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

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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

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