Local company builds custom race car trailers
Aug 27, 2014 at 2:40 PM
World-class racing trailers are being built in Sandusky by racers, for racers.
Pegasus Race Trailers on Tiffin Avenue has quietly become a multi-million dollar company with a fast-growing division that builds custom-designed trailers for race cars.
“We are drivers designing trailers for drivers,” Pegasus Vice President Larry McGee said. “There are only four major players building race trailers of our magnitude. I know racing. I was a racer, I have been drag racing since 1998.”
Following his lead was Pegasus owner Dean Wikel and several other relatives who have become involved in racing.
The other companies building racing trailers are companies who know trailers but not racing.
Pegasus knows both.
A company history
Dean Wikel started Pegasus Trailer and Van in 1991 in Berlin Heights. He also owns Erie Group companies, including Erie Blacktop and Erie Construction.
The company built horse trailers — which only made sense as Wikel owns Pegasus Arabians, a large 300-acre horse farm in Berlin Heights, originally called Wikel Arabians.
In 1998 Pegasus Trailers moved to Sandusky.
Horse trailer sales had slowed down and the company was looking for ways to diversify.
McGee suggested building racing trailers. Wikel trusted him, and in 1999 Pegasus launched into hand crafting custom racing trailers.
In 2010 the company changed its name to Pegasus Race Trailers to reflect the change.
These trailers don't just haul horses or cars. Pulled by heavy duty trucks, they provide a home-away-from-home for racers of all stripes..
In January, McGee scored a big endorsement when Pegasus entered into a five-year deal as the official trailer of the world's largest auto racing organization- the National Hot Road Association, known commonly as the NHRA.
The company builds a quality product that fills the needs of a niche market but McGee knows it is great customer service that makes the company a success.
Pierre Charette is part of the family that owns OB Prestige Auto, a race team out of Quebec that runs Lamborghini.
On Wednesday Charette was at Pegasus with their trailer, having cameras installed.
As employees worked on the trailer Charette was on the production floor standing near the team's metallic red Lamborghini.
Charette's team just won a race in Texas in which his brother-in-law hit speeds of 222 miles per hour.
On their way back they stopped by Pegasus.
The family was using a little trailer when they first started in racing. That tiny trailer did not work for them when they were at the raceway, Charette said.
Then they found Pegasus.
“That has made all the difference,” Charette said. “There is nothing more we could have asked for.”
The custom trailer has space to transport three Lamborghini: one on the bottom floor of the trailer and, with a lift gate installed in the trailer, two more can be driven onto the top floor of the trailer.
The bottom floor contains a work station for tools and other supplies used in racing as well as a specialized internal frame that holds several tires in place.
A large awning can come out of the trailer so a racing team can work on a car out of the elements. Hoses of all sorts (electrical, flashlights, air) are at the ready in hidden compartments on the outside of the trailer and automatically reel back in and out of the way when not in use.
Another feature racing teams love is the camera system that allow drivers and the team to monitor the vehicles. The camera systems are a holdover from the horse trailers where they were commonly used by owners to watch their horses while driving.
Phillip Schaeffer on Wednesday was working on construction of a frame.
A red trailer to haul propane was sitting nearby.
They can build a trailer for most any use.
Schaeffer has been a welder and fabricator with Pegasus for five years.
“We all take a lot of pride in what we do,” Schaeffer said. “It has to be perfect or it's not okay.”
A trailer begins with the frame. Any problems there will cause a ripple effect.
“Everything he does is perfect. He is a perfectionist.That is why he is here,” McGee said.
That attention to detail has garnered the business of teams like Sandusky-based ThorSports, known in the NASCAR world, as well as NHRA elite driver Connie Kalitta.
Winning teams, it seems, use Pegasus trailers.