The roof of your car is designed to support the entire weight of your car plus impact and G-forces without crushing in the event of a rollover.. Autobug, ever have the pleasure of sampling a Japanese toilet seat with climate control and (heated) power washer?
Obviously it doesn’t look like many of those top-hitched trailers made into the main stream of campers. Few vehicles had a roof as strong as a VW Beetle, then again few cars were as under powered by North American standards, very interesting concept! I swear I’ve seen 1930s fifth-wheel setups where the receiver mounted inside the trunk (with lid removed).
Looks like the trailers are balanced to have little weight on the car,so the attachment is probably quite sufficient. On the other hand, fifth-wheel trailers generally require full-size pickups to tow them, and using a full-size pickup as a daily driver isn’t for everyone. Neither the service provider nor the domain owner maintain any relationship with the advertisers. Or worse, the whole trailer could come loose and shove the car into the one in front of it.


However, I would not want to be the one ON IT when the ‘heated power wash’ failed and you got instant ice water!
Besides the reasons mentioned, I wonder if one of the reasons for their demise is the disapearence of drip rails on automibiles.
Seems to me it’d be a good idea to have some sort of trailer brakes,and a fairly beefy sway bar on the tow vehicle,but the design looks good.
In case of trademark issues please contact the domain owner directly (contact information can be found in whois). Meant to deliver the advantages of a fifth wheel trailer without the potential drawback of having to buy a pickup truck as a tow vehicle, the Harmon Shadow required buyers to mount a purpose-built receiver and ball assembly atop the roof of their car.
I got a picture of a seat with old socks wrapped around it to ward off that early morning chill. We were all stunned and questioned the structural integrity but our sales manager was interested.
At 16 years old, I knew nothing about engineering or the possibility of someone selling something that was anything less than safe. This mated with the corresponding high-mounted trailer hitch, giving buyers an incredible amount of stability and maneuverability.


He had the rear deck lid set up for easy removal for towing,and it attached to front of the trailer when traveling to protect the front windows from damage from stones and other road debris. I’ve told many people about this over the years including my sons and the description was always greeted wit h a healthy dose of skepticism. He must have liked it-he had well over 100,000 miles on the combination,and that was 25 years ago. At the height of their (brief) popularity, Shadow trailers came in sizes ranging from 18 to 27 feet in length, offering camping solutions for families and budgets of all sizes.
Perhaps the variation in car roof heights (and strengths) proved to be their undoing, or perhaps consumers weren’t fond of bolting a trailer hitch to the roof of their family car, even temporarily. Perhaps the NHTSA or DOT intervened, questioning the safety of positioning a potential can opener atop the heads of tow vehicle occupants.
Whatever the ultimate cause, Harmon Shadow trailers remain an elusive and nearly forgotten bit of motoring Americana, causing us to question whether anybody has ever seen one in the wild.



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