A trailer firm has revealed the unusual uses people find for their products – including breaking the world land speed record and transporting a unicorn.
Ifor Williams Trailers, who have factories in Cynwyd, Corwen and Deeside, are now the Europe’s most successful trailer maker.
As well as being sold through a network of 50 UK distributors, the award-winning trailers are exported all over the world.
The company has distributors as far afield as Australia and New Zealand – not to mention the former Soviet republic of Georgia, the West Indies, Japan and Africa.
Ifor Williams Trailers are the leading horsebox manufacturers in France and Belgium.
Germany is expected to soon become their number one export country – with Scandinavian countries like Norway and Denmark being growth areas.
The firm hit the headlines when they pitched in to help create a fleet of mobile spas that are the latest must-have accessory for glamping trips in the Netherlands.
Through one of its Dutch distributors, they are supplying 20 horse trailers which are being lavishly kitted out as outdoor ensuite bathrooms complete with a two-person hot tub and shower.
But that’s not the half of it. Among the other exciting projects they’re involved in is helping to power the British bid to smash the sound barrier and break the world land speed record.
Two box vans supplied by Ifor Williams Trailers will play a key role when the supersonic jet car Bloodhound SSC makes its assault on the current record of 763 mph in South Africa in 2017 and attempts to smash through the sound barrier and reach speed in excess of 1,000 mph.
They will be used to carry jet support equipment, including inspection and diagnostic technology equipment and server storage for the mass of technical data.
The company thought they’d seen everything when it came to carrying livestock.
And when Camelot came calling, staff thought it was an April Fool joke – except it wasn’t April 1st.
They needed a trailer to transport a very special creature, Barry the Unicorn.
All became clear when it was explained that the trailer was needed for a television advertisement to promote the National Lottery.
Barry was, of course, a computer generated unicorn but the trailer used in the advertisement was the real thing.
While the TV advert was a bit cheesy, the company’s trailers are also used to make the real thing.
Derby based MCE Engineering has converted a box van into the world’s smallest mobile mini-cheese making factory.
It’s small enough to fit on the average driveway and has been designed to help farmers and other food producers start up in business.
The trailer, which is seven feet high, 10 feet long and just under six feet wide, has been transformed into a fully equipped cheese making facility called The Little Cheesery.
As creameries go, it’s small but perfectly formed – and even has its very own clean room.
The aim is to give farmers and budding food entrepreneurs the chance to try a new business venture at a fraction of the cost and the risk.
Ifor Williams Trailers enjoyed a dose of real life glitz and glamour – going on a UK tour with pop megastar Rihanna.
In 2011 they played a supporting role by providing a box van that was towed behind a luxury tour bus from Chester-based Dale Travel. The bus and the trailer were wrapped in tour branding.
The music theme continued when the cult MTV makeover show, Pimp my Ride UK, came knocking.
Among the vehicles being “pimped” and among was a white Ford Transit van owned by the London-based indie-punk band Playground of Legend.
But the show’s producers went one step further than they had done before by deciding to provide a trailer for the band – and that is where Ifor Williams Trailers came in with a BV64E box-van trailer.
In Worcestershire an events company is delivering drinks with a difference after converting a horsebox into a mobile bar.
Adrian Jones from Decanter Events decided the HB506 model from Ifor Williams Trailers was the perfect vehicle for his new venture – thought to be the first of its kind in the UK.
Meanwhile, Danish horse lover and yoga instructor Sos Fejerskov-Quist, who lives near Copenhagen, has transformed her silver horsebox to create mobile health clinic – not for horses but for treating their riders.
The former biology and gymnastics teacher uses a range of specialised treatments, including yoga, acupressure and breathing techniques, to treat horse riders and their ailments.
Her story was featured in an S4C documentary series about successful Welsh exporters, O Gymru Fach (From Wales), presented by Harry Potter actor Steffan Rhodri, who’s also known for his role as Dave Coaches in Gavin and Stacey.
Another Harry Potter star Warwick Davis flew the flag in his TV travel show – thanks to Ifor Williams Trailers.
The Hollywood actor, Professor Flitwick in the Harry Potter films and who’s in Star Wars movie, drove around the UK with his wife Samantha and their teenagers Annabelle and Harrison in a camper van plus a trailer emblazoned with the Union Jack, in the ITV show, Weekend Escapes With Warwick Davis
Television stardom also beckoned when a group of creative schoolchildren saw their design dreams become reality thanks to Ifor Williams Trailers.
The pupils from the primary school in Cynwyd, , came up with a blueprint for a key prop for a television series for pre-school children.
One of the main characters in The Baaas (or Meees in Welsh) was an opera-singing Greek grand-dad, called Costaas, who worked as a recycling agent.
And that’s where the children came in because Costaas needed a chariot to collect unwanted items so he could turn them into weird and wonderful gadgets.
The chariot was made by the company who have a factory nearby in the village and pupils were invited the studio in Cardiff to see the first episode being filmed by BAFTA-winning TV producer Nia Ceidiog.
The trailers from North Wales have also been given a royal seal of approval.
One of their distributors, Balgownie Ltd, in Inverurie, near Aberdeen supplies the Queen’s Balmoral Estate and they have been awarded a Royal Warrant.
Balgownie have been supplying the Balmoral Estate with top of the range agricultural machinery for the last decade.
On less regal note, the company is playing a supporting for the world’s first totally portable mini-submarine.
Inventor Chris Garner, from Cornwall, spent more than £1.5 million developing the mini-sub – dubbed MSV Explorer Big Foot.
The entrepreneur turned to Ifor Williams Trailers for help to create the perfect vehicle on which to transport his brainchild, which moves on land via tracks like a mini-digger and drives straight from a trailer down a slipway or across a beach into the water.
In another high tech advance, new technology is being developed by Land Rover that would make the iconic Welsh trailers disappear – but there’s no cause for alarm.
Land Rover is working on a see-through trailer concept that would completely remove the blind spot created when towing a caravan or trailer.
Ifor Williams Trailers, have provided trailers that have been used for testing purposes.
According to Land Rover, the transparent view would allow the driver to clearly see vehicles coming up behind and help driver confidence by improving visibility whilst manoeuvring.
The prototype Transparent Trailer system fitted to a Range Rover combines the video feed from the vehicle’s existing surround camera system – which includes the reversing camera and a camera on each wing mirror – with a video from a digital wireless camera that is placed on the rear of the trailer or caravan.
The video feeds are then combined to create the live video images that make the trailer behind appear see-through.
When the trailer is coupled to the towing car, the live video feed would automatically appear in the rear view mirror inside the vehicle.
Andrew Reece-Jones, a spokesman for Ifor Williams Trailers, said: “The uses people find for our trailers never cease to amaze me.
“Providing a trailer to transport a unicorn was certainly one of the most bizarre requests we’ve had.
“Our trailers have carried all manner of animal life over the years and we’ve sold quite a few to zoos in the past.”
“Some years ago one zoo needed a trailer for their giraffes – and for obvious reasons they needed one without a roof.
“Just when we think we’ve seen everything, somebody comes up with a new idea like the smallest cheese factory in the world, a mobile health clinic for horse riders or creating a chariot for a singing, dancing sheep.
“One thing’s for certain, it’s never dull working at Ifor Williams Trailers.”