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Curtis Aerocar
 
 
   Curtis aerocar   Curtis aerocar  
Hindley's 1937 Curtiss Aerocar
5th Wheel House Trailer


Text and photos compliments of:
Hindley's Garage


 


This travel trailer was built in Michigan by the Aerocar Company of Detroit. These trailers were manufactured commercially at several locations in the U.S.A. at facilities that were licensed by the Aerocar Corporation.

This style of travel trailer was invented in about 1927 by Glenn Curtiss, a leading American aircraft designer. By using airplane principles he felt that he could build a trailer that was lightweight, but strong enough to travel over country roads.

The trailers' long streamlined bodies had a framework made of vertical oak struts and horizontal longerons that were connected by diagonally crossed nickel steel airplane truss wires. These wires had tumbl,lckles that were used to "tune" them to maximum tension, thus giving rigidity to the structure. Because of this design, the trailers had no actual chassis.

The wheels on the trailers were placed at the extreme rear end and the front had a long, curved, V-shaped prow with a hitch that rested in the rear deck of a coupe or roadster. The hitcri utilized a "Glenn Curtiss Aero
Coupler", which consisted of an airplane tire and wheel mounted horizontally. This arrangement was an effective cushion against road shock.

The trailers were covered on the outside with fabric which was stretched tightly over tempered Masonite panels. All Curtiss Aerocar trailers were custom made, one at a time, according to the customer's specific requirements. This 221 trailer was built for Wm. Gray, a Canadian, whose father Robt. Gray had pioneered the production of Gray-Dort automobiles in Chatham, Ontario.

In the late 1930'5, a model such as this one would sell for about $5,000.

 
Owned and restored by:
Ken and Lana Hindley
Union, Ontario, Canada



 

1938 Tow Vehicle


 

This custom-made, one of a kind vehicle was built exclusively for the purpose of towing this Aerocar trailer. Initially the trailer was pulled by a 1936 Plymouth coupe, but it soon proved to be somewhat underpowered. In order to realize the full benefits of this travel trailer, the owner commissioned the International Truck Plant in Chatham, Ontario to custom design and build this unique little workhorse.

A 1938 custom D-Une cab and chassis with a shortened wheelbase was chosen as the basic unit. A four-speed transmission gets the power to the dual rear wheels through a two-speed rear end. Powering up the unit is an International Green Diamond (GRD-233) six-cylinder, L-head engine. Bore, 3-5/161'; Stroke, 4-1/21'; Piston displacement, 232.65 cu. in.; Compression pressure, 110-120 Ibs.; Horsepower, 93 @ 3400 R.P.M.; Maximum torque, 181 ft. Ibs. @ 1000 R.P.M.

The body was custom fabricated in Brantford, Ontario by Brantford Coach. Moulded steel panels were fastened to hardwood framing members.

Since this travel unit was chauffeur driven, it was self-contained, even without the trailer. It would seat seven persons; the windows had pull- down blinds, and the six-foot long rear seat opened out to form a double bed. Storage compartments were provided for the heavy-duty batteries, the delco generator, and even a swing-out sink for the chauffeur. An intercom system connected the two units.

At the rear deck, a roll-down covering exposes the "Glenn Curtiss Aero
Coupler".

The coupled length of the combined unit is 35 feet and it weighs in at approximately 5 tons.

 
Owned and restored by:
Ken and Lana Hindley
Union, Ontario, Canada


 
 

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