Billy's bantam bush-basher

Billy's bantam bush-basher


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WHEN a four-year-old asks his parents for a car, the Matchbox sort is what usually comes to mind.

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WHEN a four-year-old asks his parents for a car, the Matchbox sort is what usually comes to mind.

But for young Billy Beckett the only car that would do was a scaled-down, home-made version of a Toyota LandCruiser.

A photo of Billy's new ride went viral on Facebook last week and has put the West Wyalong family well and truly in the spotlight.

Billy loves driving with his dad Quinton in his Hilux, and when Billy asked his dad for a ute of his own Quinton well and truly stepped up to the challenge.

Rather than go to the shop and buy his son a Matchbox version, Mr Beckett decided to build Billy his own Landcruiser.

When Mr Beckett's wife Tanea posted the photo of the near-complete ute on Facebook last week, many touted him as "father of the year" and Billy as the "luckiest kid in Australia".

Bily's mini ute has been getting a lot of attention. Click on this pic to see more photos in our online gallery.

"I took some photos of my mate's ute, cut down an old billy cart and went from there," Mr Beckett said.

The mini ute was made to scale, but Mr Beckett didn't measure anything.

"I made it by eye from the photos."

The fully functioning vehicle was made mainly using a stick welder and nine-inch angle grinder, Mr Beckett said.

Starting from the billycart base, Mr Beckett - a welder by trade - hand-made each component of the vehicle, including the steering wheel and spotlight controls.

It also features upholstered seats, radio, snorkel, roo bar and sturdy tyres.

"I had to make the control for the spotlight to fit the ute, and with the seats I started with cardboard cutouts, and then made them from plywood and got them properly upholstered," he said.

Finally, a 5.5 horse power Honda motor was fitted to the "more or less" automatic ute.

"It goes about 40 kilometres an hour," Mr Beckett said.

And the ute - which took about three months to build in the backyard, and still has a few finishing touches to go - has been given a fair workout in the past week.

Of course, Billy's given it a fair run bush bashing.

"Billy drives it most afternoons in the scrub behind our place, and his mates have tagged along."

The mini ute isn't Mr Beckett's first model masterpiece.

He's also made a lifesize Thomas the Tank Engine for his boss and his son.

The registered model can travel on rail or road, carries nine people in the back and was made from a Chamberlain 9G tractor.

So what's the next Beckett backyard project?

"I suppose I've gotta make something for my daughter now."

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