American Car Imports Australia


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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:


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