he actually prefers cleaning and polishing on it to driving it anyway. To each his own I guess.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    I believe it’s no one but the owners right to decide how they keep their car, if they want it trailered then good for them.

    There’s a guy a couple miles down the road that drives an old pre 1930s car, too old for me to judge year, make, or model, although I’d say probably model A?

    I’m sure it was restored at some point but now it had the ugliest top with mildew and everything else from being his daily driver, perhaps original engine, you can still hear it putting along, but at some point it was restored, but it surely hasn’t been up kept very well as far as appearance.

  • avatar
    slow kills

    I read a wonderful article in a motorcycle machine regarding ‘bike shaped objects’ that never moved. A car not driven is merely an object shaped like a car. A car propels itself. This is what automobile literally means.
    A car not driven anywhere but to and from loading ramps and storage/display areas is a sign of perverted fetishism that has replaced the purpose of the car. It is very masturbatory.
    As with all things, if you can’t afford to use it properly, you really can’t afford it period.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Some cars, it’s been said, are works of art. I’ll bet everyone here has said that at one time about some car. If anyone has ever owned any works of art you know you have to care for them in a way that preserves it (that’s why museums hang all the pretty pictures on the inside). My father collects Civil War guns and rifles… Who wants to be the first to criticize him for never firing them?

    • 0 avatar
      Summicron

      “It is very masturbatory.”

      Is there a time threshold here?

      Like, if you have 2 or 3 vehicles and don’t drive one of them for awhile, how long a while before mere titillation becomes flagrant self-abuse? Are fluids involved?

      God! Not on the paint, I hope! Or… Eeewwww…the GLAAAASS!

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    While I agree that cars are absolutely meant to be driven, there is some reason required. For example, the road my house is on is the main drag leading from the local community college. You can count on many (I’m talking 3-5 if not more) collisions a day on the road from cars rear ending each other. I hate taking my daily driver out on that road during the day. If I had any sort of vintage, rare, or special car that I needed to move in that time, it would definitely go on a trailer. If I was taking the car to a vintage racing even, I’d probably trailer it. I’d want to know for sure that I would get to experience the car on a racetrack, and I would hate for something, whether an on road collision or some sort of mechanical malady that can’t be fixed roadside, to happen that would keep me from really getting the most out of the car on a racetrack.

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    Well, remember there is a paradox at work here. For a really, really extraordinary car, the only thing that has to remain intact is the vin number. Otherwise, its not art. Its a car. Sure, its your money and you get to do what you want with it, like make an ass out of yourself.


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