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Topic: historical question: sedan roof mounted 5er hitches

Posted By: tibbitts on 03/25/08 08:11pm

Did anyone here ever use one of the roof mounted 5er hitches back in the 70's? I suspect they're no longer around for a reason, but I came across a picture of one (mounted on the roof of an Eldorado, I believe) when I was tossing out a Chiltons RV Repair manual from the late 70s, and was just wondering. Seemed a bit precarious given the hefty size of the 5er (by 70s standards, that is - nothing like the behemoths of today) in the picture.


* This post was edited 03/25/08 09:37pm by tibbitts *

Posted By: Golden_HVAC on 03/25/08 10:14pm

An interesting camper picture that I saw once was a camper that set into the back of a 60's station wagon.

I think I saw a fifth wheel hooked up with a hitch in the trunk ofa full sized sedan, but did not see one attached to the roof.

One of the earliest fifth wheel campers was built by the Curtis Company - the airplane designer, who converted a sedan to tow his custom built fifth wheel with a hitch in the trunk of the 1935 sedan. As I recall, it looked like a aluminum skinned RV.

It would be interesting if you could scan in the picture, or take a picture of it, and then post it.

Posting a picture is easy - once you have it on your computer, then put it onto the internet, like where you can start a free account.

Then post the URL in one of the messages, with a height of about 470 and width of around 550, no more than 600 wide to fit on one page.


Posted By: BobJoh on 03/25/08 10:35pm

I remember our Caterpillar service rep. driving a '36 Chevy coupe that had a short stubby pickup bed replacing the rear trunk lid for carrying heavy tractor parts. Had seen pictures of a like Chevy with a gooseneck travel trailer hooking into this pickup bed. Also, mid'50's seen at different times driving on the SantaAna freeway before it was a four lane freeway driving a truck with a short wheel base and fifth wheel hauling a long trailer which was the office of a (I think he was a oil co. owner, Gilmor??) so it was a mobile office. I've seen one picture of a station wagon with a fifth wheel mounted to the roof and towing a 5th wheel trailer. How many remember the truck slide in camper on a Jeep. Slid in three feet through the tailgate and had a cab over bed area like a pickup camper but the added rear area had its own axle with 16" wheels supporting the long rear overhang like a tag axle. Or the other one was a long nosed pickup type camper that mounted on the roof of a station wagon and had a short standup/in area behind the rear bumper.

* This post was last edited 03/26/08 10:27am by BobJoh *


Posted By: Karen 'n Tom on 03/25/08 11:44pm

I remember being at the Saginaw County Fair here in Michigan, and seeing one of the roof mounted fifth wheels. The sales pitch was the ability of the tow vehicle to turn in any direction effortlessly for backing up and parking. I have no recollection of brands, size or anything, but that image of the fiver hitched to the roof of the car stuck with me. My children were very small, so it must have been the early 70s.


Karen 'n Tom
2007 GMC Sierra HD2500, extended cab, 6000 v8
2008 Cardinal LE 30RK

Posted By: 74discoverer25 on 03/26/08 12:30am

i have been quite a car nut since very little, i used to know the model year of most any car before they all started looking the same and not changing from year to year, and i do miss those days, but back to story, i remember being at illinois state fair and there was a booth, it had a fiver hitched to the roof of a 72 mercury marquis brougham, i thought it was cool, i have always remembered that.

steve t.
74 discoverer 25'
p-30 454
sydney the half blue heeler

Posted By: kenboat on 03/26/08 06:41am

I remember seeing a commercial when i was a kid for those. They showed the car being able to circle around under the nose of the fiver.

They were also advertising a weight dist hitch. They had a front wheel drive El Dorado pulling the camper without rear tires. They didnt show it trying to turn.

I was starting to think i had imagned that stuff.


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Posted By: NorthernNeck,VA on 03/26/08 09:05am

I was at the 1977 American Quarter Horse World Finals in Tulsa, OK. and there was a guy there driving a Caddy and pulling a 2 horse trailer with the gooseneck plate attached to the roof of his car. He seemed pretty confident with the set up but the 2 horses looked pretty nervous!!!

