It all began in 1973 when gasoline shortages set people worrying about the price of fuel. That’s when Joseph FitzGerald found a niche for his 1965 discovery of the benefits of changing the shape of the upper portion of the trailer front wall. Sales manager for Carrier Transicold in 1965, FitzGerald suggested relocating the refrigeration evaporator to the outside front wall of the trailer as a way of providing his customers with more cargo space. Traditionally mounted inside the trailer, engineers for Transicold created a new design mounting the evaporator outside the trailer front wall. The original design encased the evaporator within a rectangular box and FitzGerald further suggested cutting the corners of the box at an angle to improve aerodynamics. Road testing of the new design brought to light unanticipated benefits, the driver reported he believed the trailer pulled better than before and that mileage had improved. FitzGerald’s suggestion proved to benefit two-fold, increasing available cargo space and reducing trailer drag.
FitzGerald consulted with leading aerodynamicists to perfect his discovery, but it was not until the oil embargo of 1973 that the industry saw a need to reduce fuel usage. And when they did, FitzGerald was ready and that’s when his sales experience paid off. FitzGerald single handedly let the nation know that changing the trailer shape would mean big dollar savings and he did it one door at a time. He became the founding father of the world’s first production aerodynamic add-on for trailers and with his son, Jim FitzGerald, trained expert in mold development, they went on to develop over 145 different aerodynamic configurations.