Drake Trailers’ amazing 1:50 scale models
In its 60th year of business, it’s fair to say legendary Aussie trailer manufacturer Drake Trailers doesn’t do anything by halves – but it does do things in 1:50 scale! Cobey Bartels writes
Back in 2010, Drake Trailers was looking at innovative ways to market its trailers, and long-time employee Bruce Hay suggested smaller might just be better.
“We had a lot of Drake Trailer customers who collected diecast and they’d complain that they couldn’t buy a proper Australian truck, they always had to get the US or European models,” Bruce says. “We thought, ‘let’s build some and see what happens!’”
The first run of models was released that same year after Drake decided to go ahead with the idea and break into the diecast scene. “We decided on a trailer and a dolly, but after realising there were no Australian trucks, we worked with Kenworth to produce one,” he says.
The combination they went with was a
Kenworth T908 prime mover with dolly and Drake Swingwing low loader, producing a limited run of 2000.
“We sold all those models quicker than expected and recovered our costs, so we realised there was a demand for this product,” he adds.
Bruce’s simple idea quickly grew into a separate company, Drake Collectibles, which now employs four people and is known worldwide for producing the best diecast truck and trailer models in the game.
“The success and the rapid rise comes as a bit of a shock to me; I thought this would be good but I had no idea that it’d be as popular as it actually is,” Bruce says. “The models are supplied
We sold all those models quicker than expected and recovered our costs.
to the Gordon Ramsay’s and Jeremy Clarkson’s of the diecast world, who judge them.
“In 2011 we won Best New Model from the Toy Trucker Association in the States and in 2015 and 2016 won Best New Diecast Model in the UK.
“We then made an app that offers a complete history of every Drake diecast model ever made, with photos, prices and information. The app won the Best New Innovation in Diecast award in 2017, and we’ve had a lot of people in the industry asking us about it since,” Bruce says.
The 1:50 scale models are popular around the world, from Europe to the United States, despite featuring uniquely Australian truck and trailer combinations.
”In eight years we’ve produced close to 60,000 models and demand is high amongst collectors around the world. We saw a white McAleese prime mover with a blue chassis, one of only 20 made and four available to collectors, sell for $4,500 on Ebay!”
When asked about the meteoric rise of Drake Collectibles and the increasing demand from model collectors worldwide, Bruce sums things up by quoting the founder of exotic Italian automaker Ferrari. “Enzo Ferrari said, ‘you should always build one less Ferrari than the world demands’.”
The future for Drake Collectibles is an exciting one, with more truck brands set to be added to the range, and some special releases to coincide with Drake Trailers’ 60th anniversary.
“We’ve got some big announcements coming, and it’s an exciting year for us as we celebrate the milestone of 60 years in business for Drake Trailers,” Bruce says.
1. A scale of 1:50 and a bit less horsepower, the diecast H&H T909 looks just as schmick!
2. On-site at The Drake Group’s manufacturing facility, the real-world working trailer is ready for delivery, as is the model
3. The artwork might be smaller, but it’s spot on! Far left: ABC Towing’s Western Star 4800 has travelled over 1.5 million kilometres
Above: Lenny Turner – looking forward to stepping into a Peterbilt 388