Winches: To ease loading, or bad day at the track


I posted in another thread about trailering our E30s, but figured maybe this should have it’s own topic, since that one was mainly about deciding on a trailer.

I’ve been doing a bit of asking around and independent research to find out if a winch is a nicety, or useful tool, or even an occasional necessity. As usual, the experienced guys pointed out some things that seem obvious now, but didn’t cross my mind.

  1. Winch is damn near imperative if you’re trying to load a wrecked car into an enclosed trailer. Don’t forget the wheel dollies.

  2. Much nicer to work with synthetic cable rather than steel.

  3. You can never have too much ________. In this case, load capability. Easy to load a rolling car, again, but no so much if you’re dragging a bent one.

So I have found what I think will be an affordable solution that checks all the boxes. Whenever I can, I will need a strong recovery point mounted near the winch, for use with a snatch block.

Superwinch Tiger Shark 9500 SR

ARB snatch block (serviceable, rebuildable)

Shackles (3) to attach snatch block and front tow points to strap

And Mac’s bridle with 3’ straps ending in twisted snap hooks to connect car’s front tow points and offer a place to hook up the snatch block D-ring

What do you guys think? Any glaring omissions?


Regarding the 9500 lb superwinch, I think it’s overkill. The other items are good to have.

If your car is badly damaged and won’t roll I assure you the NASA safety guys will help load it onto an open trailer. At Sonoma they loaded our wrecked car using slings attached to the big boom on the tow truck. The guys did an amazing job.

I did add a winch afterwards cause I knew we’d need to move the car off and to get any new build on/off. Considering our kwik load trailer low ramp angle and the spec e30 weight I selected a Bulldog 4,400 lbs (BDW15019) for around $235 from etrailer. Installed it in a 30" tool box (ebay) on the forward deck of the trailer under the tire rack. Perfect size to hold the winch, battery and additional straps. Using a GM F body battery tray/hold down for securing a group 75 battery. To hook to the battery side posts I did swap the connectors to larger copper eye terminals. Picked up a sturdy bridle from Macs straps. Will be finishing it by adding a small solar panel to maintain juice. Have used it a few times and everything works very smoothly. Real happy with how it came out.

I would think this winch would be fine also inside an enclosed trailer.


Nice solution, @rich99. I was imagining the bridle, but couldn’t find one, so I sort of made my own with the two straps and a D-ring. I’ll definitely use your idea instead. If I had an open trailer, I see your point on the NASA guys, but mine happens to be enclosed, a 24’ plus vee. I can definitely downsize the winch capacity if that makes sense. Some guys have countered that philosophy, but I thought my previous 4500 lb solution might be enough. I’ll keep my mind open on that topic for now.


Hi from the Australian E30 racing series.
Can I ask a stupid question - with the bridle, what are you mounting that to on each side of the car? I am doing some upgrades to my trailer including an electric winch, but one issue which concerns me is that I use the OEM tow hook point on my car, which is offset on the driver’s side (RHD), and so its problematic using this as the tow point with a centre-mounted winch on the trailer. Also, as I want to mount the winch at a low level (ie. just above the trailer tray, like you have in that photo above, using the OEM tow hook point is no good for trailer winching.
Any guidance or ideas would be greatly appreciated.


There are Factory places behind the front wheel to attach the bridles that are about even with the rear edge of the open wheel well on each side. That is where I tie down the front of my car when I’m trailering, and that’s what I was thinking about using to pull it if I needed to.


Freemantim - I selected the combo bridle so I could have flexibility in winching different vehicles onto the trailer

  1. Spec E30 - attaching to either the front tow loops (on project cars) or using factory tie down points on the sub-frame as HiFiGuy pointed out

  2. Older American muscle cars and trucks - by attaching the bridle loop around lower control arms or axles

Just a comment about using tie downs on the trailer. The recommendation from Macs Tie Downs was to go through each wheel with a padded strap hitched to an individual ratchet strap. This way the car suspension is not pre loaded like a spring. The car is secure but not stressed. I leave the trans in neutral.


Freemantin - hope this addressed your question. Here is a picture of the bridle in use