When you have shed a lot of blood, sweat and tears to build up a highly successful heavy haulage business from scratch over the prior 20 years, you deserve to have some equipment that is way above average in terms of both presentation and functionality.
That’s the theory of Mactrans owner Chris Deen, better known as Mussy, who is a loyal customer of both Drake Trailers and Mack Trucks, whom he maintains have served him and his business supremely well over the last two decades.
Indeed, it’s fair to say that Mussy has ticked all the boxes with his latest Drake purchase. It sports a plethora of new and improved features that make this semi-modular steerable unit rather unique.
For a start, there’s the modular aspect: The 8×8 platform can be extended by attaching either 2×8 or 3×8 (or both) modular sections or ‘clips’ to the rear. This enables the unit to be easily and quickly lengthened to make it a 10×8, 11×8 or 13×8.
A distinct feature that has a similar effect, albeit when carrying lighter loads at the rear, is a set of clever ramp props that enable the extra heavy-duty ramps to be located securely in the horizontal plane, thus effectively lengthening the deck by some 3.5 metres. The effect is enhanced because each ramp is a very generous 1.5 metres wide with only a 300mm gap between the ramps when both decks are fully narrowed.
Another ingenious idea that Mussy came up with is the low-height drop-centre spine which has been masterfully designed by Drake engineers to double as a 2,000-litre full length diesel tank complete with pump and hose reel. With Mactrans operating nationwide, this feature facilitates transcontinental crossings without the need to buy fuel en-route. It also doubles as a (very large) fuel tank for the Yanmar powerpack that supplies hydraulic power for the steering and suspension.
Speaking of which, the full complement of steerable BPW drum brake axles feature double-acting hydraulic suspension which enables individual axles to be lifted for tyre changing or when running lightly loaded. It also has an automatic return to ride height function. Wheels are chromed steel shod with Michelin tyres throughout, including 12 spares.
The steering system operates automatically during turns and can also be actuated manually via a wireless remote controller when negotiating really tight turns or when reversing.
Maintenance time is greatly reduced through the use of a Groeneveld automatic greasing system that periodically delivers a life-giving shot of grease to the moving parts in the steering and suspension components.
A further special feature is the hydraulically adjustable multi-position gooseneck that can be easily adapted to suit varying load weights, thus ensuring correct axle masses on the prime mover and 2×8 dolly if utilised.
Topping it all off is an array of custom Mactrans decorative stainless-steel highlights that superbly complement the high-gloss two-pack paint finish complete with airbrushed scrollwork. Also completing the picture are a row of custom-built stainless-steel toolboxes along each side.
For Mussy, heavy haulage is a life-long passion. As his family was involved in transport, in some ways it was a foregone conclusion that Mussy, with the able assistance of his wife, Yasmin, would follow suit and start his own heavy haulage operation.
They bought their first truck – a Mack Titan that is still earning its keep today – and a tri-axle 3×4 low loader, in the year 2000.
“We worked our way up from that and purchased our first new Drake trailer – a 4×4 quad-axle widener in 2002,” Mussy says.
Every heavy haulage trailer purchased by Mactrans since then has borne the distinctive Drake nameplate on the gooseneck, and according to Mussy, there’s never been a reason to look anywhere else.
“We love the Drake products, we’ve been buying them for a long time,” he says. “The Drake people are really good to deal with too, and we’ve honestly never had any dramas so we’re sticking with them.”
Today, Mactrans has a staff of 65 employees and a fleet of 110 units comprising 41 prime movers and 69 trailers. Much of the company’s work involves shifting mining and earthmoving equipment plus their accessories all over the country. The bulk of their operations are carried out in three states, QLD, NSW and WA.
The brand-new 8×8 platform trailer is the ninth Drake trailer to join the Mactrans fleet. Judging by the success of the business and how happy Mussy is with Drake, it probably won’t be the last.
A very conspicuous and highly specified Drake 8×8 steerable semi-modular widening platform trailer is the ninth Drake unit to join the Mactrans fleet.