If you follow our Speedhunter regulars on social media, chances are you’ve seen the “!!RIG CHECK!!” caption flying around the post for a while now. Well, you can thank our own Ryan Stewart for that.

Back in 2021, Ryan needed a way to transport his then-new AE86 to events across the country and even to Ireland without driving it. He needed a tow truck and invested blindly in trailer ownership.


The truck in question is a mid-2000s Ford Transit flatbed, painted the mysterious and alluring shade of Nardo Gray. “It was a piece of shit; a rotten thing from a dangerous camp, but I really liked it,” Ryan said.


At first I wasn’t very experienced with securing cars with seat belts, so I would check the load every so often, stop and check the belts and stuff, make sure it wasn’t moving.’ Every now and then, this pit stop would be in a scenic spot, and Ryan would have to step back and enjoy the view. Like any Autobot, he’d pull out his phone and snap a picture.

Then he’ll throw it on his instagram Story, titled: !!RIG CHECK!!.


Before I know it, I’m scrolling through my instagram Feed to find every one of my friends towing a trailer posting a picture of themselves, all with the same caption.


Naturally, folks with impressive trailers and trailer loads got involved. Thus, a small trend was born.


When I was in Scotland for Dorifest last year, I found myself walking around with my camera in hand while everyone packed their bags after a weekend of tackle action.


Most of these guys were coming in with their cars in tow, and as they were loading up, it dawned on me that a whole weekend of drifting had suddenly turned into a rig gathering to shut things down.


I was in a weird melting pot of this new trend and almost felt excluded because I didn’t have my own car or trailer there. But I did what I always do and started snapping, capturing background images for this post.


Either way, for some a tow truck is a work tool, while for others it’s a hobby and passion. I talked to two of my towing buddies, Austen and Latham, about how seriously they take their trailers and what they can’t live without, and they’re kind of awkwardly in the middle of the two categories.


Austen drives an F15 BMW X5 30d, and the black one in the photo drives a green Chaser.

I want X5 because they look disgusting,’ Austin began, but then he went on to explain that besides looks, he needed something economical and reliable. There were bigger engines available, 40d or 50d, but those had more turbochargers and probably Bringing up more questions.”Can you imagine trying to work on that engine bay when something goes wrong and there are two or three turbos in the way?


Affordability and reliability are key, because the X5 is also an everyday thing in Austin. It needs to do normal car things besides towing. It needs to be comfortable enough for a trip to the store, low enough for his dog to hang out at the window line, and big enough for all his pals inside.


But in reality, a lot of vehicles can do that, so we come back to its towing capacity. “One thing I can’t live without is the self-leveling rear suspension,” Austin said. “It allows me to load the front of the trailer so the overall balance of the car and trailer is better. It’s safer, helps avoid snaking and the car doesn’t squat because of it

I guess this is where modern techniques trump older, more traditional methods. Austen’s previous car was a BMW E39 sedan without self-leveling in the rear, which seems to be one of those things you can’t live without once you own it.


Latham’s approach to choosing a trailer is a little more practical:”It’s all about my ability to pull,” He said. This is the key to a flawless rig inspection at Latham. In December 2021, UK towing laws changed to allow your everyday trailer to tow and load a trailer with a gross weight of 3,500kg without passing any type of additional qualification or test. A normal driver’s license is enough.


Every vehicle has towing limits set by the manufacturer. This is an important thing to be aware of when choosing your own gear, as it can really affect what you can actually do with it. “If you want to tow anything with a gross weight of two tons, you really need a three-axle trailer, and these trailers sometimes weigh a ton on their own,’ Latham told me.

Latham runs a catering business that sells tacos out of his own food truck, so he needs to tow as many trucks as possible, which means regular cars are out of the question. The E46 330d Touring has a towing capacity of around 1,800kg; the same-level sibling, the X5 (E53 30d), can tow nearly 1,000kg more. A modern AWD SUV such as the BMW X5 30d Austen has a towing capacity of 3,500kg. Once again, in the field of rig inspections, classic gear is simply beaten by modern gear.


So Latham knew he needed an SUV that was modern enough to carry his business.

The obvious place to start is the German options – the X5, Mercedes-Benz G Wagon or ML, Porsche Cayenne or Volkswagen Touareg – all of which are reliable enough and comfortable enough inside for everyday use. While Japanese models such as the Toyota Land Cruiser, Nissan Patrol and Mitsubishi Shogun have a reputation for reliability and a growing image, their interiors are not as pretty as their German counterparts.


American trucks are a bit of an oddity in the UK. They have huge running costs in terms of fuel and taxes, and they put the steering wheel on the wrong side. They also can’t keep up with the interior quality of German cars. The last option is something British: Jaguar Land Rover Discovery, Defender, etc. However, if you don’t have a warranty on these models, you’re in for a serious headache. Most of the time, they’re a quick way to burn through your cash.


Now, some people do use vans, the Ford Transit and Volkswagen Transit are popular choices. All of these fit the bill, but sometimes these require specific insurance policies, which are no less expensive than cars. Of course, if part of your mission is the capacity for everyday gear, the van does limit that. I’m sure there are thousands of T5 owners who will turn against me and die on that hill, but luckily for us this is my article. They’re great for moving things around, but not perfect daily drivers like an SUV.


So, where did Latham end up? With the Volkswagen Touareg. He’s a calculating guy and the math is right for him.Well, they’re famous for towing Boeing 747 jumbo jets on board top gear, This might be the coolest accolade on any resume. A taco van should be fine.


So, you might be wondering, does Ryan still own this beat-up Transit? Well, no, he didn’t. Ryan has done the math too, and while his AE86 may be a far cry from a Boeing 747, he can’t resist a Touareg either.

I’ll leave you with one question: what is your trailer of choice? I’m sure some of our American readers will embarrass us Brits here…

Michael Fedovich
Instagram: Candy Showroom

additional photography ryan stewart
Instagram: 7.nth
[email protected]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *