East Coast Cruise was the very first minitruck event in Australia. Getting the chance to attend this event was an honor especially since 2011 marked the 10th anniversary. I started my journey at LAX airport on a Friday evening and ended up landing in Brisbane, Australia about 24 hours later. The actual flight time was around 14 hours but with layovers and things like that it was a mission in itself.
I was greeted in Brisbane by a group of minitruckers representing No Regrets, Freaks of Nature, and Forbidden Fantasy. I instantly felt right at home especially after the laugh we all shared as I attempted to get in the passenger side of the truck, where for some reason there was a steering wheel.
To this day in Australia, Toyota trucks go by the name Hilux.
After a few days of getting over some serious jet lag, we loaded up our vehicles to make the 850-mile trek from Brisbane down the East Coast of Australia toward the show’s host town—Batesman Bay. We were greeted with bad weather, and the rain made for some dangerious driving conditions. As we crested a hill, the traffic was at a dead stop and we skidded right into the back of a Toyota Hilux. Unfortunately the truck we rearended was in our group and ended up being a total loss. Not even the five-car pile-up we were involved in could stop our convoy though. We rented a few cars and kept on truckin’. We arrived at our halfway point too late to enjoy the pre-show party hosted by Laurie and the gang at the Chop Shop, but we did get to hang out in the shop on Saturday to help them finish load up a few trucks before starting the second half of the trip.
Once we arrived in Batesman Bay, we knew it was going to be a great weekend as trucks packed the parking lots of all the local hotels. We settled in and headed down to the host hotel where the party was in full swing. Hundreds of showgoers hung out and raged well into the night.
Awesome analog air gauges.
The famous "LandBruiser."
The only bodydropped Land Cruiser we know of.
The morning of the show brought even more pouring rain, which had not let up in the past two days. Nevertheless, what seemed like the entire town caravanned down the road to the park where the show was held. The day was packed full of festivities, which started just after roll-in, as staff members measured the height of all vehicles to determine whose was the lowest.
To our amazement, as soon as we parked the gray clouds parted and the sun forced its way through. The show field was packed with Australia’s finest autos. With the rain gone, the battle of the club games began. One such test of mental and intestinal strength was a warm glass of milk and tuna chug… while cross-dressed in women’s clothes. You gotta respect the creativity of these Aussies.
Once the show was wrapped up, we headed for the awards dinner presentation that evening. Held at a swanky banquet club in town, this awards presentation was unlike anything I have ever seen in the States. There was a fully stocked bar, dinner buffet, and the NC guys gave out prizes and awesome gifts all evening long.
I will say that the Australian minitruck scene is alive and thriving. Hats go off to Negative Camber and all the Down Under clubs and businesses that make this show a success. East Coast Cruise is going on 10 years strong with no signs of letting up. If you ever get the chance to make it down to Australia for a show, this is the one to put on the ol' bucket list.
East Coast Cruise
Batesman Bay, Australia
November 25-27, 2011
Kmuter Design Co., The Chop Shop, Down Under Truckin’, Air Ride Suspension, Down Town Kustoms, Ring 911, Classic Alloy Wheels, JSM Customs, Construktive Kustom Industries, EZ Customs
We stopped in at the Twins Town Panel shop. These guys build top-notch minis. They also do
The Chop Shop in Australia is one of the premiere custom shops down under.