Hi I’m John Bakker in 1996 I established Victorian American Imports and its quite interesting how it came about.
I just want to give you a little bit of a rundown on the history of where it all began. because it does affect you and your ownership of your American Dream Car
I used to have another company called Rival Marine in fact I still do own it and it is basically an inboard ski boat shop.
I used to run it part time, and worked elsewhere as a fitter and turner. Back in 1992 or 3, I was involved in powerboat racing and saw one of these American Chevy pickups at one of the race boat meetings and fell in love with it. It was awesome!!
So, in ’95 I went over to the States with another guy and we bought 2 of them together, we brought them back into Australia and had them converted by someone in Melbourne.
After about 13 weeks we got the cars back and I was very disappointed in what I finished up with. So, having a mechanical background and being a perfectionist for quality , I fixed up most things I wasn’t happy with as best I could because there is really only so much you can fix after the job has been stuffed up by someone else!
I eventually sold the vehicle and bought another one in from the States which I converted myself. And to the quality and standard that I wanted, like I said I am a stickler for quality workmanship!
My friends and other boat competitors in the powerboat sport started asking me, “Where’d you get it? Can you get me one?” and before I knew it I had 6 to do.
So, here we are in this small workshop fixing, repairing and building boats with fibreglass and so on in one corner and, in the other corner we’re converting Chevy pickups, so, pretty much that’s the beginning of it.
Little did I know then that today I would be the owner and director of Victorian American Imports, Rival Marine and the newly formed American Automotive Australia
With my company’s roots involved in top boat level racing, (we still retain Australian Racing Records not yet beaten) to achieve those unmatched results there has to be a high level of engineering and development. That and my stickler for quality and perfection has been passed on to produce a top quality, world class left to right hand drive conversion.
And this is not just a play on words, I am a stickler for quality! Ask my staff and more importantly read the testimonies of my clients, some have bought multiple vehicles from me over the years!
In early 2000’s the industry was quite messy and there was all sorts of “weird and “wonderful” things happening, with rising complaints the Federal Government In 2003 began to bring in regulatory changes and one of those was the introduction of the Registered Automotive Workshop Scheme (R.A.W.S system).
For us, this was great news! Because it meant the shady import convertors would have to conform or close up shop.
It was at this time my company, Victorian American Imports set the industry standard by becoming the first Australian Company to be approved to convert American pickups and SUV’s to right hand drive. In fact we became the benchmark for the whole industry. Something I am proud of and proves that integrity and quality will always outlast compromise and poor quality.
Since then, Victorian American Imports has had a number of other firsts, including the introduction of the Chevrolet Suburban, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade range to the Australian market.
We are now one of the largest importers of GM vehicles within Australia, Victorian American Imports—American Automotive Australia has also expanded internationally and is now exporting Right Hand Drive Conversions to the world market.
The full range of Chevrolet Silverado, Chevrolet Avalanche, Chevrolet Suburban, Chevrolet SSR, GMC Sierra, GMC Yukon, Dodge Ram, Cadillac Escalade and Hummer H2′s are now available through Victorian American Imports—American Automotive Australia.
Our range of conversions includes:
|Chevrolet Silverado, Suburban, Tahoe, Camaro, Corvette|
|GMC Sierra Denali, Yukon,|
|Cadillac Escalade and Escalade EXT|
|Dodge Ram, SRT 10,|
|Ford Mustang and Cobra|
So, I hope that has helped to get to know me and my passion for perfection.
I really want to convey to you that this is a “safe” place to buy your “American Dream Car” and I will do everything I can to help you fulfil that dream.
Some other stuff about me and my companies
I have a team of experienced engineers and tradesman with outstanding industry experience to complete the right hand drive conversion on your American Dream Vehicle.
I just love the American Muscle Cars
The Pick Ups are built big to cope with the huge demand on towing up to 9.8 tonne with large payloads whilst remaining comfortable and economical to drive.
The American Sports Cars with their 2 door sports coupes and sedans are built with powerful engines designed for high-performance driving.
