BOB BEECH RECENTLY TOOK A TRIP TO KING TRAILERS TO HEAR THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS FROM THE WELL-KNOWN MANUFACTURER, AND THEIR VIEW OF AN INCREASINGLY COMPETITIVE TRAILER MARKET.
PHOTOGRAPHY: CRAIG PUSEY
King Trailers Limited is a long-established British specialist trailer manufacturer. Founded in 1962 by Canadian engineer Vern King and based in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, the company grew to be the largest manufacturer of heavy haulage and low bed trailers in the UK. Many heavy hauliers quite literally built their businesses on the backs of King lowloaders: the ability of some early models to soak up all manner of punishment and still come back for more is legendary. A great many still remain in service.
In the 60s King Trailers led the way with knock-out front-end lowloaders. Operators were looking for greater ease of loading, higher capacity, and more usable deck space. The old knock-out back end designs, with their four in-line axles, had reached their limit: heavy haulage crews wanted something that was easier to use. King’s robust designs, in single, twin and tri-axle form, were a big step forward, but removing the neck still involved jacks and muscle power. As a result, a lot of heavy plant was driven over the side and spun around on the bed, especially when the boss wasn’t looking. The introduction of hydraulic goosenecks – which enabled the trailer bed to be dropped onto the ground, before the neck was uncoupled from the bed – changed everything. The King system was both simple and easy to use. They sold in big numbers. Time saved loading a machine was much appreciated by operators: for many, it became a one-man task.