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Old 09-13-2004, 04:51 PM   #1
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1938 International/1936 Curtiss Aerocar

Over the weekend I went to a huge classic car show in Frankenmuth, MI. I was surprised to see the Aerocar in the pictures below even though I had seen it on the street before.

This 1936 trailer was invented by Glenn Curtiss around 1927 and built by the Aerocar company of Detroit, MI. It is oak framed and uses wire for tensioning. The exterior is masonite and cloth covered; there is no chassis. The hitch must have been the original 5th wheel, it is an aircraft tire and wheel mounted horizontally to absorb road shock. Each Aerocar was custom built; this one is 22 ft. long, the original cost was approximately $5000.

The puller is a shortened custom built 1938 International D Line. The trailer was originally pulled by a 1936 Plymouth coupe which was not up to the task. It has a 4 speed trans and 2 speed rear axle, 93 hp at 3400 rpm with 181 ft. lbs. or torque at 1000 rpm. The body was custom built, steel panels over hardwood framing.

Originally chauffeur driven it would seat seven. The rear seat folds down, side windows have pull down blinds, there is a small sink built into an outside compartment. The whole unit was powered by a Delco generator with an intercom between the trailer and truck.

The overall length of the truck and trailer is 35 ft., total weight is approximately 5 tons.

Pictures of this restoration really do not due it justice. When I saw this on the street it was 2 years ago and over 100 miles from the show, so it is not a "trailered" vehicle. It is owned by Ken and Lana Hindley of Union, Ontario, more pictures and info can be found at Mr. Hindley's site, these are just a few clips I took from a video.

John
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Old 09-13-2004, 05:14 PM   #2
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very cool..."oh james...pull over...i think we will dine at white castle tonight..."
norby
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Old 09-13-2004, 11:56 PM   #3
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Really neat. Looks like it is in really great shape.
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Old 09-14-2004, 06:29 AM   #4
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A whole new meaning to the term "Fifth Wheel"

Is that an actual pneumatic tire and wheel assembly that the hitch is rotating on (John's (74Argosy24MH) third picture above)?

It appears as if there are rollers around the perimeter of the tire, and the trailer is locked solid onto the rim of the tire.

What ingenuity!
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Old 09-14-2004, 06:55 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by 87MH
Is that an actual pneumatic tire and wheel assembly
Better yet it is an actual aeroplane tire and wheel (the guy was an airplane designer, go with what you know). The tire is clamped solid and has a ball in the center.

John
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Old 11-05-2004, 04:41 PM   #6
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Thumbs up

I saw the same vehicle on a special I watched on the travel channel. The program was about unusual and older trailers that belong to the Tin Can Tourists. Interesting program, lots of neat trailers.

Lowell
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