Ryan Hamilton’s passion for 4x4 utes was clearly shown at the Coates Hire Show ‘N’ Shine, taking out the Best Original/Restored Ute prize.
Finding his FJ45 Land Cruiser was a dream come true, so winning the prize was a bonus for the Sydney-sider.
‘‘Watching Roothy (a 4x4 adventurer who features on YouTube) in his ute tackling the tracks when I was 16 years old began my love and dream,’’ he said.
‘‘I wanted the same ute as Roothy and a few years ago my friend told me about their neighbours who had a FJ45 Land Cruiser that had been sitting in their garage for the past 10 years.
‘‘They only wanted $500 for it so I went over and picked it up.
‘‘After two years I had it registered and took it for its first drive, which was one of the greatest days of my life.’’
When Mr Hamilton purchased it, the ute had a F155 petrol engine which he changed to a 24 diesel and turbo kit.
He also changed the front drum brakes to discs from a HJ47.
Other changes to the vehicle saw him add a two-inch lift, mud terrains, ARB bull bar, snorkel, three-inch exhaust and overhead console.
‘‘I want to add a canopy to the ute before taking it on a trip to Cape York next year,’’ he said.
‘‘It was absolutely amazing to win and it just feels unbelievable to accomplish my dream.’’