Ram 1500 Conversion Work Now ‘Round The Clock In Australia

Walkinshaw Is Working 24 Hours To Fill Orders

The Walkinshaw Group in Australia, once responsible for the hottest Holden models sold in Australia, has diversified its business in the country. For a few years now, it’s also converted left-hand-drive Ram 1500 pickup trucks to right-hand drive for local sale.

Business is booming and the company said it’s now running conversion shifts 24 hours a day to keep up with demand for the big rigs. This year, Walkinshaw expects it will convert 7,000 vehicles total to right-hand drive for local sale.

In the process, it’s provided somewhat of a stay for auto manufacturing jobs. The country’s auto production sector infamously folded throughout this decade as automakers pulled the plug on numerous production plants.

According to Australia’s CarAdvice, work began in 2015 on right-hand-drive Ram 1500 conversions with just 30 workers. Now, Walkinshaw as 150 workers running around the clock. The wait list for one of the full-size trucks has grown to four months. The company has also come a long way in the conversion process itself. Originally, it took workers three days to swap the steering wheel and other essential components to the other side of the truck.

Now, the timeline is down to 12 hours per pickup.

Walkinshaw doesn’t only handle Ram 1500 models, however. The Holden Special Vehicles division, which Walkinshaw operates, is responsible for right-hand-drive Chevrolet Silverado pickups in the country, too.

Walkinshaw just converted its 1,500th right-hand-drive Ram truck to right-hand-drive, and the company expects it will sell close to 3,000 pick-ups this year. When Walkinshaw started converting Ram trucks, the forecast was said to be 500 to 1,000 Ram vehicles per year. The drive-away price for a right-hand-drive Ram 1500 is $79,950 AUD. It’s based on the Ram 1500 Classic, rather than the all-new 2019 Ram 1500.

The last time an auto assembly plant ran for 24 hours in Australia was the now-shuttered Holden production line in Elizabeth, South Australia, back in the early 2000s. At that time, Holden produced 13 variants of the iconic Commodore. These days, vehicle production in Australia is all but extinct, as Toyota, Ford and General Motors have all ceased building vehicles there.

Ram HD conversions are also sold in the Australian market. The asking price for a Ram 2500 HD with a 6.7-litre turbo-diesel Cummins six cylinder is a steep $139,500 AUD, while the Ram 3500 HD is priced at $146,500 AUD.

Written by Manoli Katakis

Muscle Cars & Trucks was founded by Manoli Katakis - an automotive media veteran that has been covering the latest car news since 2009. His journalism has uncovered dozens of major product changes, updates, plans, and cancellations long before automakers were ready to make things official.

Some highlights over the years of his reporting include the uncovering of the Zora trademark before anybody else reported on the coming of a mid-engine Corvette, as well as the dead-accurate reporting of the coming of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, two years before it hit the market, and even before the debut of the concept vehicle. This type of reporting has immediately continued here, with reports of the original seventh-generation Camaro plans being shelved, as well as what's in store for the Chevrolet Silverado.

Some of his work can be found on massive automotive media outlets, such as Motor1. He also has been a guest on the 910AM Radio Station with Detroit News auto critic Henry Payne, as well as the enthusiast-oriented Camaro Show podcast.

Over the years, Manoli has interviewed various automotive industry titans, leaders, and people that make things happen otherwise. These include figureheads such as GM CEO Mary Barra, GM President Mark Reuss, automotive aftermarket icon Ken Lingenfelter, Dodge firebrand Tim Kuniskis, along with various chief engineers of vehicles such as the Ford F-150 & Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro & Corvette, and many more.

At MC&T, Manoli is taking his journalism expertise, deeply planted sources, driving abilities, and automotive industry knowledge to new levels, covering more vehicles and brands than ever before. This is the place where you will continue to read groundbreaking stories about American performance vehicles, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles. Here is where you’ll also read insights and quotes from various automotive subject matter experts on the latest relevant products, as well as some of the latest official news from their manufacturers.

Fun facts: he also once beat Corvette Racing driver Tommy Milner in an autocross with a Chevrolet Bolt EV. The biggest vehicle he’s ever driven is a John Deere mining truck. Besides a go-kart, the smallest vehicle he’s driven has been a Hyundai i10. He’s also spent time in the cockpit of various American performance vehicle icons, including the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Dodge Challenger Demon, and Ford Mustang GT350R. He has reviewed dozens of trucks, SUVs, and performance vehicles over the years.

One of his favorite new vehicles on the market today happens to be the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison. He is also a card carrying member of the Sports Car Club of America, and regularly participates in Detroit Region autocross events.

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