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Philip K. Wrigley’s Custom Curtiss Aerocar

Glen Curtiss was a real pioneer in the vehicle and aircraft fields. He like many, started with bicycles and then moved on to motorcycles which were followed by aircraft. In the early twenties Curtis became involved (to provide workers jobs in Hammondsport, NY) with a man named Carl Adams who manufactured the Adams trailer and Motor Bungalow. Adams manufactured a line of cargo and camp trailers but the company suffered in the post WWI economy and went out of business in 1922.

Curtiss being an innovator and airplane constructor took the design to a new level. He used the basic design of the light weight and strong structure of the Jenny airplane as the framework for his new trailer. It was set up as a fifth wheel for ease of riding and maneuverability.

He also designed a brilliant hitch unit which smoothed things out even more. It basically was a custom tire and rim which mounted to the bed of the truck or the floor of the coupe which was used for to tow it. The tongue of the trailer had a vertical pin which dropped into the hub of the wheel and it was locked in place. It was free to pivot side to side and the rubber tire flexed in anyway it need to deal with misalignment. The tire also served as a shock absorber (see the three plan views of it below). Read and see more about the Aerocar in an earlier post that we have done which also involves the Graf Zeppelin in Miami.


The Aerocar was totally customizable and the interiors in some of them were quite lavish depending on what the client wanted and could afford. The basic trailer sold for around $2500 at this date.

At the point in time when this Aerocar trailer and supercharged Auburn coupe with custom removable hardtop were photographed, on May 12, 1936, it belonged to Phillip K. Wrigley. He was the chewing gum magnate and also an executive in Major League Base-ball as owner of the Chicago Cubs.

The back of this photograph is stamped by Curtiss Aerocar Co. Inc. in Coral Gables and Miami, Florida where they supposedly were manufactured. Williams the photographer was also in Miami. In all likely hood Wrigley used this rig in Florida for entertainment of friends and business associates. The Old Motor photo.

6 responses to “Philip K. Wrigley’s Custom Curtiss Aerocar

  1. Posted for Paul Neece, I noticed the car pulling the trailer appears to be a Roadster with a a removable top. I would like to see/hear more about that. I had seen some picture of the rigs in the background of some old pictures but never this much info on them. Thanks for posting this. Paul

  2. Paul, I owned and restored this car in 1979.the top was removable and i put a cabriolet top on it and installed a rumble seat.

  3. More on the Auburn..when I bought the car from the horseless carriage shop in Dunedin, was in derelict took me three years to do a complete restoration on it and it took a local Asia first place trophy. I was able to track its history all a oss the US to San Diego and Catalina island

    • To Bill Storms: Bill, my grandfather owned this car and trailer. From what I am told, he purchased it from PK Wrigley. I am interested in hearing more about the history of the car and what happened to it after he sold it. Jay

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