A history of Flexiglass

It’s November 1948. Post-war Australia was ready to prove to the world that it had embraced the modern age. In Fishermen’s Bend, a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, the first Holden car rolled off the assembly line. It was more than a car. It was a symbol of the country’s success.

The Holden 48-215 – also called the FX – was the first car manufactured in Australia. It was robust, stylish, and affordable, and the Australian public loved it.

When Harry Robins laid eyes on the FX in Western Australia the following year, he had an idea. Australia needed a station wagon tough enough to withstand the nation’s unforgiving climate. And so, Flexiglass was born.

In the very beginning

Soon after this life-changing encounter, Harry built his first canopy. He used steam-bent timber to create a frame, filling the gaps with sheet metal panels. His intuition was proved correct, and his early prototypes proved hugely successful. It wasn’t long before Harry was crafting a collection of canopy designs from aluminium sheeting, some of which included sliding windows along the sides. He also began incorporating laminated glass and an interior dome light for added convenience and functionality.

Taking off

Harry’s business grew quickly. In 1956, he designed the world’s first fiberglass vehicle canopy. This model was lightyears ahead of other products on the market and shares many features with contemporary canopies. A few years later, Harry partnered with his two sons and diversified into fiberglass boat building. This change represents the official beginnings of the Flexiglass company.

The Flexiglass name was devised by Harry and his sons. It described the all-new system of fiberglass they had engineered, which, unlike most canopies of the late 1950s, was lightweight, flexible, and extremely robust.

Growth and expansion

Throughout the 1970s and '80s, Flexiglass expanded. In 1972, the company opened branches in South Australia and Victoria. New South Wales and Queensland followed in 1976. Then, in 1982, the first international Flexiglass branch opened its doors in New Zealand.

Although Flexiglass had made a name for itself through its pioneering range of vehicle canopies, the company was driven by a passion for the road and dedication to its customers. So, in 1991, it channelled this energy into an all-new product range: alloy ute trays.

Where Flexiglass stands today

Fast forward to contemporary times, and Flexiglass continues to innovate. In 2017, the brand launched a revolutionary all-round central locking canopy, significantly improving vehicle security for workers and weekend warriors alike.

In 2018, Flexiglass was acquired by Aeroklas Australia, a fellow global leader in auto accessories and gear. In 2020, Flexiglass launched a brand-new website that empowered visitors to customise their products and use the quote cart functionality.

Today, Flexiglass is home to a dynamic product range complete with the iconic fiberglass canopy, alloy ute trays, hard lids, and accessories. The company has come a long way since it launched the world’s first fiberglass canopy back in 1956, yet its innovative spirit and commitment to value remain. It is and will always be a genuine powerhouse in the automotive industry.

Experience the Flexiglass difference

When you choose Flexiglass, you become a part of a rich and inspiring history.

If you are ready to extend the functionality of your 4x4 with a genuine Flexiglass canopy, ute tray, or accessory, shop our product range today. If you have any questions or would like to learn more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Published at: 28-06-2022