Anthony Nikitaras or better known as Tony began his apprenticeship as a panel beater in 1979 at a company called Star Brothers Motor Body Works. In the nine months leading up to this, he worked as a toolsmith forging steel tools at Evro Tool Company while also attending Sydney Tafe studying a blacksmithing course. At the time, he did not realise the experience he gained from working as a toolsmith would open up a range of opportunities for his future career. The time spent being a blacksmith taught him some excellent skills for working with metal and steel. After leaving the hot furnaces making tools, he went on to work as an Auto Bodybuilder for the Star Brothers Company. His time at Star Brothers enabled him to further develop his skills in the art of cutting steel and framing up templates to manufacture transport cabins, the bodies on the back of a Ford transit cab chassis, semi-trailer bodies and horse floats.
In 1980 Tony was offered a job as an apprentice panel beater within the Star Brothers Company. There were no hesitations for him to jump on board as it was a new challenge that would allow him to continue to develop his skills. Unfortunately, after two years the original owner of Star Bro’s passed away. The companies approach changed as the younger sons tried to run the business. They found it more challenging than expected, as a lot of the experience and knowledge their father had gained from opening in 1945 was not left behind. After some time Tony transferred his apprenticeship to Barry Hill Motors in Taren Point. Here he would learn the ins and outs of how to repair larger smash work and gained more experience in the mechanical side of panel beating. After a year at Barry Hill Motors, Tony completed his apprenticeship with TR Flanagan Smash Repair. He received his trade certificate as a panel beater and began working as a contractor for Kareena Smash Repairs. During his time as a tradesman for Kareena Smash Repairs, he decided to take a chance and go into business with a friend who was also in the same field.
In December 1983, Dale and Tony purchased Nash Smash Repairs, and the name quickly changed to D&T Nash Smash repairs. They spent seven years in a successful partnership, but the time came when Dale decided it was time to move on and start a business closer to his home town. In 1989 D&T Nash Smash repairs was rapidly growing and employed ten staff. Due to this growth, the company was moved from Waratah Street in Kirrawee to Garnet Road which was a much larger premise. As the sole owner of the business, Tony quickly became a jack of all trades. From panel beating to spray painting and motor mechanics, he was able to ensure that if he couldn’t find the right person for the job, then he was able to do it himself. These skills were a significant success point of his business Sutherland Off-Road, without the hassle of always relying on other people, he could ensure that the quality of work was there and guarantee that a job would get finished. After five years in the Garnet road building, the business once again outgrew the premises and moved to Marshall Road Kirrawee in 1996. The new premises was twice the size of the Garnet road workshop and enabled the business to employ twenty-five staff.
In 1997 a door opened in the market of selling bull bars and tow bars within the industry. The business rapidly grew, and it wasn’t long before D&T Nash smash repairs were selling an expanded range of 4wd gear. In 1999 Tony gained certificates in Auto Mechanical and Auto Airconditioning, he was working by day and studying at night. The 4WD business was moved to Waratah street Kirrawee in March 1999 and began dealing with ARB, giving Sutherland Off Road a chance to break away from TJM. Following this, in 2001 Tony also became a Licensed Motor mechanic. In 2009 Sutherland Off-Road had a total of 18 staff and moved a few doors down to its current location. This business was trading predominantly as a mechanical and caravan repair business including the sales of 4WD gear, accessories and fitting. Sutherland Off-Road serviced many major dealerships within the Sutherland Shire and Sydney Metro.
In the last 10 years Sutherland Off-Road not only serviced vehicles but also enabled Tony to build enclosed bike trailers, camper vans and cooking trailers. Tony was well known within the Motor Insurance industry as a recommended repairer for vehicles of all kinds and has repaired, serviced or fitted gear on over 18000 vehicles. He was on the Governing Council of the MTA NSW repair group and worked with NSW police from time to time offering advice on stolen vehicles. Through Tony’s experience his business has been able to be an Authorised RTA/RMS inspection station and also offer approved child restraint fitting services.
After 35 Years of Business in Sutherland Shire, Sutherland Shire Off Road was recently sold in July 2019. With years of training and 95 % hands-on experience in the workshop he is now offering his skills and in depth knowledge to the public through pre purchase vehicle inspections on cars, trucks, caravans and motorhomes. With his 40 years of Automotive education he can offer a special report giving you that extra peace of mind when purchasing a pre loved vehicle and advise on any faults or problems that the vehicle may have.