No experience here but I had considered getting a Little Guy Rascal. Only thing that stopped me was the wife, other than that I would of bought it. Will purchase one later on, I promise. I don't see a problem towing it on flat area or slight hills. Wouldn't go through the mountains, but that's just me.
They only weight about 500 lbs, you can even build a custom one yourself. Here is a website I found where you can get plans to build one: teardropplans.com, they look awesome! Your wife may grow to like it, there are clubs all over the US of teardrop fans.
Tom, I just completed over 4,357 miles towing my trailer with my smart over Christmas. I drove from San Antonio, TX to Winnemucca, NV with a side trip to Sacramento, CA. I was towing a trailer that I built and it did fine. I have a tongue weight of 45# and the total weight loaded was 350# give or take 25#. I towed through snow and ice and at speeds, when the conditions allowed, of 70-75 mph. On the entire trip we averaged 35.7 mpg, but had I slowed down could probably improved on that number. I was in the Sierra's so the smart does well with a trailer in the mountains, but you will need to be in the manual mode and shift down. I only tow in the manual mode. I can control the shift points that way, and towing you need to have that up and down. You can see the trailer on my home page as well. I am considering selling the trailers and if I do they would be priced from $995 for the standard model and if you want one like my trailer with larger wheels, diamond plate deck, and painted to match you can go up to $2200. I also have a hitch for the trailer and the price on the hitch is $289. and you do not need to cut your body. It bolts through the 2 plugs on the rear.
Hi Jim - you've got a bit less wind resistance with your trailer and I'd hate to try to sleep in it. :)
I'm in the process of building one very similar - for carrying cargo. Just take that wind resistance & additional bit of weight you'd get with a teardrop into consideration. Right now my bare-bones trailer is 70 pounds and bounces like crazy. I'm still perfecting it - your hitch is nicer since it sits higher than my UHaul hitch but I do like the additional underbody protection the low UHaul hitch provides should your cars wheel fall off or some unlikely thing like that happen. :)
Reply for Bum-Bling-B I went through the "bounce all over everywhere" for a while. My trailer empty weighs in approximately 125# and it still bounces. When I was building it I would use bags of sand at 50# per bag and found that the smart will pull quite a bit of weight. In Canada and Europe they tow "travel trailers" large enough to sleep in with less engine and the rear wheel width does not have the US track. When I started working on the tailer I contacted smart and they told me that you COULD NOT tow with a smart. I sent photo's from Europe with trailers that actually had a bed, table and a portable potty in them and asked why it was OK there. Why they could pull more with less power. The reply I received then was a limit of tongue weight of 100# and towing capacity of 1,000#. I found both these number to be too much and not necessary. All I want to do is have a utility trailer that will carry our clothes, a spare tire, tools, and some miscellaneous items. Like this last trip, Christmas presents. I plan on changing the rear springs on my trailer and have a much softer ride and add shocks. On the hitch and the way I mount it. At first I was a little concerned, too. Then I phoned my friend that owns a wrecker service and we hook onto the hitch by the ball and suspend the entire car nose down. I figure if the hitch will hold 1,500# hanging straight down my small trailer will do just fine. The bolts in that rear panel are not available ANYWHERE, or were not available then. I had to have them made at a machine shop actually. Now I believe someone has started to produce them. They have a really unusual thread pitch on them. More like teeth on a saw than threads on a bolt.
I am sure there are a lot of different trailers being constructed for these popular cars, but I refused to pay what they were asking for them. My first choice was a small motorcycle trailer until I priced them. I have years of experience in building street rods, race cars and motorcycles and KNEW I had enough experience to build a trailer that would fill my needs, so I did.
Jim, the weight info is good info to know for any prospective tear drop buyers out there. I think a few could find that very useful.
The reason for my cargo trailer bounce is it has no springs. My debate at the moment is whether or not to add them, I'm trying to think of a low-profile solution even though I could simply raise the ball height more. I'm still debating as to whether or not I just want to add a rooftop carrier like yours or custom build a box (which I'm capable of making a very nice one). At the moment it's 50/50 for what I'll do.
Bum-Bling-B, The trailer has to have some type of suspension. The least expensive is leaf springs, but the smoother would be the torsion bar type. The problem with the latter is having enough weight to make them operate. When I first built my trailer I considered running larger tires with virtually NO air in the tires. What prevented me from doing that was the fact I was afraid it would not stay on the rim. Now from my old drag racing days we would run huge slicks with very little air in them and would actually screw the rim to the tire in a number of places. The problem with that was the way the tire "grew" in height with speed. I doubt that we would have that problem. I also am considering adding "lead" weight to my trailer to slow the bounce. I do not believe you can STOP it, but if you can make it managable it would work.
The thing has turned into more of a challenge to me than anything else. On my trip the trailer performed well. The stuff loaded in the rear was packed tightly so movement was at a minimum and everything made it dry and "clean", except for a little dust from the stuff put down for the ice. I guess it really has a lot to do with what your plans are for a trailer with your smart. Mine is for occasional use only, and I imagine most are that way as well. We will keep working on it though.
Reply to Robert Stout, On the motorcycle trailer. That was my first thought until I checked the price of these trailers. I found motorcycle trailers priced from $3,000 to over $6,000. I decided that the trailer behind my smart that cost $16,000 would not pull a trailer that cost over 1/3 the cost. When you drive you will see that MOST of the motorcycles pulling trailers are Honda Gold Wings. Price those motorcycles. They are most likely to be in the $20,000 to $25,000 range. What did you pay for your smart? There are less expensive trailers, but you really have to study them before you purchase. I believe the Little Guy Rascal is in the $3,000 range. I just wanted a trailer to pull behind my smart to increase my luggage capacity.
My name is Scott and I actually work at the corporate offices at Little Guy. A friend told me about this message strand and I figured I could let you know that we had a couple Smart customers purchase from our dealers.
The Rascal is ideal if you want a light weight camper, although we had someone even buy a 4-Wide Platform.
If you are interested in a small, strictly cargo type trailer, there is something called a motorcycle mini (teardrop cargo trailer) - we don't make it, but we think it is a great product. It weighs 240 lbs and wouldn't drag your car down by weight or by wind.