Question on tying down a GT40 to the trailer

I have an open trailer to transport my car when needed. I've seen two methods of tying the car down. One wraps the straps around the frame or suspension and then ratcheted tight. The other loops the nylon straps through the wheel, then ratcheted tight.

Is either one better (safer) than the other?



Lifetime Supporter
Hi Bill,

Strongly advise securing your precious cargo to the trailer using straps over the tires. Tying 'er down in this manner will allow the suspension on the car some freedom of movement as the trailer encounters bumps and dips on your way home. Securing the 40 via the suspension may, depending on how it's done, leave the suspension unable to move.

Congrats again on the success with your project. It's been a joy to watch.


Watching Lynn Miner load his Superformance MkIIa into his trailer at the Portland Historics, his method is to loop a short (12") strap around the front quick jack sub-frames, then attach his ratchet strap to it and the mounting point in his trailer. Same for the rear.

I would have some questions about looping a strap through the wheel. Might catch a sharp edge, and that could lead to a possible strap issue.

Make sure when you are hooking the straps, that you cross them corner to corner. L/F of the car, to the R/F of the trailer. R/F of the car, to the L/F of the trailer, and use the same method at the rear.

One thing to consider: Using the wheel as an attachment point will allow the sprung weight of car to bounce around (not bad, just what it will do).

Attaching the frame F & R with straps will pull down on the suspension, and compress the suspension.....which will put tension on the straps. Not a bad thing, but you need to get the car straight on the trailer, and make sure your tension on all 4 corners is very similar. If it is not, as you travel
down the road, and the trailer goes over bumps, the car may shift somewhat as the car bounces....which may change the pre-load of the ratchet straps......which may cause one to become loose.

The method you choose to fasten your car to the trailer is not the same engineering as one would use to put someone on the Moon, but a little common sense will get you and your car to your destination all intact.

Let us know what you desided to do, and how it worked for you.

PS: Some people say to trailer your car in gear, and some say in neutral. This is sure to invite further posts on the subject.

Good luck, and tow safe now!
Hi Bill

Likewise, I recommend strapping around/across tyres, not the chassis and if you winch it on, once strapped down, just release the tension slightly on the winch cable, but keep it tethered.

I also prefer 4 independant straps, one per corner as opposed to using just two, one per side. Takes a couple of minutes longer, but to me, it's just that much more secure..

I also ensure doors / window openings are securly closed (locked if possible) - tape the gap if stopping en-route. We had an 'over zealous' spectator release a door whilst at a service station en-route to Spa and the door promptly flew open whilst towing at about 60Mph... doh!!

Opinion differs on handbrake/gear, but we normally leave in gear and with handbrake on.

Only once have I towed with a car loaded 'nose-first' and the trailer was very unstable above 40mph, everyone I know tows 'arse-end-on-first', except JBW, whose trailer seems perfectly stable nose on....
Thanks guys.

So Paul, I should tow the GT40 arse first? Will this provide better trailer balance (more tongue weight)?

Excluding JBW, all 40s I know of tow arse-first over here. I've seen both 2 axle (4 wheel) and 3 axle (6 wheel) used and have seen them very stable at all speeds. ( I don't attempt to keep up with DaveP anymore - his R42 is quicker on track and on-trailer from what I've seen!!;) :eek: ;) )

I suspect that the trailer JBW has might have been designed for 'Suzie' (his GTD), but perhaps he could comment further on this.....

Nose weight on the towing hitch is important to ensure towing stability and make sure the towing hitch height is correct, to high or low will put excessive weight over one of the axles, possibly leading to tyre overheating/failure. Once you determine the 'sweet-spot' for your cars position on the trailer - if it's your trailer, mark the wheel centres on the trailer boards with spots of paint - makes it easier next time and a few inches either way can make quite a difference.:D

Final note, I ALWAYS stop in a layby after a few miles (norm
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Lynn Larsen

Lynn Larsen
I agree with over tire tie downs. Further, I would get a set that has a bra of sorts over the tire to preclude it from jumping sideways or coming loose should the tire go down:

The one in the picture is made by Keeper; click image to see a listing for these. Although I am not necessarily recommending this particular brand, but these were the first pictures I found as examples.

Thanks again. Now, another question. My rear tires are 15" wide. Am I going to have trouble fitting them over the tire?

Mark Charlton

GT40s Supporter
Lifetime Supporter
Bill, Does this question mean the paint is done? :) Hope so!

I tow rear first with straps over all four tires, window flaps taped shut and gearbox in neutral (to prevent snapping off gear teeth?). The extra wide wheels may pose a minor problem, but enough racers have wide wheels, that if you search the right places, I'm sure you'll find straps up for the job.


Gulf GT40
Lifetime Supporter

Check out this thread. I asked the guys who delivered the car on how they tied it down and they told me about Mac's. They have some cool stuff to put tracks on the bottom of the trailer and then some really cool and easy way to tie down the tires. They do have them for our size tires as well. I have not given them a call but I think that it will be the easiest way to get the cars anchored. The strap through the rims is OK but will likely mess with the paint and mar up the rim unless careful. I have done it with the mustang a couple of times but looks bad for the rim and a pain to fish the hooks through.

