In 1968, Arrigo (Danny) D’Angelo founded D-Angelo Engineering – and what a 52 years it has been. While much has changed since then, what has remained the same is the company’s commitment to Australian made, with its range of truck and trailer equipment still produced in Melbourne to this day.
Danny came to Australia in 1955, aboard a ship from Abruzzo, Italy. Recently he celebrated his 89th birthday. His son Giulio D’Angelo has taken the reins as Director of the business his father built from the ground up.
When Danny migrated to Melbourne, finding work was tedious. He visited workshop after workshop in the hope of some luck. Though his work in Italy involved working with brakes, cutting metal and welding, at first these skills went unnoticed and he instead spent several months as a cleaner. From there he went on to painting maritime vessels, working with an industrial chemical firm in Geelong and building silo tanks to store wheat.
His first foray into the trucking industry came during the 1960s, when he saved enough money to purchase his first truck. That joy however was only short-lived. Within a month on the road, it was written off by a drunk driver and “flattened like a pizza”. He sold what he could as scrap metal and began restoring the truck.
That incident brought him back to doing factory work, which evolved into semi-trailer manufacturing and repairs. “He began doing general repairs and engineering. He was working for other trailer brands and doing odd jobs here and there. As demand increased, he decided to go out on his own, working from his backyard. That expanded into a small workshop and he kept expanding from there. He was designing his own stuff and even stuff for the opposition,” explained Giulio.
A big win for Danny came when a Victorian trailer manufacturer consulted with him on a trailer design. His custom couplings and bushes showed the benefits of using lighter components as opposed to heavier imports. He closed the deal, with 1000 units ordered. From there, he began focusing on other components too, including fifth wheels, ballrace assemblies, Ringfeder cross members, landing legs, slewing bearings, skid plates and truck and trailer accessories. And with that, D’Angelo Engineering was born. Over the decades, Danny’s engineering expertise has been invaluable.
The business moved to its current site in Laverton North, Victoria, in 2003. Today, D’Angelo Engineering continues to produce a trusted range of truck and trailer equipment, that is still proudly Australian made.