KURT BOWDEN
Designer/Builder

(530)238-2914

 

Custom Teardrop

Trailers

For Little Cars

 

Perfect for Road Touring, Comfort Camping, Hot Rods & Car Shows


TinyTears Under Construction

When Steve Lowery called me about building a trailer there were two conditions: First, the MiniTears design was too big for his '65 Morris-MINI pickup, it had to be smaller, and two, if I agreed to build him a trailer it needed to be completed by April 10th, just in time for Redding's premier car show extravaganza, "Kool April Nites".
    There were a couple of circumstances surrounding the job that made me pretty sure I could do both.
For one, my friend, Grant Whipp, long time owner/builder of Lil’ Bear Tag Alongs (see “Resources” page) had a 3’x4’ frame and axle sitting in his shop ready to go. In addition, Steve is a master fabricator in his own right and he would be handling several areas of the project himself. The vinyl wrapping of the body, the 10” MINI wheels and tires, the rear taillights that matched the pickup, the custom built fenders, interior carpeting, and all the wiring, electronics, and audio/video would fall into Steve’s side of the project. Finally, we had access to a CNC router that would make short work out of cutting the primary plywood and aluminum components for the trailer.
    After taking dimensions of his MINI, I set out to design a show trailer that would be void of any interior cabinetry. Using my CADD program, I came up with three 3’ x 6’ profiles for Steve and his wife Stacey to choose from. They selected my personal favorite.
    The rest is history that is told in the photos in this gallery. Unfortunately we did not get any photos of the CNC machine or the various aspects of the project that Steve did.

The CNC router cuts within 1/1000 of an inch and the walls and aluminum siding were ready for assembly when they got to the shop.
The CNC router cuts within 1/1000 of an inch and the walls and aluminum siding were ready for assembly when they got to the shop.
Pre-drilling and countersinking the walls for the floor attachment.
Pre-drilling and countersinking the walls for the floor attachment.
The walls and floor snapped right together and were glued and screwed in place.
The walls and floor snapped right together and were glued and screwed in place.
The rabbet at the rear edge of the walls will receive the tailgate panel.
The rabbet at the rear edge of the walls will receive the tailgate panel.
Gluing and screwing the tailgate into place.
Gluing and screwing the tailgate into place.
These hand planed redwood ribs will form the rounded tail detail.
These hand planed redwood ribs will form the rounded tail detail.
The rounded tail ribs are screwed into place.
The rounded tail ribs are screwed into place.
This final redwood piece will complete the tail detail.
This final redwood piece will complete the tail detail.
This notch will receive the hinge rib. By letting it into the wall, it will add significant strength to the body.
This notch will receive the hinge rib. By letting it into the wall, it will add significant strength to the body.
The hinge rib is glued and screwed into place.
The hinge rib is glued and screwed into place.
These clear pine ribs will support the outer shell of the body.
These clear pine ribs will support the outer shell of the body.
The 1/8
The 1/8" plywood skin is wrapped into place.
The hatch under construction.
The hatch under construction.
Checking the fit of the hatch.
Checking the fit of the hatch.
These small blocks will space the hatch into position.
These small blocks will space the hatch into position.
Installing the cleats that will ensure a water tight hatch assembly.
Installing the cleats that will ensure a water tight hatch assembly.
Water dam cleats are fully installed.
Water dam cleats are fully installed.
Fitting the galley hinge into place.
Fitting the galley hinge into place.
Shimming the hinge with Gorilla tape will make for a smooth transition when it comes time to wrap the aluminum roof.
Shimming the hinge with Gorilla tape will make for a smooth transition when it comes time to wrap the aluminum roof.
With the hatch and hinge in place I can confirm a perfect fit.
With the hatch and hinge in place I can confirm a perfect fit.
By rolling the shell onto its top I can notch for the draw bar and prep the bottom for sealant.
By rolling the shell onto its top I can notch for the draw bar and prep the bottom for sealant.
Applying the roofing imulsion sealant to the bottom of the floor.
Applying the roofing imulsion sealant to the bottom of the floor.
Speaker boxes are built in place.
Speaker boxes are built in place.
The first section of aluminum siding is applied.
The first section of aluminum siding is applied.
Speaker face panel is screwed into place.
Speaker face panel is screwed into place.
The rear section of the hatch hinge is screwed into place after the hatch skin is applied.
The rear section of the hatch hinge is screwed into place after the hatch skin is applied.
Skinning the sides of the hatch.
Skinning the sides of the hatch.
The tailgate skin is applied.
The tailgate skin is applied.
This cabinet piece will mount to the ceiling and house the CD/DVD player.
This cabinet piece will mount to the ceiling and house the CD/DVD player.
The stereo valance is screwed into place.
The stereo valance is screwed into place.
Cutting the amplifier surround panel.
Cutting the amplifier surround panel.
Amplifier surround in place.
Amplifier surround in place.
Adhesive is applied to the wall before placing the aluminum skin.
Adhesive is applied to the wall before placing the aluminum skin.
The wall skin is clamped to ensure a positive bond.
The wall skin is clamped to ensure a positive bond.
The draw bar is machined prior to powder coating.
The draw bar is machined prior to powder coating.
The trailer is ready for its vinyl wrap.
The trailer is ready for its vinyl wrap.
Back from wrapping and ready for trims.
Back from wrapping and ready for trims.
Fitting the door hinge.
Fitting the door hinge.
The door is trimmed out and ready to hang.
The door is trimmed out and ready to hang.
Installing the first piece of roof edge molding.
Installing the first piece of roof edge molding.
Fitting the roof edge molding to the hatch.
Fitting the roof edge molding to the hatch.
Installing hatch moldings.
Installing hatch moldings.
The final trim is installed to the hatch.
The final trim is installed to the hatch.
These shiney black fenders were fabricated by the customers brother to my specifications.
These shiney black fenders were fabricated by the customers brother to my specifications.
I use a band of weather stripping on the back of the fender to prevent direct contact between the body and the fender. This will help prevent squeaking and
I use a band of weather stripping on the back of the fender to prevent direct contact between the body and the fender. This will help prevent squeaking and "body rub" on the vinyl.
Mounting the fenders.
Mounting the fenders.
Once the fenders are mounted the final body moldings can be installed.
Once the fenders are mounted the final body moldings can be installed.
The bottom rear molding required kerfing to make the tight radius bend.
The bottom rear molding required kerfing to make the tight radius bend.
The molding is bent into shape ans installed.
The molding is bent into shape ans installed.
After trying several samples the moulding will get a final touch-up using enamal model paints.
After trying several samples the moulding will get a final touch-up using enamal model paints.
A MINI emblem is added to the hatch duck tail as a final detail and the trailer is complete.
A MINI emblem is added to the hatch duck tail as a final detail and the trailer is complete.