In 1916, Kentucky Wagon was mindful of changing tides in America’s growing transportation needs. Kentucky Wagon began building automobile bodies for the Hercules Motor Car Company of New Albany, Indiana. Kentucky Wagon later bought Hercules Motor Cars' assets and moved its auto production operation to 2601 South Third Street in Louisville, Kentucky--a move that made Kentucky Wagon the first automobile manufacturer in Louisville. At that site--which remained the company's primary manufacturing facility until June 2009--the Dixie Flyer motor car was designed and built. The Dixie Motor Car Company manufactured automobiles, delivery trucks, and the two-seat Dixie Firefly--the only known surviving example of which now resides in the Kentucky Trailer Heritage Museum at Kentucky Trailer’s main production plant in Louisville, Kentucky.
R.C. Tway, an early icon of the Louisville business community, purchased the assets of Kentucky Wagon Manufacturing in 1936, renaming it the Kentucky Manufacturing Company. Mr. Tway changed not only the company's name but also its direction, focusing on cutting-edge advances for the transportation industry. Tway focused on new trailer manufacturing, a new market segment as opposed to rail; the preferred mode of commodity transportation. Tway's bold vision set the course for Kentucky Manufacturing Company for over 75 years. Kentucky Trailer is now in its fourth generation of family ownership and management.
During World War II, Kentucky Manufacturing was commissioned by the United States government to produce flatbed trailers for the United States Army. After the war, Kentucky Manufacturing continued its focus on custom trailer manufacturing as a means of serving the country’s evolving transportation needs. Custom manufacturing on a large scale was a revolutionary concept at the time, and Kentucky Manufacturing excelled by designing and building a wide variety of trailers, including livestock, platform, low-boy, logging, chip, and grain trailers.
Today, Kentucky Trailer is the nation’s leading manufacturer of custom moving vans for the moving and storage industry. Kentucky Trailer manufactures trailers for various specialty application markets, fleet companies, as well as motorsports race teams throughout the nation and world-wide.
Throughout Kentucky Trailer you will find engineering expertise with the latest in manufacturing capabilities, cutting edge technology and a dedicated professional staff. The Kentucky Trailer associates take pride in their workmanship where the products assure mission versatility and success from a standard electronics van to a fully custom designed trailer.
In June 2009, Kentucky Trailer made a historic move to its new Company Headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky. This important move has allowed Kentucky Trailer to take on new opportunities and challenges as we build upon a 130 year-legacy that began in1879 at Kentucky Trailer’s original location. At this state-of-the-art, 240,000-square-foot facility, talented craftsmen and women manufacture the highest quality trailers for a variety of customers located throughout the world.
In January 2012, Kentucky Trailer significantly expanded its capacity to produce complete race transporters for the motorsports market under the brand Kentucky High Tech Performance Trailers. This new division is located in Louisville, Kentucky at a new state-of-the-art, 80,000-square-foot facility in conjunction with the Kentucky Trailer Paint & Reconditioning Center. For more than 25 years, Kentucky Trailer produced race transporter shells for aftermarket conversion companies. This strategy met the conversion companies’ needs, yet rarely met the market segment’s overall delivery time frames. To better serve customer needs, Kentucky Trailer initiated plans to design, build, and produce complete race transporters to customers’ exact specifications. Additionally, race transporter shells are produced and held in inventory, which allows for immediate conversion to customers’ unique specifications. This new facility offers full-service paint, decal, and reconditioning for new and pre-owned trailers, truck bodies, tractors, industrial and power equipment, and emergency and public transportation vehicles.
Other unique capabilities provide Kentucky High Tech Performance Trailers with the opportunity to expand while exceeding the expectations of the motorsports market. Facility capabilities include a five bay construction area for completing every facet of trailer production including expandable office workstations and living quarters, custom cabinetry, improved lift gate designs, all-LED interior and exterior lighting, durable storage box designs, a wide variety of generators and HVAC systems and the latest in audio, video,and communication systems. Current and existing customers include Harley-Davidson, Sam Schmidt Motorsports, Ferrari, Traxxas, Patrick Dempsey Racing, Spirit of Abu Dhabi, RDD Motorsports, Bozzuto, RAB Racing, NTS Motorsports, Schmuckers, Rolls Royce, QVC, Gee Bee Construction, Lotus, and Sequoia.