Trailer Magazine

1,000 reasons to celebrate

  • From the December 2018 issue.
1,000 reasons to celebrate

As 2018 draws to a close, The Drake Group can look back on a year filled with major achievements. Along with celebrating its 60th anniversary, the heavy haulage specialist has just delivered its 1,000th 4x4 trailer. It was purchased by long-time customer Rob Stribley Transport, which was honoured to share in this exciting milestone.

Since its inception, quality, durability and innovation have been the backbone for the Drake business. Colin A. Drake started Drake Trailers (now called The Drake Group and encompassing the O’Phee Trailers and Drake Collectibles brands) in 1958, with the aim of delivering high quality, locally made low loader trailers to the Australian market.

Throughout its history, clever engineering and the launch of many new and innovative designs have helped to revolutionise Australia’s heavy haulage industry.

“The rows of four range and in particular our Full Widener trailer is a staple product in most heavy haulage fleets in Australia. Over time it has proven to be a cornerstone product in our range,” says Sam Drake, Sales Manager at The Drake Group and grandson of the company’s founder.

Based in Queensland, the Drake Group has been producing its signature 4x4 trailers since day one; with the first 4x4 Full Widener launched in 1985. Sam says it’s a design that has stood the test of time. “The foundations of the Full Widener trailer have hardly changed at all. Most of the improvements have been through the evolution of hydraulics, lighting, axles and steel technology.”

Fittingly, the 1000th 4x4 trailer to be produced by Drake is its iconic Full Widener, delivered to Rob Stribley Transport in mid November.

“The Drake Group is extremely proud of achieving 1000 units of 4x4 trailers, and we look forward to the next 1000 and what they may look like. Most importantly we are very grateful to all the clients who got us here,” adds Sam.

“Rob Stribley ordered his first new Drake trailer in 2005,” says Byron Foss, Technical Sales Representative at The Drake Group. “When Rob passed away in 2011, a young Nathan Stribley took over and the business and has gone from strength to strength. Since that first delivery, Rob Stribley Transport has purchased another 30 new Drake units. The relationship is stronger than ever. Nathan and all of the team at Rob Stribley Transport are a pleasure to deal with.”

Byron has been working closely with the business for the past six years, helping to create heavy haulage solutions that best meet the company’s needs.

According to Nathan, purchasing the 1000th 4x4 trailer by Drake is a privilege. “It is an exciting milestone for all involved. Drake has been very supportive of us as clients over the years and we have formed a very good rapport. We feel a bit like family whenever we deal with Drake.”

The new 4x4 Full Widener will bring added capabilities to the fleet. “This one widens to 3.8 metres, whereas most of our quads only widen to 3.6 metres. In the past few months, we’ve had greater demand for transporting larger equipment such as tippers. From a safety point of view and for customer reassurance, it is better to be able to go that little bit wider,” Nathan adds.

The family business was founded by the late Rob Stribley and his wife Glenys in 1977 with just one truck, doing general freight work. The switch into heavy haulage work began in 1991.

Nathan says the first Drake trailer, a second hand 4x4 Full Widener, entered the fleet in 2000 – and he has never looked back. The company now runs a fleet made up exclusively of Drake trailers and dollies. “Drake has been a very good fit for our company. After my father passed away, my brother-in-law and myself took over the business and moved forward. Our aim was to have a fleet of trailers built by Drake and that’s exactly what we’ve achieved.”

The fleet currently features 16 trailers and nine dollies by Drake, with three more Drake trailers due for delivery in early 2019.

“Our trailers are updated every five to six years. Everything is constantly evolving so it enables us to keep up with new technological developments. In a five-year period, the industry evolves a lot too. For example, a 40 tonne machine would have been considered quite large five years ago, but now we are carrying a lot of 65 tonne equipment. Having a modern fleet enables us to keep up with the demands of the market. Every trailer has a purpose,” explains Nathan.

Based in Wangaratta in north-eastern Victoria, Rob Stribley Transport operates nationally. “We have serviced the mining and construction sectors for many years. More recently we moved into the agriculture and forestry sectors too. In Wangaratta there is demand for work in these fields so it has been a natural transition. When I first started in the business in 1999 we were often a week away from getting home. Expanding into the forestry and agriculture sectors means we can better service our local area,” explains Nathan.

The versatile trailer fleet features a mix of 3x8 and 4x8 Swingwings, widening Low Boys, 4x4 Deck Wideners (and extendables) and 4x4 Full Wideners; along with 2x4 and 2x8 dollies.

“With Drake, we know we are getting a very good product. It gives us longevity so we’ve stuck with the brand, and we always get a good return on them as well,” Nathan adds. “The service is also second to none. Living in Wangaratta, we are not the closest port of a call, but we can call Drake today and have parts here tomorrow.”

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