Drake Trailers

Celebrating 60 Years of The Drake Group

trailer manufacturers

They say that quality stands the test of time, and we’d like to think that there’s no better proof of this than The Drake Group celebrating its 60th birthday. Joining the likes of Madonna, Pizza Hut and NASA, The Drake Group was originally founded in 1958 by Colin Drake, who moved from Victoria to Queensland to start a trailer repair business.

Seeing an opportunity in the market for locally made low-loaders, he started manufacturing a range of models and The Drake Group was born. We quickly differentiated ourselves from others available by making our heavy haulage trailers extremely strong and versatile. Models such as the Swingwing and Full Widener helped change the way trailers were seen in the country and offered transport companies more flexibility and range for their services.

The Swingwing widener trailer turned many heads in the industry. Its name originated from how the outer decks opened out like wings using a hydraulic system. This offered an option for freight loads of 50 to 100 tonnes. There was nothing like it on the market when it debuted in 1969 and the popular design has undergone many revisions and improvements since. Even today it’s still one of the most popular parts of the Drake Groups’ entire line, with variations of the concept being developed for different infrastructure and state operating requirements.

The steerable platform trailer came in 1980 and likewise was a milestone in design and engineering. This was the first Australian-built, making a huge change in the industry as this type of trailer was previously only available as an expensive overseas import. Manufacturing locally meant that, for the first time, a newly purchased steerable platform trailer was already compliant with local regulations in regards to axle widths and other vital specifications.

Moving with the times

With these and other significant successes under their belt, The Drake Group moved to a purpose-built manufacturing facility in Wacol in 1992 and has continued to operate out of there since. The business has stayed a family operated affair, with Colin’s son John Drake taking a Managing Director role in 1991 and with many other family members joining the group since including Business Development Manager Sam Drake and Projects Manager Maggie Nilson.

The company has grown even further with the acquisition of O’Phee Trailers in 2015. The two companies shared very similar interests and dedications to customer service, quality and innovation in the way they built trailers for the burgeoning market and saw that they could both achieve more by joining forces. With Drake Trailers focusing on the heavy haulage market and O’Phee Trailers on the general industry, the combined Drake Group now works together to service clients of all sizes across the country.

Also forming a part of the Drake Group is Drake Collectibles, offering branded merchandise and specially created die-cast models of their most popular trailers. The latter has proven to be particularly popular with collectors and dedicated trailer enthusiasts around the world and are a great way to commemorate the continuing evolution of the company’s engineering skills.

Through the entire life of The Drake Group, the company has recognised that it’s the drivers who are out on the road with their trailers that are vital to their success. Feedback and suggestions from drivers have continued to push The Drake Group’s design and engineering teams to innovate further with each new trailer that is made. It’s a policy that will continue to steer The Drake Group well into the future. To see how The Drake Group can help your business move, contact us today. 

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