Having admired their work from afar for some time now I was pretty excited when I got the call letting me know I’d be meeting up with owner Victor Takehara of TPD Trailers (www.tpdtrailers.com) for a tour of their manufacturing facility. Through the years I’ve seen TPD trailers in the pits at various motorsports events from the drag strip to the motocross track and at every custom bike and car show in between. I really didn’t know much about them other than their reputation for building a quality unit and the jaw dropping coolness of a couple “stacker” (double decker) trailers we saw on our last visit to the Glamis sand dunes.
I met Victor at the TPD facility located in Sacramento, CA. Before taking a tour of the facility we sat down and talked a bit about the history of the company. In the early 1980s Victor was working building trailers for another manufacturer when his father brought home a piece of composite material used for overseas shipping containers. When his father informed him that this composite material could be made in one piece seamless panels forty-eight feet long and ten feet high, Victor knew immediately he could build a better mousetrap. He figured the use of composite panels in a shear wall application would give trailers superior strength and durability without adding undesirable weight. So it was at that point that Victor decided to open the doors at TPD Trailers in 1984.
In the beginning TPD concentrated on building race car trailers, which would prove to be an excellent proving ground for the company. The design and development of a Perimeter Chassis was a major step forward in TPD history. This innovative new design would take full advantage of the composite panel’s sheer wall strength and include the added benefit of up to 30% savings in weight. All this sounds great on paper of course, but in my experience the biggest difference between one trailer and another has always seemed to be the graphic designs on the side. So it was admittedly with a bit of skepticism that I started the tour.
We began by taking a look at some finished trailers as well as a line of trailers from another manufacturer that TPD is now carrying. After climbing into one of TPD’s Vortech units, Victor pulled a stunt that still has me shaking my head. He jumped and using both feet and with the force of all his weight kicked the wall of the trailer. Now had Victor tried this maneuver on my trailer he’d have found himself outside on the pavement picking splinters out of his rear end and I’d have been left with a sizeable hole in the side of my toyhauler. The wall of the Vortech seemed unfazed so he tried it again and a third time for good measure, but the trailer wall simply wouldn’t budge.
As the tour continued, my skepticism began to quickly fade as I encountered one example after another of quality workmanship and materials. TPD frames begin life as pre primered box tubing as opposed to cheaper I Beam, angle iron or Channel construction. Every frame is mig welded together to form a true monoque structure. Aerospace fastners are used in place of standard screws and rubber torsion axles with New-R-Lube bearings are included on every chassis. The heart of every TPD trailer is the seamless composite wall that offers several advantages over old-fashioned aluminum trailers. Superior strength, reductions in overall weight, durability and a high resistance to heat that requires no insulation are a few of those advantages—plus you can grab some soap and your garden hose and wash the trailer inside and out. While the initial cost of a TPD trailer may be a little higher than some other trailers out there, the cost of ownership over time may in fact end up being lower.
If you are lucky enough to find a used TPD for sale, you’ll find that it won’t last long before someone gobbles it up and it will usually fetch a price close to that of a brand new unit. Because TPD is not a mass production cookie cutter shop you can also get your trailer custom built to fit your needs. One little trinket that really caught my eye was a remote control overhead winch that traveled the length of the unit and allowed the owner to lift his quads up off the floor and place them down exactly where he wanted them without straining his back. A preview look at a set of plans for a stacker trailer that would include options like an observation deck with railing left me hoping my next lottery ticket would be the one.
You’ll regularly see TPD trailers in the pits at NASCAR, NHRA, IRL, SCCA, USAC, and AMA motorsports events. The trailers have become very popular with the custom motorcycle and car show crowd as well as the Off Road and Sand Toys set. TPD has also built specialty trailers for NASA, Lawrence Livermore Laboratorys, Predator Drone, 3D Imaging and the Hollywood movie industry. This impressive list of clientele really came as no surprise to me because I found that TPD is in fact building a better mousetrap. If you are in the market for a new hauler, do yourself a favor and check out what TPD Trailers have to offer.
For more information on any TPD trailer please call 916-381-0532 or visit www.tpdtrailers.com.