Doonan Trailer Corporation was started by Wendell Doonan in August 1973. Operations began in an outdated service station in downtown Great Bend, Kansas. In August 1974 Doonan Trailer Corporation moved to its current facility at the junction of U.S. Highways 56 and 156, east of Great Bend.
The product line originally consisted of 21’ hopper bottom grain trailers that were marketed as “doubles”. At this time over 1300 of these trailers have been manufactured and sold since 1973. Over time additional hopper configurations were designed, and since the mid-70’s nearly every grain hopper configuration from 21’ single hoppers, to 48’ triple hopper tri-axles has been built.
In 1982, due to the boom in the regional oil field industry, Doonan Trailer Corporation began building a variety of products including oil field floats, water tanks, pressurized vessels, and fire fighting equipment.
In September 1993, Doonan Trailer Corporation began production of platform trailers. Over the years Doonan Trailer Corporation found its niche by producing highly specialized steel drop deck trailers from 42’ to 57’ in length. In 2001 Doonan Trailer Corporation expanded its product line by adding a combination aluminum/steel drop deck trailer with tare weights as low as 9400#.
Since moving into its current facility in 1974, product changes and production volumes have commanded five enlargements to its main building and the addition of three separate buildings. The main manufacturing facilities encompass 72,000 square feet, while the parts storage makes up 7,200, and the administrative offices are housed in 3,200 square feet. These facilities reside on approximately 15 acres.
September 22, 2006 marked the end of an era for Doonan Trailer Corporation. Wendell Doonan, who started the business in 1973, sold the Company’s assets to a newly formed company owned by Michael Gordy, Elgen Reynolds and a third “silent partner”. In an effort to build upon its excellent industry reputation, the trio has elected to name the new company, “Doonan Specialized Trailer, LLC”.
The new owners have 75 years of combined experience in the commercial trailer industry. Most recently, Reynolds and Gordy were a part of the senior management team at one of the largest platform manufacturers in the United States which built nearly 7,000 trailers in 2006. The new Company is in a niche market of highly specialized platform trailers, and its product lines include custom flatbed and drop decks, oilfield trailers, boat trailers, extendibles, and double drops.
On May 16, 2008 Doonan Specialized Trailer, LLC announced that they acquired the assets of Chaparral Manufacturing, Inc. Chaparral had been producing a line of all-aluminum platform trailers in Moundridge, Kansas since 1986. In 2007, the Company produced approximately 400 trailers. The addition of the Chaparral brand allows Doonan to provide its customers with a complete product offering of all-steel and all-aluminum flatbeds, drop decks, and double drop trailers.