What sort of car should I buy to pull the trailer I don't yet have?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Oct 01, 1989

Dear Tom and Ray:

I would appreciate your advice concerning the best vehicle to pull a trailer of about 25 feet in length. I own neither, but have a fantasy about doing some traveling in this fashion. I'm leaning toward pulling a trailer rather than buying a motorhome. I assume I need a V8 and I'm thinking of a Ford LTD Crown Victoria.

RAY: "Fantasy" is the key word in your letter, Bob. You've got a pile of money saved up, and you're looking to do something with it. Am I right? Well, we're going to help you.

TOM: Let's assume that a trailer's going to cost you about 15 grand, and the car's going to cost another 15. So let's start with $30,000. The first thing you should do is take $2.50 and go to your local video rental store. Rent "The Long, Long, Trailer" starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Pay particular attention to the scene where they're driving down the mountain and their trailer goes whizzing by them in the passing lane.

RAY: If that doesn't convince you that this is a cockamamie idea, then take your remaining $29,997.50 and go to the nearest pier. Find those artists with the sailor caps and white beards--the ones who paint the seascapes over and over again. Give one of them $50 and ask him to paint you a picture of your three-bedroom ranch with a 25 foot aluminum box in the side yard. This is what your house will look like 50 weeks out of the year. Still interested?

TOM: Here's our final suggestion. Keep the car you have, and convert the remaining 29,947.50 into travelers checks. If you stayed at say..."Motel 3" for an average of $30 per night, you could stay anywhere you want for two weeks a year for the next 71 years. And you could do it without a bad back, without shattered nerves, and without worrying if that trailer was ever going to pass you on the highway.

RAY: Now, we're realistic Bob. We know that you're probably going to do this anyway. So if you do, get the smallest trailer you can live with and the biggest car you can. The Crown Victoria or a full size GM would be good choices.

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