This is the link with the links...


Ron Earp

I seem to tie down a car a week to tow somewhere, untie, unload, repeat. This weeks tie down fun involves moving the Z back into my garage as well as the Lola which is currently tied down on one of our trailers.

I think all the ideas on this thread are good. If you do it a lot of towing and tying down though you won't wish to mess with the wheel straps as they take a good bit of time and while add safety, are not needed if you do a good job on your tie dows.

We use four straps, two in front and two in back, "Xed". Get some good quality straps, at a minimum the type pictured or better. You'll be paying at least $25 for two straps, if not more. If you aren't you are probably getting too "cheap" of a strap. Had lots of those, lots of broken straps as a result. Those blue ones from Summit are good, had mine two years and work great.

On the RCR I put axle straps over each lower control arm, then attached the tie down to that. Cinch up tight, drive a few miles as others mentioned, check, then drive to the moon if you like. (the pictures of my Lola are on my buddies trailer and he's got bad straps don't use ones like that. One broke on that trip although no damage was done since we caught it quickly. I'm ordering him some real tie downs). One you get it right it won't move and getting it right just take a bit of doing til you figure out what is what. Now that I know my cars, got good bits I place it once, strap it down, and it never moves.

Whenever I get the cage stuff done I will have four tie down points put on the car too so that it'll just be a "clip and go" sort of affair with tying down. Might want to think about that if you plan to tow a lot.


FWIW, I have a friend whose Pantera broke down, and the tow truck driver attached the tiedowns to the chassis (not the suspension) and cranked it all the way down, fully compressing the suspension.

Weeks later, he discovered that the bouncing the car received during the (rather long) tow was enough to literally snap the chassis in two places! DOH!

I am fond of the tire-bra setup, as it lets the car bounce around on its suspension (which is what the suspension is for). I've been cautioned against towing a car in gear, and prefer to use the parking brake (HAH! Like any of my cars have a functioning parking brake!), and also I will hammer wheel chocks in position in front of and behind one wheel, just in case.

I'd be nervous about towing a GT40 backwards, for fear the doors or front end would pop open and all sorts of mayhem would ensue. The BEST solution is to get an extra-long trailer (or, have a trailer custom-built with the axles further to the rear), long enough so that you can load the car nose-first, but far enough forward relative to the axle centerline that the center of gravity of the car is at least a few inches forward of the axle centerline. You definitely want the weight of the car pushing down on the tongue of the trailer.

This presumes an open trailer, of course. For an enclosed trailer, loading it backwards would be preferable.

Mark Charlton

GT40s Supporter
Lifetime Supporter
I'd be nervous about towing a GT40 backwards, for fear the doors or front end would pop open and all sorts of mayhem would ensue.
It's a bit of a coin-toss on that one Mike, as when the rear clip opens, it makes a wonderful 'chute. The doors are pretty good at staying closed (window flaps excluded), and the front hood has a very nice set of (or one large) vents to equalize pressure minimizing it's tendency to blow open (which mine won't all the way until you remove the nostril panel).

Part of my logic (beyond the experiences of others) was that most (non-custom-ordered) open trailers are designed for towing front-engine cars and thus are inherently more balanced with the engine between the tongue and the tow wheels.

I always enjoy debates like this because there is so much experience (and in my case—inexperience) and perspective to draw from on this forum.
Here in Orygun, the Weight Masters of the Department of Transportation (reading the guys in the little buildings that weigh the trucks that run down the road) are not 100% of the time in the weight scale stations. When the station is not being used by DOT, I use it for free.

I have loaded my car in the trailer, and weighed the truck (all four wheels), then just the rear wheels of the truck, and then the trailer. I do the same for the unit without the car inside the trailer. That gives me an idea what the tounge weight is with the car inside, and if the weight is too much or not enough, gives you an idea where you need to place the car inside the trailer to achieve the best tounge weight. When you find the right place, I have as an earlier post suggested, marked the trailer to make sure the car always "hits the marks".

I tow my cars in gear, and with the park brake on. I have never had a problem. I have blown out a rear tire on the left side of my trailer once, and that was a funny experience (now, not then) to be told at another time.

Fran Hall RCR

GT40s Sponsor
When we load rolling cars into containers to ship to the other side of the World we loop through the spokes in the wheel...we also shrink wrap the car tightly to prevent doors/nose/tail coming open
We have not a problem yet ...touch wood.
Well guys, I bought four 2" x 6' ratcheting tie down straps

And four 2" x 24" axle straps

Thanks for all the help

Bill D


I loop my straps around the spinners (knock ons not dummy spinners!). I tow arse first, UK trailers are generally so much shorter (13 or 14 ft bed is common) than USA trailers we would be asking for trouble if we didn't. Doors suck open at around the 60 to 65 mph range if not shut properly but this speed depends on how tight the door rubbers make them shut! When you fit your door catches make sure you get the double action shutting mechanism right and you shouldn't get this problem.