Jim Gray senior formed Gray’s Motor Body Works in 1957 after leaving national service, as a car and body repair facility in Fraserburgh, near Aberdeen. In 1960, he was joined by Jim Adams and the company became Gray & Adams. As Gray & Adams grew as a business, they diversified into bodybuilding: building flatbeds and mobile shops, before developing their first insulated bodies on rigids and trailers.
The next big step forward came in 1962, with the introduction of the ThermoKing forced air refrigeration unit from America. In 1966, the company moved to its current head office in South Road in Fraserburgh. By the 1970’s the company was building trailers for the likes of Christian Salvesen, British Home Stores and Marks & Spencer. In 1976, following the introduction of ATP, Jim Gray travelled across Europe to look at the best manufacturing practices and materials which would meet his vision for Gray & Adams.
Finally in 1978, after exhaustive research, Jim and his team created their own 40-foot refrigerated chassis-less trailer using techniques which involved a one-piece structural panel, that would be familiar to Gray & Adams’ customers today.
More factories followed, with Dunfermline in 1976, Northern Ireland in 1981 and Doncaster in 1990.
Gray remained fiercely loyal to his Fraserburgh roots. He could have easily moved his operations south to reduce costs, but Jim had a special bond with his workers, and felt strongly that his business fed and nurtured countless numbers of Fraserburgh families. Not only this, but his own family are a huge part of the company, with multiple family members working in the business, including three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
He is survived by sons James and Peter and daughter Marie.