Chad Silvey
Ballarat, Victoria
Tough Street Cars
1973 Holden HQ 1 Tonne Ute

In Australia, the minitruck craze still hasn't taken off quite like it has in the States. Whether it's the difficulties involved in engineering a vehicle with airbags to meet the stringent Australian laws, or just the high cost involved with air suspension and importing parts, they have a much harder time customizing show trucks down under.

There are few dedicated and populated areas where minitruckers build and show their minitrucks, but across the whole country the minitruck scene is rather scarce. However, the Ute (utility vehicle) as it's known in Australia, is extremely popular. Ford produces the Falcon Ute which has been an icon since the model range started in the early '60s, and General Motors Holden or Holden as it's better known in Australia has their flagship vehicle known as the Commodore. On October 2, 1999, a town in New South Wales Australia known as Deniliquin wrote itself into history claiming the Guinness Book of Records title for the largest parade of registered Utes in the world. This first event attracted 2,839 vehicles across all manufacturers. The event has been staged each year with a new record being set and in 2008 the figure stood at 7,242 Utes (imagine a minitruck show that big with ALL minitrucks). The Deni Ute Muster, as its better known, is one big party with everyone parking their Utes for a weekend of socializing, talking cars, and music.

When we first saw Chad Silvey's Ute we knew that he had some mad skillz when it came to style and customization, even though the platform is out of the norm for our genre. But Chad is a minitrucker at heart and it shows in his 1973 Holden HQ 1 Tonne Ute. Chad bought this Ute in 2002 with intentions of modifying it and attending a few shows.

Chad updated to a later-model 1978 front clip, including hood and fenders. The aluminum tray was sold off and he fabricated a 50x50 RHS zinc tray that was made to sit flush with the chassis so that he could incorporate some rear tubs from a 1932 Ford.

The Deni Ute master was fast approaching and Chad looked to some American trends to make an impact on his ride. As airbrushing wasn't that big on Utes in Oz, Chad decided that was the way to go. He contacted Craig Riddiford from Craig Signs and gave him free range with a design for the 2mm zinc cover he built for the tray. Craig also airbrushed the sub enclosure to resemble eyes, and they cut out a section of the headboard of the tray. Next, they installed gas struts, allowing the tray to tilt to showcase the amazing artwork. Craig began work on a new tray design, which was inspired by a 3D skull Chad had seen in pictures from an American show. To continue the skull theme from the tray, Craig made up some cool 3D skull door trims and airbrushed the 6-inch component speakers to resemble the eyes. To finalize the completion, Chad recently had a final tray design airbrushed and as Craig's workload was overwhelming Chad approached another mate, Bruce Terry from Bruckybrushing, to design a new design. His work is the equal of Craig's and his real-fire flames up the side of the Ute look awesome.

When Chad initially built his Ute he had dreams of one day winning a trophy and maybe a show shoot. Seven years and 250 awards later he has definitely surpassed anything he could have dreamed of. Chad adds that "thanks to the great mates I've met along the way who've helped build the Ute and the support from my girlfriend Julie and family" he is able to continue to do what he loves. Being a huge fan of the minitruck scene in America has definitely helped out with his Ute's success, and he assures us a minitruck build is in his future. We can't wait to see what he comes up with next!