Lee Richards has spent a lot of time in the fast lane – arguably the fastest lane on earth.

As a Drag Racer most of his life, he not only raced drag cars, but has built some absolute beasts. One drag car was so powerful, Lee confesses, “It scared the hell out of me!”.

This was a 1965 Valiant ute that he put a powerful 540 cubic inch engine in. Lee’s ute was featured in Australia’s top selling modified car magazine, Street Machine. Lee says, “It was more car than I could cope with so I sold it.”

Check out Lee’s modified 1965 Valiant ute below.

Change of pace – From drag to cruising

Aside from being a drag racer, Lee is a Fitter and Turner by trade and a self-taught welder. He likes to keep busy and often has a project to work on during weekends.

Lee’s most recent project isn’t built for speed, instead, it’s purposely built so he can enjoy some well-deserved relaxation time with his family and friends. Lee is humble and doesn’t like to gloat, so we will do the gloating for him because all of us at Ullrich Aluminium are extremely impressed with his creativity.

Introducing… Nirvana.

The name Nirvana couldn’t be more apt. Most people would agree that life doesn’t get much more idyllic than chilling out with family and friends, on calm water surrounded by nature.

Ullrich Aluminium products used to create Lee’s BBQ Boat

Building a boat has always been on Lee’s bucket list. He created his barbie boat from scratch and built it exclusively using Ullrich Aluminium. Lee used extruded aluminium for the frame and 25 sheets of 2400 x 1200 composite panelling for the floor, roof, walls, cabinetry, console and toilet cubicle.

Lee’s custom barbie boat has all the essentials – a barbeque of course, fridge, plenty of comfortable seating for 8 people and even a kitchen sink.

Inspired by images of European style house boats on Pinterest which the boat shape is based on, the layout was Lee’s own creation. The boat has a trailer so Lee can launch it wherever the fish are biting. Nirvana took about 6 months of weekend work to build and that includes a delay on fitting the motor.

Lee’s next aluminium project

As we mentioned, Lee likes to keep busy and already has plans for his next aluminium project. He’s building a Hybrid Pop Up Camper.

Lee explains, “It’s going to be much the same construction as the barbie boat with aluminium frames and clad in composite panelling. It will be my own design again and a little bit different to what you can find in the market. Pop top campers have the soft canvas around the top. But my one will have fold up panels made out of aluminium composite panelling, so it will be hard bodied all around. This will prevent the soft canvas from flapping in the wind. You simply fold the panels down and lower the roof. The roof will be electrically operated so you just hit a switch and up she goes!”

Lee is nearly 60 and will be retiring in a few years so is planning to do weekend escapes for now and is looking forward to a trip to Queensland’s outback next year.

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