Half a century and batting on

Veteran trailer builder, Graham Lusty, is celebrating a monumental milestone – 50 years in the trailer manufacturing industry this year.

Graham Lusty was born and raised at Nyah West on the Murray River in the northern reaches of the Mallee district of western Victoria.

From an early age he developed an interest in mechanical things including cars, trucks, tractors and trailers.

“I was drawn to machinery when my father taught me to weld and I built my first trailer 50 years ago in 1971,” Graham says.

“Early on in my career, I would fly a light aircraft to my rural customers’ farms to complete servicing and repairs on their trailers.”

Since then, Graham has started a range of trailer manufacturing companies including G&J Lusty, Lusty Allison and Lusty EMS, before establishing Graham Lusty Trailers (GLT) in Brisbane in 2009.

Over the years, Graham has also spent time passing down his knowledge and passion for trailers to others – with several generations of apprentices now part of the GLT family.

Graham relates that some of the biggest changes he’s seen are the advent of lightweight aluminium trailers and the longer, higher capacity trailers that now operate under Performance-Based Standards (PBS).

“I didn’t build my first aluminium trailer until 1981,” he says.

“Early on, I was only building single trailers and would never have believed they would get to the size and length they are now.

Further to the topic of higher productivity vehicles, Graham says GLT has been heavily involved in PBS right from the very beginning and was one of the first manufacturers to produce PBS approved B-doubles.

As for who he admires in the industry, Graham says he is extremely proud of his daughter, Fiona Lusty, who has been working with him for many years, and is now Chief Business Officer.

“Not only is she keeping the legacy of Lusty alive in the trailer manufacturing industry, but she also brings a new, modern approach to our manufacturing,” he says.

“As a strong role model in our industry, she is driving our robotics and automation methodology.

When he’s not building trailers, Graham can often be found at various racetracks around the country. In fact, he and his brother John, also a trailer builder, teamed up as privateers to race a Commodore at the Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000 over eight consecutive years from 1987, achieving respectable mid-field finishes.

Graham has also built many race transporters for the likes of Moffat, Brock and Perkins.

Graham says one of his greatest pleasures is building enduring relationships with his customers.

“I am now seeing sons and daughters of our early customers purchasing trailers from GLT,” he says proudly.

Industry Icon
Made possible by Smedley’s Engineers. Industry Icon is a series dedicated to honouring the unsung heroes of the commercial road transport industry.