The Shadow Car Camper: Malaise Era Genius

This fifth wheel camper mounts to the roof of a compact car. We think it's called "The Shadow." Even if we aren't right, this video of a VW Beetle turning pirouettes underneath it is brilliant.

Bud Lindemann from the original automotive television show "Car and Track" describes a compact trailer designed to hitch up to a pivot point secured to the roof of a compact car, a roof mounted fifth wheel if you will. If the car's wheelbase is short enough it can turn circles around the thing as long as the electrics aren't hooked up. There's supposedly room for four adults of two adults and three kid, optimistic if you ask us, but still the idea has merit. With the RV and camping industry falling off a cliff steeper than hybrid prices, we're wondering if it isn't time for this gem to make a comeback. Anyone care to imagine a Fiat 500 cruising the highways and byways with one of these in tow? [Youtube]

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DISCUSSION

This looks like the kind of stuff freshman in engineering come up with.

First of all you are now relying on the clamping friction on the drop rail for all your longtitudinal force . So what happens if this isn't sufficient? The hitch slides forward and the trailer rear ends you . Don't forget that these ball niches have slopso you have to use impact loading and not just drivin or braking accelerations.

Second the point where the force is applied is now about 3 feet higher which forms a long lever arm to the cars pitch center. So depending on the weight of the trailer you might be able to get the back wheels off the groundin a panic stop. And you'd have a he'll of a time getting moving in a fwd car.