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Enclosed Car Hauler; Best Paint?

There is no way to know if there is 1967 Corvette or a stack of lumber inside this solid white trailer. How many of these do you see on the road and pay absolutely no attention to them?

We are fortunate enough to have a couple of trailers to haul around our cars. The first is the standard open hauler with a winch. It is my first go to trailer for hauling a car. Open trailers are much easier to load, strap down and pull than an enclosed trailer. I have found they are also much easier on gas as well. The down side is they don’t provide any protection for the car being hauled. I use it mostly for tows involving project cars and typical driver quality. Putting anything very nice on an open trailer and then spending the night at a motel is a great way to not get any sleep! I am always afraid some one is messing with the car or helping themselves to some of the easy to remove parts.


My second trailer is an enclosed box trailer that I purchased used. My intent was to use this less often because of its size and the extra effort it takes to load a car and the reduced fuel mileage due to the added wind resistance and increased weight. I thought the trade off would be for the increased protection and security provided by the enclosed and locked box. I was wrong, even with the added disadvantages I now use the enclosed trailer most often. Other benefits of hauling my car in an enclosed trailer:

  • it is like having a portable garage that not only keeps my car somewhat secure from thieves and vandals, it also protects it from the weather and road debris. This is a major advantage when hauling to a show long distance.
  • it also gives me a relatively secure place to store extra parts, tools, and cleaning supplies.
  • it is also much easier to haul a load of engines, boxes of small parts or fenders, doors and other body parts in an enclosed trailer.
You are looking at the CLOSED rear doors of two enclosed trailers. I absolutely love these winged car trailers. The rear door treatment is terrific and must be a little scary to someone following from behind. The down side is that everyone knows you have a very valuable car inside. If you are looking for some Superbird parts for your clone here you go. Also note the trailer in the background.

When we arrive at our destination the car is certainly cleaner and more secure in the enclosed trailer. However, recently I have been thinking about the best way to keep the car and trailer safe from potential thieves. I have added all of the appropriate hitch locks and padlocks to the rear ramp.


My newest concern is with the paint color on the enclosed trailer. I have heard of these trailers being stolen out of motel parking lots with the treasured car inside. Which is better?

  • Is a plain color (typically white, black or red) enclosed trailer that does not advertise a classic car is inside but is nearly invisible  to police on the interstate highways and city streets better;
  • or, is a trailer with logos and/or graphic paint schemes that scream expensive car inside but is highly visible to police on the interstate and city streets better;
  • or, is something in between better; one with graphics but no indication of what is inside?

I have never seen any studies on this issue but I did talk with Carl Sharpe a car guy and insurance agent for his thoughts.

Here is Carl’s vintage “Banjos’ (Mathews) Performance” trailer. He hauls his 1969 Ford Talladega in it.

In his opinion, a plain trailer is much easier for a thief to peddle, and to escape with down the road from its point of theft.  Plain white trailers tend to easily blend into traffic and are seldom noticed.  Such trailers are also easy to sell, and they also blend in with other traffic on the road.  Trailers with lettering and/or graphics will stand out in a crowd.  Not only are they more difficult to escape with unnoticed (most people will remember the graphic of a car on the side, or the tailgate – particularly if it is someone who knows your rig, or an officer that is on the lookout for it), they are also more difficult to sell, as they will have to be stripped of their graphics/lettering first and then buffed/painted afterward.

As for the impact of a photo of a rare car on the side of a trailer making it more likely to be stolen, rather than less likely; Carl thinks that largely depends upon the car that is on the side.  If it is a relatively common, but expensive car (e.g., Shelby Mustang, Cobra, Chevelle, Corvette, etc.), he believes that would be bad idea. Those cars can be readily marketed for parts.  However, if it is a relatively rare car, for which it would be difficult to sell the car or parts without raising a huge amount of suspicion he thinks that would make it less likely to be stolen.

I know it is a bus and not a trailer but would’t this be cool on a trailer?

Carl says he would probably not put a photo of a Corvette on the side of his enclosed trailer; but would put his name or business name on the side.  He also would not hesitate to put a graphic of a rare car on the side – just because it would make the trailer more noticeable and tougher to hide by the thief.  

He does not believe that most thieves want to drag a trailer down the road that screams for attention.

This is a rather plain paint scheme but would be much easier to spot on the highway than a solid black or solid red trailer.

