Trailer tilts to ease loading of low-slung cars

Larry Edsall
Special to The Detroit News

Loading a low-slung exotic sports car or track-hugging race car onto a trailer can be a real chore because there often is not enough ground clearance, or ramps are too short, or both.

Michigan-based Montrose Trailers thinks it has a solution: Montrose’s new Low Profile Power Tilt trailer, which made its debut last weekend at the 41st annual St. Ignace Car Show in the Upper Peninsula.

The trailer is the brainchild of Gary Palinsky Jr., whose father, Gary Sr., founded Montrose Trailers in the early 1970s.

Montrose builds custom-designed aluminum trailers for various needs, among them moving classic, collector or race cars. But even with very long entry ramps, some cars are so low that driving them into or out of a trailer without scraping something can be a difficult proposition.

One day Gary got to looking at one of the company’s dump trailers, a utility trailer with a built-in scissors lift that turns the trailer into a mini-dump truck. He wondered if there might be a way to put a lift beneath the front of an enclosed car-hauling trailer so the entire unit would tilt to ease the transition from the road to the trailer floor.

Ideally, he said, “Some of the exotics and race cars need 20-foot ramps,” to make that transition.

He spent four months experimenting with different setups before creating the Low Profile Power Tilt trailer, which needs only its short rear fold-down ramp door and a hinged panel that creates a buffer between it and the road. The length of that buffer ramp can be custom designed to fit specific and especially low vehicles, he said.

Solving towing problems isn’t new for the Palinsky family. Back in 1971, Gary’s father, a test cell supervisor for the experimental engineering department at General Motors, needed a utility trailer but couldn’t find one that worked for him, so he built his own. Even before the paint was dry, someone stopped Palinsky and offered to buy it. Palinsky sold that trailer and built another, and almost immediately someone bought that one as well.

A business, well, a part-time, garage-based business was born. Before long, the business needed its own building and Palinsky eventually retired to work full time at trailer building. At one point, Montrose was building 500 snowmobile trailers a year.

Today, it makes aluminum trailers to carry everything from garden supplies to ATVs, motorcycles, snowmobiles and cars.

Gary Jr. said the new Low Profile Power Tilt trailer is the first enclosed car hauler with a power tilt feature to reach the commercial marketplace. The tilt mechanism is a heavy-duty unit designed for dump truck use and tilts the trailer up or down at the touch of a remote control switch, with power supplied by an onboard battery.

The trailer weighs 2,925 pounds and has a 4,000-pound payload capacity, but that figure could be increased if someone needs by ordering even more stout axles from the company, which is based in Genesee County, midway between Flint and Saginaw.

The suggested retail price for the Michigan-made Monroe Low Profile Power Tilt trailer is $20,500.

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