Trailers help put Montrose on map for car racers, collectors

Larry Edsall
Special to The Detroit News

Back in 1971, Gary Palinsky Sr. was looking for a utility trailer but he couldn't find one that met his needs. So he decided just to build one himself.

"Before the paint was dry on it, I rolled it outside and someone stopped and offered me enough that I thought they were out of their mind," Palinsky recalled.

Palinsky took the money and built another trailer. He thought this one would be his. He was wrong. The same scenario ensued; someone stopped and bought that out from under him as well.

"I didn't need to be kicked in the head to realize there was a market," Palinsky said.

For several years, Palinsky built trailers on a part-time basis, first in his garage, and later in a new 32 x 40-foot pole barn. Palinsky's "real" job was working as a test cell supervisor for General Motors' experimental engineering department. Eventually, Palinsky retired, though he was hired back by GM as a contract employee for a few years.

Today, Montrose Trailers is managed by Palinsky's son, Gary Jr., and produces all sorts of trailers — from those designed to be pulled by a garden tractor to those that can carry two race or show cars. Trailers are designed and built in facilities on Ruth Street in Montrose. Gary Palinsky was born in Flushing, but he and his wife moved to Montrose when they were married.

Palinsky's early trailers were made from steel, but in the early 1990s he "progressed," as he puts it, to aluminum and started using the strong but lightweight metal for snowmobile trailers with roof-hinged, gullwing-style doors.

"A guy with a '67 Amphicar pulled into the shop one day and wanted one of our enclosed trailers, built on our car-hauler base, but with gullwing doors on both ends," Palinsky said. "He called it his Amphicamper."

In addition to the roof-mounted doors fore and aft, Palinsky added standard swing-style doors on the sides of that trailer.

"He went on tour around the country with his car club and his tour got us a lot of work," Palinsky said. "People saw the trailer and liked it."

Turns out people with race or show cars like Montrose Trailers a lot.

"We're told that at any SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) event, there's at least one of our trailers (in the paddock)," Palinsky said, who noted that he now does roof-hinged side doors, thus creating a built-in canopy that provides shade from the sun or cover from the rain.

Montrose car trailers are custom designed and built, often with built-in tool boxes or storage compartments. Their aluminum construction makes them strong but light — structures carry a lifetime guarantee — and their design makes them aerodynamic, cutting tow-vehicle fuel costs.

Prices range from $175 for a small garden-tractor utility trailer to the $3,500 to $4,500 range for enclosed snowmobile trailers to $10,000 to $17,000 for single-car enclosed trailers. Montrose produces open or closed utility, motorcycle, ATV, snowmobile and automobile trailers.

For more information, visit the website or call Gary Jr. at (810) 639-7431.

Larry Edsall is a Phoenix-based freelance writer. You can reach him at