The American SUV’s Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon have an increased interior space over any other imported SUV’s. Most mid-size and full-size SUVs include three rows of seats with a cargo area directly behind the last row of seats to cope with large families or large camping trips.
Whether you are purchasing one of our many American Vehicles in stock, bringing in your own American Vehicle for us to convert, or asking us to find a vehicle in America for you, Victorian American Imports—American Automotive Australia can handle all the importation, customs and shipping on your behalf.
We are an Australian leader in American Car Imports and Sales with more than 30 American Vehicles on site at any one time, don’t just take my word for it, check out the rest of my web site, listen to what my customers say, or come and test drive one of our many American Vehicles in stock, tour the workshop and see the quality of our conversion’s and engineering for yourself. You will not be disappointed.
I have included here answers for the most commonly asked questions
IS YOUR ENGINEERING AND CONVERSION PROCESS DONE IN AUSTRALIA?
Yes, the entire conversion process takes place at our Traralgon workshop. Our team of highly experienced technicians and compliance officer dismantle, convert and reassemble the vehicles on site. Although there are some parts ordered from overseas, every progression of the conversion process is done in house- including the auto-electrical component of the conversion.
DO YOU USE ANY “CROSS-OVER” PARTS TO LINK ORIGINAL DRIVE TO THE RIGHT HAND SIDE?
No. The drive is fully right hand, including steering shaft, steering box, pitman arm, linkages and all other associated controls and parts. Click on the CONVERSION PROCESS page for a comprehensive answer.
WHAT SORT OF WARRANTY DO YOU OFFER?
We are proud to back our vehicles and the conversion by offering the only UNCONDITIONAL WARRANTY in the industry. When we say unconditional, we mean it! Anything that goes wrong (conditions apply)with the vehicle it will be repaired in the first year or 30,000km (15,000km or 6 months for conversion only vehicles) whichever comes first. We do not ask that you bring the vehicle back to us for service, but rather any work done be carried out by qualified technicians. If you are happy with whom you currently use to service and maintain your vehicles, then so are we. We also offer a 2-4 years of extended warranty under the National Warranty scheme.
**”UNCONDITIONAL WARRANTY” for the full copy of our warranty please click on this link and download our Victorian American Imports Pty Ltd Warranty Policy
CAN I VISIT THE WORKSHOP AND SEE THE CONVERSION PROCESS FOR MYSELF?
Of course! We welcome visitors and conduct tours of the workshop. In fact I encourage you to do this as it will instil confidence and visual proof of our engineering and high standard of quality
DO YOU HAVE QUALITY ASSURANCE?
Yes we do and if you check the Conversion Process page you will read and can listen to a video I did on that subject We continually evaluate and monitor our processes to ensure we bring you the finest quality in engineering and service provision in right hand drive conversions. We utilize a Quality Assurance process to ensure we meet the ISO 9001:2001 Quality Assurance Standard.
CAN I IMPORT MY OWN VEHICLE AND BRING IT TO YOU TO CONVERT?
Yes. We can also assist you with all that is involved with the import process from start to finish. We can act as a signatory, do the import approval and organise all the transport, shipping and handling necessary. A brokerage fee is charged for this work.
CAN YOU GET ME A SECOND HAND VEHICLE FROM THE US AND CONVERT IT?
We have relationships with US suppliers and transport businesses that act on our behalf. They can search for the vehicle that best suits your needs. We can organise for them to buy it privately, at Auction or in a Car lot. We can again, handle all the importation and transport processes necessary and guarantee you will get the vehicle you have requested.
ARE THERE ANY DIFFICULTIES ROAD REGISTERING IMPORTED VEHICLES IN AUSTRALIA?
In short, no. To date, only South Australia’s motor vehicle registration requires an additional engineer’s certificate. But it is important to know that the Federal Department of Transport have a set of rules governing every vehicle make and model in Australia. These rules are called “compliance”. Every vehicle sold at Victorian American Imports—American Automotive Australia comes with it a “Customer Information Notice” (CIN) which is a legal notice only issued by a registered compliance signatory. Imported and converted vehicles must have a CIN when registering your imported vehicle and do not require any other certificates. Ask us for more detail