Welcome to our final track hauler post for a while. If you were enjoying the truck posts, we will have plenty follow ups and trailer specific posts down the line, but after this we’re getting back to the cars.
In previous posts we touched on trucks, new and older SUV’s, even work vans. What if you want to truly be different… cool… or oldschool? What ELSE is out there? Every few months I waste a few days digging way too deep down the rabbit hole of my own “ultimate tow vehicle”. Ramp Trucks, School Busses, RV’s, Box trucks, Retired ambulances. You name it… I’ve probably daydreamed about it.
In general, the first two seem like they could be cheaper, but in practice I assume would end up costing a TON of time, and a surprisingly large amount of money. Hopefully someone will reach out with a success story. If you or someone you know is successfully (or even unsuccessfully) running some very unique tow setup, message me and tell your story!
“Back in the day” ramp trucks were it. Top teams from NASCAR, Road Racing, even F1 used to use ramp trucks. Today, the pro haulers been largely replaced by teams running full 18 wheeler rigs (You think motorsports has changed much?). As professional tow companies use roll-backs and smaller race teams have moved more towards truck+trailer setups, ramp trucks are becoming more and more rare… though not impossible to find. A quick search on craigslist and facebook marketplace a surprising amount, for dangerously cheap prices.
There is no denying that a 70’s ramp truck would be one of the coolest vehicles in the paddock, a bit of originality parked amongst hoards of new truck and suv tow vehicles. Ramp trucks often have plenty of built-in, secure storage for spares and gear. The nicest thing is you aren’t pulling a trailer with a ramp truck, everything is just sitting on top. While you obviously have truck maintenance, the cost of purchasing, maintaining, (and storing) a trailer is gone.
There is an obvious problem, they are almost all very old and very used. If you don’t mind the huge potential repair list for a 1970’s-80’s piece of heavy equipment… It may work. Also, they are very long vehicles. While you don’t need to separately store a trailer, the length of the truck may make it hard to store. Finally, they don’t seem very useful for any other purpose like a SUV or 1500 truck. If you can deal with a very old, mostly single use truck… a ramp truck could be an incredibly cool way to get your stuff to the track.
School Bus Toy Haulers:
School busses are everywhere and you can buy them unbelievably cheap. Tight regulations that come with hauling our youth mean they are often (but certainly not always) forced into retirement before they are totally trashed. Once you have your bus, it’s time to let your creativity go wild. With enough ingenuity, time, and hard work, you can build something that can double as an RV and Toy Hauler. Living quarters in the front half and drive your car into the back half.
Check out the skoolie forum, it has build examples, how to’s, tips, and all the knowledge you could possibly need for a killer “skoolie” conversion.
RV & Campers
RV Campers are certainly not the cheapest option of this lot. However, they fall into the “No Money” mantra the same way a newer SUV falls in: A big bill makes way more sense if you’re using it for much more than track transportation. Are you someone who would use an RV? (I mean actually use one, not just take it on a 6 hour roadtrip once a year). My wife and I have done a cross country roadtrip in our Dodge Charger, tent camping for 90% of the month long 6,500 mile trip. We’ve always talked about making more regular trips… but with a baby, the car won’t quite cut it. Not only would a big RV take away our last excuse to not go on these trips, but it could be used as the ultimate track hauler while we’re not crossing the continent.
Jeff is a local spec miata racer who uses a pretty baller RV as his race hauler. He had a few nuggets of advice: Many RV’s have a large rear overhang. If you have a heavy trailer you may need to reinforce the rear frame or run something like a “Trailer toad” to take the weight. It may be worth finding a shorter RV without a large rear overhang. Be careful your weight and height for roadways with limits. The nice thing, wherever you park it is home. Get bored of driving? Break down? Park it and make a sandwich.
There are plenty of unique ways to get you and your stuff to the track. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages. Will you dare to be different?