Jimmy & Kathy
Northern Neck, VA.
2013 Landmark San Antonio
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Posted By: tibbitts on 03/26/08 07:45pm

Sorry, I tossed the Chiltons RV Repair Manual without scanning the picture. But I'll bet somebody else out there has one. The pic is on the page just just inside the front cover. It was a mid-1970's edition. It was about a 6x9" book.


Posted By: mowermech on 03/26/08 08:28pm

tibbitts wrote:

Sorry, I tossed the Chiltons RV Repair Manual without scanning the picture. But I'll bet somebody else out there has one. The pic is on the page just just inside the front cover. It was a mid-1970's edition. It was about a 6x9" book.


You threw away a mid '70s Chiltons manual? Those things are going for $10 to $25 in antique stores, maybe more on eBay!!
I vaguely remember an article about those hitches in either Popular Mechanics or Mechanics Illustrated, seems to me it was in the '60s, but I could be wrong. As I recall, they were not recommended for anything other than sedans or station wagons, 2 door or 4 door, and they were located right over the "B" pillar.

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Daily Driver: '06 PT Cruiser Turbo
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Other toys: a pair of Kawasaki Brute Force 750 ATVs.
"When seconds count, help is only minutes away!"

Posted By: BobJoh on 03/26/08 09:54pm

Did a Google search for fifth wheel on sedan roof and found ref to US patent # 3887220 with a text discription but don't know how to look at it????????

Posted By: skipper on 03/28/08 09:45am

Saw one advertised in PM around 1950 mount and trailer came in package Trailer was called Shadow ,hitch mounted rail to rail (gutter0 PM had a story on them and was shown on cover.Entry level over fifty years

99 DCTD 3500 5spd quad line-x Pac-brake. boost,egt,fuel gauges /26ft 95 American star 5thwheel w/1slide

Posted By: StlHeadake on 03/28/08 01:13pm

I went looking for some of these vintage photos too. I didn't have MUCH luck in finding exactly what I was looking for. However I fount these ">n-US[emoticon]fficial%26sa%3DG]vintage RV pics

Wait til the weight police get wind of this: ">n-US[emoticon]fficial%26sa%3DN]Overloaded?
This one is VERY neat (for it's time)

That's all for now...

My wife and I, our daughter, three wonderful little boys, and two chocolate labs Jazz and Bailey ;^}

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Posted By: Glen41 on 03/28/08 01:48pm

I am gonna add a ditto to the "Shadow" name. I remember seeing a kind of little news clip where the car was doing real tight circles and the front of the car actually went under the front of the trailer. The hitch was on the roof of a sedan so it was about centered between the front and back axles.
It was too long ago to remember any dates.

Doing my part to keep America's highways cluttered up.
2006 Chevy 3500 D/A DRW Prodigy, AirBags, 34 ft Travel Supreme

Posted By: sirdrakejr on 03/28/08 04:12pm

The Shadow was the trailer in question. Their ads showed them doing a full 360 degree turn under the overhang of the trailer. That was about the same time that E-Z-Lift (or Reese) had an ad running with an Oldsmobile Toranado with the rear wheels removed. The hitch supported the trailer and the rear end of the car once they were hooked together. Fun time those days.
Any one remember the ads in TL for the truck camper with the scantily clad females that almost killed them but DID kill the TC company? I think it was a Open Road TC.

2011 Palomino Maverick 1000SLLB on a 2004 Dodge Quadcab CTD Ram3500 SRW long bed equipped with Timbren springs, Stable Load bump stops, Rickson 19.5" wheels/"G" range tires and a Helwig "Big Wig" rear anti sway bar.

Posted By: JRD on 04/03/08 12:38pm

Around 1970, some of the trailers were made by Harmon in Warrensburg, Mo. In parades, the tow car would do 360's while pulling the trailer.

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