Obituary: Jim Gray Snr, Gray & Adams

Frazerburgh, Scotland: Gray & Adams’ founder, Jim Gray Snr, died on the 10 February 2021, aged 86.

Jim Gray formed Gray’s Motor Body Works in 1957 after leaving national service, as a car and body repairer in Fraserburgh, near Aberdeen.

In 1960, Jim Gray was joined by Jim Adams and the company became Gray & Adams. The company diversified into bodybuilding, mostly flatbeds and mobile shops, before developing an insulated body for rigids and trailers.

The next big step forward came in 1962, with the introduction of the ThermoKing forced air trailer fridge from America. In 1966, the company moved to its current head office in Fraserburgh. By the 1970s it was building trailers for the likes of Christian Salveson, British Home Stores and Marks & Spencer. In 1976, following the introduction of ATP, Jim Gray travelled in Europe to look at the best manufacturing practices and materials which would meet his vision for Gray & Adams.

Gray & Adams’ founder, Jim Gray Snr

“Quality cannot be added on – it must be built in.” he said. In 1978 Jim and his team created their own 40-foot refrigerated chassis-less trailer using techniques which involved a one-piece structural panel, familiar to Gray & Adams’ customers today. More factories followed, with Dunfermline in 1976, Northern Ireland in 1981 and Doncaster in 1990.

Jim Gray’s family are a part of the Gray & Adams with several family members working in the business, including three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

He is survived by his two sons, James and Peter, and daughter, Marie.


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