Crushed T3 Syncro - advice needed

My 1992 T3 Syncro Safari camper was hit by a falling tree in the recent Sydney storms.

Before the tree fell, the running gear was in good shape, the front-end had been rebuilt and a reconditioned VC fitted. The body was in need of some work and that was to be the next project.

The tree was in an elevated front yard and fell across the Syncro onto the street. A branch broke a side window, the pop-top was cracked, and the rear of the body folded, likely after the suspension bottomed out. One tyre bead seal gave way. All doors, including the side sliding door and the rear hatch, still open and close normally. There was no insurance.

I spoke to a body shop about cutting out the rear end and replacing it from another body shell, but they don’t think this is possible as the monocoque is compromised to an unknown extent.

I think there are only two remaining options:

  1. Give up and sell all the parts I can salvage, not my preferred option. I have no idea what all the Syncro specific parts are worth, but I hate the idea of a T3 Syncro biting the dust.

  2. Obtain a 2WD T3 in good shape and for a reasonable price, preferably another camper, and convert it to 4WD using all the Syncro specific parts. GoWesty have done this a number of times ands there are a number of links and videos that show this is possible.

Advice, comments, and any other ideas very welcome.



Gee that’s a thought break. I would look at a donor and van. I guess it depends.

GoWesty have done it at least 12 times but I don’t know who to approach in Australia who may have done it before.

Personally I would try option 2 and build a new van (I am a mechanic). Depends on what skill set you have or how much money you are prepared to throw at it.

No insurance?? Whose tree/property was involved. If not your own (and maybe even if it was your own), the property’s public liability may cover it, especially if you can demonstrate (? arborist) that the tree was already compromised. The van itself does not necessarily have to be insured.

This conversation on the Brickyard mentions 120 hours for a conversion of a 2wd if you know what you are doing. I have a quote from a local mechanic who has done some work for me and is prepared to take on the job. I asked for a quote for 160 hours work. So I guess it depends on finding a good candidate at the right price, preferably a pop-top camper.

I don’t think the tree was compromised, my brother-in-law who was looking after my van said that 4 trees in the row of 3 houses all came down. They broke off, the roots did not come out of the ground. A couple in one back yard went through the house roof, and the one in a front yard unfortunately fell on my van. I will check with my solicitor about the 3rd party claim possibility.

Just thinking out loud but I have a Syncro that I am thinking of selling. I would like to keep the gearbox but didn’t want to wreck it as it is complete. Body is rough though, you would need to have a look at it but you could swap in your drivetrain and the rest is already a Syncro. It is a 1990 2 seater white window van tin top but will also require body work and a respray. It was a daily driver but I have let the rego lapse. I am on the northern beaches of Sydney,


Hi Steve,

Sorry to hear about the damage to your syncro.

Have you progressed any further with repair?

There was a guy on the Central Coast at Tuggerah that regularly cuts and shuts sections of 4wd Utes to repair them after severe damage with roll-overs with 4WDs as insurance just would write them off.

He would just unpick welds align everything and replace sections. He fixed a mates 69 kombi which had a huge frontal collision with buckled roof and floor.

H Scott,

No progress so far, just continuing to explore options for repair or transfer of components to another shell.

If you had the contact details of the guy in Tuggerah I would be very interested to talk to him before I move the syncro from Sydney. I need to move it from Hornsby before the end of January.

I may even be able to drive it as it is registered, not written off, and after a discussion with a Roads and Maritime engineer, it could be considered ‘roadworthy’ and would be OK to drive subject to the agreement of the NSW Police. Wish me luck!

Hi Steve,

His name is Kel and he is at 12 Ace Crescent Tuggerah I think - down in the back bay.

Its been a while so we are are checking his details that he is still around and for an up to date contact number.

I will get back to you ASAP.



He is in the photo to the left of my old 69 kombi in a black shirt.

I know that doesnt really help but I am working on it.

We have decided to attempt a repair and restoration of the existing body shell!

A big job but a couple of people with vast experience, including Steve Muller, have advised me that they think it is doable and are willing to assist… So, she is going into storage until this crazy virus plays out.

I will post some updates when we get started. In the meantime, thanks everyone for your advice and keep safe.

Good stuff Steve.

I cant fins the bloke who straightened my mates 69 low-light kombi - seems to have disappeared …

There is a bloke up on Macleay Island Nthern NSW (Graham Lees) that does great work in this manner and just fixed a trakka pop top camper that was hit up the ass very hard recently and he had to straighten the roof to fix.

I think he would be perfect if you could get the van up there.

I am reviving this topic after 3 years.

My Syncro was stored in Sydney all through Covid and then moved to Tamworth to become a retirement project for one of my relatives at the end of 2023. That person has changed his mind as he has sold his house and become addicted to caravan touring. I am now paying for storage on a farm outside Tamworth and need to again look at alternatives.

I have tried tracking down Graham Lees with no luck so far.

Any further thoughts?

Graham is still around.

He is selling his 2wd T3 Doka at the moment.

His contact number is: 0408 297 030

Thanks Scott I have just messaged Graham.