It’s smart to carry a spare
Dennis Murphy and his wife Nancy Beck of Geneva Illinois like to travel with their fifth-wheel trailer. Their pickup was due for replacement, but they needed a medium-duty truck to tow the new fifth wheel they wanted to move up to. The solution Dennis Murphy found was to purchase a used road tractor. He bought a 1999 Volvo 610 with 602,000 miles on it. The truck was refurbished and equipped with a microwave, refrigerator and shore power so it could be registered as a motor home.
Now problem number two: what do they drive once the trailer is parked at their destination?
Solution: Carry a smart car.
Previously, smarts were not available in the US, but recently ZAP of Santa Rosa, California, has been selling smart cars refit for US pollution and crash standards. Murphy bought his smart from Ferrante Motor Cars, in Vandergrift, PA.
Murphy designed a deck for the Volvo that would accommodate the smart car and had it built by truck body builder NWC Body Works. They extended the frame in order to move the hitch back to make room, and built the deck.
A pair of 10-foot arched folding ATV ramps stored under the deck were added, as well as a 2,500 lb. winch below the deck on the right side, with a removable arm and pulley that guide the winch cable up and over the deck.
“I back the Smart Car up to the ramps, attach a strap to the two tow eyes in the rear bumper, attach the winch cable to that, and up it goes,” Murphy says.
The funniest part of all, the car is sideways, sitting behind the airfoils. The Murphy’s philosophy is an example of: “Don’t carry a spare tire, carry a spare car.”
Jun 11, 2006 – Toronto Sun Autonet Drive