Trailer Magazine

Showstopping display

  • From the July 2019 issue.
Showstopping display

At the recent Brisbane Truck Show, the Drake Group wowed visitors with a mammoth display of stacked trailers that showcased the manufacturer’s workmanship and attention to detail.

At this year’s event in mid-May, the Drake Group went for a slightly different set-up, with the business set across two separate stands – one to highlight Drake Trailers, O’Phee Trailers and the Boxloader, and the other focused on the Drake Collectibles brand, which this year celebrated its 10th anniversary.

At the trailer stand, the Drake deck widener and O’Phee BoXLoader were the stars.

The deck widener was showcased in a variety of different configurations which highlighted various suspension types, axle configurations, gooseneck arrangements, ramp configurations, and other different options offered by the manufacturer such as automatic greasing systems or various lighting  systems.

“We tried to showcase the versatility we offer in our deck widener,” says Khali Lake, Group General Manager. “The deck widener is a high-volume selling model and is very versatile. Most heavy haulage operators will have a deck widener within their fleet. The ones on show were all customer’s trailers, so they were highly customised for specific clients. You can take the bones of our trailers and really customise it for your needs. If you want it, we can do it.”

Also displayed was a 2x8 dolly, the first to be manufactured by Drake with BPW axles. “We have a long association with BPW, just haven’t used it in this model before. This dolly features our own walking beam suspension, which was traditionally done using other axle brands. Our customer requested BPW for this particular model. BPW is German engineered, really reliable and low maintenance. It’s something we’ll now offer going forward,” Khali says.

According to Khali, most trailers manufactured by Drake Trailers feature some level of customisation, but are still built based on the same tried and proven DNA. “Most of the time with our designs, particularly our common models, customers will leave here with something different. These changes often make a big difference for the customer to personalise their trailer and we are always happy to accommodate them. With the deck widener, 80 per cent of what we do in a trailer will be what we consider standard, and the other 20 per cent is customised. If you line up a heap of deck wideners, they’ll all look different but share the same highly engineered main frame. These sorts of trailers are a big investment for a small to medium business. It’s rewarding to work with our customers from the initial concept to the look on their faces when they see the trailer for the first time.”

By stacking its trailers up to three high, the Drake Group was able to maximise the space to showcase a higher volume of trailers. The display even included a trailer flipped on its side and suspended in the air and another around two metres off the ground, allowing visitors to walk underneath and appreciate the level of workmanship. “There were a number of cranes involved in setting up for the show. This helped give the stand that extra wow factor. Having trailers flipped, stacked and up in the air really gave people an appreciation of the engineering that goes into products of that calibre,” adds Khali.

For the O’Phee brand, it was all about the BoXLoader. On display was the new Step-Over model, which was unveiled for the first time for the Australian market. Developed by O’Phee Trailers together with BoXLoader in France, the new Step-Over concept features a different leg configuration. “Rather than the traditional dagger leg, where the leg comes straight down, in the Step-Over model, the leg folds over. It is designed for greater stability; and when loading a container off the trailer, it also allows for another trailer to go underneath the leg. It allows a really simple system for containers to be loaded off one trailer and onto another. The Step-Over option makes the overall combination stronger and more versatile, and the overall weight of the unit means operators can carry more payload,” explains Khali.

Representatives from BoXLoader in France, including owner Vincent Sastre, visited Brisbane for the show, taking feedback from the Australian market to further refine its product for our market’s unique needs.

At the Drake Group’s retail stand, it was all about Drake Collectibles. The stand was themed around the 10 year revolution of the business, showcasing the whole concept, including the design and evolution of the models. “We really wanted to celebrate this brand. We released our 10 year anniversary model at the show and it sold out within an hour. We also released a new model – the Kenworth T900 Legend model in association with Paccar. There were 100 of these available on the day, and when the doors opened, we had a line-up waiting. It created a huge amount of interest,” says Khali.

Drake released model number one of the T900 Kenworth collectible on eBay the night before the show to raise money for the Cancer Council. It was sold for $4000 and the Drake Group did a presentation of the cheque to the Cancer Council together with Paccar, which matched the donation with an extra $4,000. 

Khali commended the Brisbane Truck Show organisers, the Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA). “They did a phenomenal job in organising the show and the whole of Truck Week, with nearly 40,000 people coming through the doors over the course of the four days. It created a lot of hype around commercial road transport and I think it gave the general public a bit more of an appreciation for the industry. For the Drake Group, the show was hugely successful. It really consolidated the Drake Group and the bringing together of the brands under the one banner, which we launched at the previous Brisbane Truck Show.”

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