As an insurance agent, Carl also added that he always feels that having his car in a locked enclosed trailer is much better than having it on an open trailer.  Likewise, an enclosed trailer is less likely to be stolen than an open trailer, due to its size and weight.  An open trailer is very easy to tow, even with a small tow vehicle, compared to an enclosed one.  Likewise, an open trailer (when empty) is not nearly as noticeable on the road as even a solid white enclosed one.  It is also much easier to hide an open trailer (often in plain sight) than it is to hide an enclosed trailer. Carl says: “One other positive about hauling my car in an enclosed trailer:  it is like having a portable garage that not only keeps my car somewhat secure from thieves and vandals, it also protects it from the weather and road debris.  Likewise, it gives me a relatively secure place to store extra parts, tools, and cleaning supplies.”

It clearly says VIPER; so would you steal this because there might be a Viper inside or would you pass because everyone will see it on the road?

I am interested in what you have to say and what your opinions are on enclosed trailer paint and graphics to deter theft.

This stands out but tells a story of what might be inside as well.

 Here is a related story you might like from Autoweek.

Travis Kvapil’s NASCAR Sprint Cup car stolen from hotel parking lot

FEBRUARY 27, 2015


Early Friday morning, thieves near Atlanta stole the trailer containing Travis Kvapil’s NASCAR Sprint Cup car. The car was driven by Reed Sorenson last weekend in Daytona.PHOTO BY LAT PHOTOGRAPHIC



It’s hard to say who was more surprised Friday morning, NASCAR driver Travis Kvapil, or whoever stole his No. 44 Sprint Cup car.
According to USA Today, Kvapil’s Team Xtreme car was stolen from a parking lot outside of the team’s hotel in Morrow, Ga.
The car was inside an unmarked white Sunbeam trailer being pulled by a 2004 Ford F-350.
“Sometimes what happens when thieves see trailers, they might just assume there’s something in the trailer they can go off and sell,” Morrow Police Sgt. Larry Oglesby told USA Today. “Sometimes when things like this occur, they will drop off the items in a parking lot somewhere — like a Walmart parking lot — once they realize what they have.
“They’ll open it up and say, ‘Oh my God, this is not what we thought it was. Let’s get out of here.’ And they’ll take off and leave it sitting there. We’re hoping that will be the situation so (Kvapil) can get back to his races this weekend, because they drove quite a distance to participate.”
Although participation seems unlikely, as is reporting that Team Xtreme owner John Cohen said the team will withdraw from the Atlanta race, but will race next weekend in Las Vegas.
USA Today reported that the police report of the incident said surveillance footage shows part of the theft. At 5:25 a.m., a newer silver or gray Jeep Cherokee was seen driving into the Drury Inn Parking lot. It appears again at 5:32 a.m., and two minutes later, the trailer and the car inside were seen leaving the parking lot.
According to the police report, the car is valued at $250,000. A backup engine in the trailer is valued at $100,000 and there was $17,500 worth of other tools and equipment in the trailer as well.
Kvapil didn’t compete in last weekend’s Daytona 500 (Reed Sorenson drove the No. 44 and finished 32nd), but he did finish 15th in the Camping World Truck Series race.


MIKE LARSON – Associate motorsports editor Mike Larson has been part of the Autoweek Racing team since 2012.See more by this author»

Update: This suggests to me a plain white trailer is NOT the way to go!

Police Recover Team Xtreme’s Race Car

by NSSN Staff

HAMPTON, Ga. – Officials with Team Xtreme Racing have confirmed that police have located their stolen NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race car.

The car was found abandoned on Lenora Road in Loganville, Ga., early Saturday morning. Police have not yet recovered the dually or trailer that were stolen along with the race car early Friday morning.


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I grew up and lived in Iowa for a good portion of my life before moving to Southern California. After 20+ years we now live outside Nashville Tennessee. I have been into cars since I was old enough to remember. I don't have a brand loyalty although I do prefer American Muscle especially the 1969/1970 NASCAR Aero Cars. (Check out our other web site at site) As long as it has four wheels and an engine I get excited. Few men are lucky enough to be able to share their passion for cars with the woman they love. Fortunately, my wife, Katriana, is also a gear head and many of our activities revolve around the cars. We have a small collection that includes at least one car from each of the Big Three. It includes a Best of Show winner, a survivor, a driver with lots of patina and several others. Katrina prefers all original cars while I like to modify them so we have a few of each. When we aren't playing with cars we are out working with or showing our miniature donkeys. You can see more about that part of our lives at

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