First Gear
 

Company History

 

First Gear started business in 1992 in Dubuque, IA. with a plan to produce the most authentically detailed, scale model diecast metal trucks available to the collector market, and at a price the collector could afford.  Innovations in the areas of packaging and cab chassis design, direct imprinting of graphics onto the vehicle surface, and a determination to follow factory specs as close as possible in miniature, separated the company from its competitors and brought an immediate and favorable response from diecast truck collectors literally worldwide.

Initial product introductions consisted of popular truck models from the 1950s and 1960s, each one officially licensed by the respective original equipment manufacturer.  The first truck model was a ’51 Ford cab/chassis with various interchangeable body options, including dry goods van, tow, and stake sides. This was followed by a ’52 GMC cab/chassis and additional new body options.

By the end of their first year in business First Gear was experiencing growing pains. More space was needed, so the decision was made to re-locate to the rapidly growing industrial community of Peosta, IA., located 15 minutes west of Dubuque conveniently adjacent to U.S. Hwy 20.

As the popularity of First Gear authentic diecast replicas continued to spread, the product line quickly grew to include horse-drawn wagons, street rods and vintage cars, current model trucks, and novelty coin banks replicating vintage fire alarms, fire helmets, oil cans, etc.

In 1995, with growth continuing at a steady pace, and office and warehouse space once again becoming an issue, the decision was made to move from the rented office and warehouse facility it had been occupying and build a new state-of-the-art facility just a block away.

Today this building continues to serve as the corporate headquarters, housing all company operations including graphics, engineering, consumer service, sales, shipping and warehousing.

The product line since then has further expanded to include heavy construction replicas, plush toys, custom ornaments, and an all new product line resulting from the recent purchase of the William Britain (W. Britain) toy soldier business.

W. Britain is a more than 100 year old company with British roots that is famous for plastic and metal historical figures in both gloss and matte finishes.  First Gear purchased this company in 2005 with an eye toward not only improving and growing the existing product line, but also developing cross-over products that could be utilized in the First Gear product line.

Our collector clubs (both First Gear and W. Britain) have literally thousands of loyal members world-wide and our websites are among the most popular in their respective industries.

First Gear is recognized world-wide as a leader in the custom replicas industry in terms of product quality, service, and innovation, and the company has no intention of relaxing its efforts in any of these areas as we look forward to continued growth and excellence.

Whether you are a collector, or a corporate entity looking for top shelf premium and promotional products, we appreciate your interest in First Gear products and sincerely welcome the opportunity to serve you

First Gear started business in 1992 in Dubuque, IA. with a plan to produce the most authentically detailed, scale model diecast metal trucks available to the collector market, and at a price the collector could afford.  Innovations in the areas of packaging and cab chassis design, direct imprinting of graphics onto the vehicle surface, and a determination to follow factory specs as close as possible in miniature, separated the company from its competitors and brought an immediate and favorable response from diecast truck collectors literally worldwide.

Initial product introductions consisted of popular truck models from the 1950s and 1960s, each one officially licensed by the respective original equipment manufacturer.  The first truck model was a ’51 Ford cab/chassis with various interchangeable body options, including dry goods van, tow, and stake sides. This was followed by a ’52 GMC cab/chassis and additional new body options.

By the end of their first year in business First Gear was experiencing growing pains. More space was needed, so the decision was made to re-locate to the rapidly growing industrial community of Peosta, IA., located 15 minutes west of Dubuque conveniently adjacent to U.S. Hwy 20.

As the popularity of First Gear authentic diecast replicas continued to spread, the product line quickly grew to include horse-drawn wagons, street rods and vintage cars, current model trucks, and novelty coin banks replicating vintage fire alarms, fire helmets, oil cans, etc.

In 1995, with growth continuing at a steady pace, and office and warehouse space once again becoming an issue, the decision was made to move from the rented office and warehouse facility it had been occupying and build a new state-of-the-art facility just a block away.

Today this building continues to serve as the corporate headquarters, housing all company operations including graphics, engineering, consumer service, sales, shipping and warehousing.

The product line since then has further expanded to include heavy construction replicas, plush toys, custom ornaments, and an all new product line resulting from the recent purchase of the William Britain (W. Britain) toy soldier business.

W. Britain is a more than 100 year old company with British roots that is famous for plastic and metal historical figures in both gloss and matte finishes.  First Gear purchased this company in 2005 with an eye toward not only improving and growing the existing product line, but also developing cross-over products that could be utilized in the First Gear product line.

Our collector clubs (both First Gear and W. Britain) have literally thousands of loyal members world-wide and our websites are among the most popular in their respective industries.

First Gear is recognized world-wide as a leader in the custom replicas industry in terms of product quality, service, and innovation, and the company has no intention of relaxing its efforts in any of these areas as we look forward to continued growth and excellence.

Whether you are a collector, or a corporate entity looking for top shelf premium and promotional products, we appreciate your interest in First Gear products and sincerely welcome the opportunity to serve you.

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