Brixton’s Chippa Wilson | “Along For The Ride” Interview

  • April 17, 2017

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Words by Adam Sullivan | Photos by Chippa Wilson

When he’s out of the water and back on terra firma, Brixton ambassador Chippa Wilson has a unique hobby— buying and tinkering with bikes, trucks, and vans.

SEEMS LIKE YOU HAVE A FASCINATION WITH OLD VEHICLES. IS IT AMERICAN VEHICLES IN PARTICULAR?
Yeah, I guess the collection is pretty much American, but it’s really just old cars in general.

WHERE DID THAT COME FROM?
That’s a tough one. I always appreciated them, growing up, but I guess the collection started when I got the Chevy, the truck. That was the first one. And then it just kind of spiraled out of control from there.

WHAT DO YOU HAVE IN THE COLLECTION RIGHT NOW?
I’ve got the old 1963 Chevy C-10. And then I’ve also got a 1963 Chevy Greenbrier Corvair van. And then I’ve got an old 1970 Ford Econoline.
I’ve got a few bikes, as well: Two new Triumphs, and then I’ve got my dad’s old trials bike, it’s a Honda 125 TL, which is pretty sick. I’ve got a few old ones, too.

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1970 FORD ECONOLINE

WHAT DO YOU DRIVE OR RIDE THE MOST?
Bike-wise, I definitely ride the new Triumph over here the most, the Scrambler. And between the truck and the van—they’re my daily drivers, so I pick between them. It depends what I’m doing. I guess the van’s more of a surf vehicle—which is the Ford, the red one in Australia— and then the truck’s more like if I’m gonna go get some mulch, or some hay for the chickens. It’s a mover, kind of thing. Everything has its purpose.

ARE THERE ANY VEHICLES YOU’VE GOT YOUR EYE ON RIGHT NOW?
Nah, that’s it. I’ve actually torn myself off, I’m focusing on the things that I have. Otherwise I’m gonna be heartbroken forever. Like, I can’t get around to ‘em, and work on ‘em.
But in saying that, me and my old man just picked up an old family car, a Dodge DeSoto, a 1954 Australian model. So that’s the next one, once I get all my projects in line. There’s a bit on…

IT LOOKS LIKE YOU DO A LOT OF WORK ON THEM—I’M LOOKING AT THE PHOTOS OF THE VAN YOU PUT A TABLE INTO.
Yeah, the van’s sick, that one was definitely the one that I’ve put the most effort into so far. It was just a blank canvas. I’ve always imagined, you know, kitting out an old groovy surf van. I was psyched on that.
As for the truck, I did a lot of the little things on it, but then I paid a professional to do the whole body, paint-wise. Most of the little things I can do. I just built a shed—a little barn-shed, at home. Once that’s set up I’m gonna start with the Dodge, learning a lot about the engine. That will be my first proper one, for sure.

HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN MECHANICALLY INCLINED, OR IS THAT MORE OF A NEW THING?
It’s a new thing. I mean, even with motorbikes, I guess growing up, I was so focused on surfing, and hopefully trying to make something out of that, in my head I really didn’t have time for anything else. But now that that’s all kicked off, now that I’ve kind of got my head around that, I guess that’s when the motorbikes and the car came into play. It’s pretty funny.

IT SEEMS LIKE MECHANICS IS ALMOST A POLAR OPPOSITE TO SURFING. ONE’S VERY FLUID AND SPONTANEOUS; THE OTHER’S CALCULATED AND PRECISE.
Totally. That’ it. Mechanics is definitely different; you can’t go with the flow.

SO WHERE DID YOU FIND ALL THE VEHICLES— DIDN’T YOU GO TO KENTUCKY FOR ONE?
Yeah, that was for the Chevy van—the blue one, with the white roof rack. So that one I was actually following an Instagram account, and I saw it like, five years ago. So I just reached out to him, and said ‘hey, if you ever sell that thing, let me know,’ At the time, the dude told me pretty much that no way he’s ever gonna sell it—it’s a pretty cool, groovy van—but then two years after that, he hit me up and ‘Yo—I’ve got too much shit, I’ve got to sell it.’ I was so hyped. So I bought that off him, and ever since then, I’ve been working on it, just slowly doing it up.
So most of them are online, the truck I got off a friend of mine, in LA. And then the van I found in Australia. I haven’t really inherited anything, except for the bike—the 125. That’s my old man’s old bike.

ARE YOU TRAVELLING A LOT THROUGHOUT THE YEAR, FOR SURFING?
Yeah, heaps. When I’m really at it. It’s like 6 months out of the year. Two-week and three-week trips here and there. That’s the goal, anyway. To stay busy.

IS IT DIFFICULT TO GET A CAR SENT TO AUSTRALIA? IT SEEMS LIKE IT WOULD BE EXPENSIVE.
Yeah, it sounds like it would be, hey? For sure. But it’s not that much. If you want it over here quick, you’ll pay a little more. But with the truck, I just said ‘if there’s a gap in the boat, just throw it on.’ It’s not too expensive. You just gotta do your research. You can get the red carpet treatment, where you don’t have to do a thing, and it’ll be in your driveway—that’s quite expensive—or you can just do most of it yourself.

JUST PICK IT UP AT THE DOCK? DRIVE IT RIGHT OFF THE BOAT?
Yeah, exactly. It’s just like anything else. But hey, it’s weird being in the truck, doing a road trip with my girlfriend in Cali, and then doing it again here in Australia, it’s trippy.

WHERE’D YOU GO?
We just did Cali in the Chevy, and then that’s been my daily driver since. It’s just funny, we’ll just be driving in Australia, and remember ‘Oh, we actually went for an In-n-Out drive-thru in this, in America. You know what I mean? It’s just those moments, you go to a drive-thru here, and it’s like “f—k, I’m on the wrong side.”

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2015 TRIUMPH SCRAMBLER

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1970 FORD ECONOLINE

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1963 CHEVROLET GREENBRIER CORVAIR

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1963 CHEVROLET C-10

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