Aftermarket modifier the Chelsea Truck Company has landed in Australia and is open for business, with a showroom and workshop located in Sydney.
The renowned British brand is part of a group of companies, including Kahn Design and Project Kahn, founded by automotive designer Afzal Kahn.
Chelsea Truck Company Sydney came about thanks to the enthusiasm and dedication of director Evan Wilson, who saw the Black Hawk Jeep on Kahn's reality tv show, Supercar Megabuild, and approached Kahn to bring the customisation business to Australia.
Wilson said Kahn is incredibly protective of Chelsea Truck Company and its reputation, and though it all came together quickly, there was a lot of work involved.
"We did it in about four months, but there was a lot of communication back and forth. Full profiles of who was involved, how the market is going to unfold, how we're going to protect the brand and a full business plan that fit in with plans going forward," he said.
"The learning curve has been pretty steep, and dealing with Mr Kahn is a matter of trying to keeping up."
Chelsea Truck Company Sydney will produce a small range of core models, including the Black Hawk Jeep, Land Rover Defender and Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen. The designs have a military influence and are aimed at urban drivers who want to stand out in a luxurious yet still rugged vehicle.
The Sydney operation has built its first Black Hawk Jeep, based on the 2016 Jeep Wrangler Sport, and now has a Land Rover Defender underway. Wilson said he has received a number of enquiries already, particularly for the Defender.
The conversion process involves the entire vehicle being stripped, sprayed, then rebuilt in reverse. Though there are 12 standard colours for the Black Hawk Jeep, bespoke options are available. The same goes for the leather seats and interior trims, and the upgrade also includes a new infotainment system with satellite navigation.
The Black Hawk Jeep has burgundy leather seats with gold stitching. The same material covers the roll-bars and arm rests, the air-vent surrounds have been finished in burgundy, as has trim on the glove box, and the standard pedals have been swapped out for drilled metal pedals.
The headlights have been replaced with shadow chrome headlamps and there are 'Tron' ring lights and LED daytime running lights. The exhaust is a quad crosshair system and the whole thing rides on larger 20-inch wheels wrapped in 275/55/20 Cooper LTZ tyres.
The body kit has been designed to make the vehicle look wider and more planted on the road. Changes include a streamlined grille, moulded bonnet, large wheel flares and redesigned front and rear bumpers.
The body kit and most of the interior fittings are made in England, Italy and Germany, and the parts are shipped to Australia for fitment. The exception though is the paint, a scratch-resistant custom design by Kahn himself which needs to be mixed in Australia.
As well as the Chelsea range, the Australian arm will also be able to produce the Kahn Design Range Rover series including the Evoque and Sport. The Dakar Rally-inspired Evoque is around six-months away from being released.
To avoid voiding the manufacturer's warranty, vehicle enhancements are limited to the superficial. However, for the customer who wants further modifications, Chelsea Truck Company Sydney offer a fully bespoke service and can facilitate extra requests.
From engineered upgrades right through to complete, bespoke vehicle conversion packages, it caters for people who already own a vehicle and wish to give it a makeover, or those that want the full package.
The base two-door Black Hawk Jeep is priced at $150,000 for the car and customisation package, while the four-door will set you back $155,000. If you bring your own car, expect to pay around $100,000.
Models purchased new from the dealership come with the manufacturer's warranty, that's not affected by the Black Hawk conversion, and all parts supplied and fitted by Chelsea Truck Company Sydney come with a three-year warranty.