Stunning makeover for last Coronado sold in Australia

A Sydney couple took the love of their family and trucking and combined in into a show stopping billboard for their business and the last of the Freightliner Coronado's sold in Australia

Save the Best for Last’ is a line heard in various situations. For those with bad taste in music and old enough to remember cassette players this line may invoke memories of an old Vanessa Williams song from the ’90s. For those of us with younger siblings it tends to invoke memories of the only witty retort available to the baby of the family during childhood fights. In today’s little story though we are using this line in an extremely literal way.

What you have on in the photos before you is the last of the Freightliner Coronados sold in Australia, the bonneted workhorse of the Freightliner fleet for pretty much two decades. The first generation Coronado was launched in the US in 2001 with production starting in 2002. The second generation came around a decade later and now, another decade down the track, the Coronado has been retired with the arrival of the all-new Cascadia.

In those 20 years there has been some cool looking Coronados, both here and around the world. However, LJ and Mary Qureshi of Sydney-based L&M Bulk Logistics who snapped up the last ever Coronado sold in Australia, have produced arguably the best example of this classic North American truck.

As if pairing the final Coronado with the coolest Coronado wasn’t enough of a hook for a writer like me, what makes this story even cooler is the small family company that are responsible for this work of art – L&M Bulk Logistics.

If the L&M name isn’t familiar and the colours aren’t familiar, don’t beat yourself up. If you think it’s just a new company making a splash with its new colours, then you can beat yourself up. The truth is LJ and Mary Qureshi, the lovely folk behind L&M Bulk Logistics, have been in the industry for over 10 years now.


LJ has been running trucks since he first bought two-tonne Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and left school to start his own business. Mary has been working in logistics sales since well before she married young LJ and they formed L&M Bulk Logistics.

The thing is, both LJ and Mary have placed huge importance on the foundations of business – building a reliable service, growing solid relationships with their customers and generally flying below the radar. This new truck though, the last Coronado, is a massive move in the opposite direction.

It is extremely hard to fly below the radar when your new truck garners more attention than a 50 per cent-off sale at Truckers Toy Store. So why has this humble trucking couple suddenly changed tack? It’s not like L&M are running old bangers. All their other trucks may just be plain white, but they still carry the shine and pride that LJ has had since day dot. It is just this truck is different because of one very simple and beautiful reason. Her name is Zara, LJ & Mary’s first child.

Before we get to Zara and her influence on LJ and Mary, we need to go back and understand how L&M Bulk Logistics came about. 

Business challenge

LJ is literally the driving force behind the company. Yet driving has not always been his main motivation. LJ was born and bred in Sydney though his transport lineage is anything but trucks. His family work primarily on huge ship deconstruction and his father was a pilot. If you look at it holistically the family has covered air and sea, so it does seem fitting that LJ should cover the land side of the trio.

Trucks themselves were never the main motivator for LJ. For him it was the challenge of business.

“I never liked big trucks in the very beginning,” LJ admits. “I loved business, I loved the business idea. You get told where you’ve got to go, you deliver your load, keep it all safe and get a signature.”

LJ and Mary both had a say in the stunning colours and design of the last Coronado

I’m suddenly seeing the kind of person that buys all those company simulation games for their PlayStation. However, it wasn’t just the formalities that appealed to LJ though. It was the idea of building a business.

“Providing great customer service, keep your customers happy … that’s what I liked,” he says.

LJ’s first touch of the transport industry came about with the Sprinter that he used to deliver plants and produce around Sydney. “You could only transport three pallets on there,” LJ recalls. “I used to transport anything from local markets to local fruit shops. I used to do newspapers and stuff and a lot of it was hand unload.”

The hard work didn’t scare LJ though; he was happy to go door knocking for work and was intent on proving himself, not just as a businessman but as a driver as well. Right from the start LJ’s savvy business acumen was evident.

“My number one goal was to have lots of clients; I didn’t want to have all my eggs in one basket. That’s not only the transport industry but any industry will have ups and downs and you need to have your business flowing. To keep your drivers, gear and bills paid you need constant work.

“When some customers are quiet there are others to keep going.” LJ says. He adds that retaining those clients comes down to doing the job well, being reliable and dependable.

It was this approach to building his business that saw LJ move from the two-tonne tray truck up to an 8X4 Scania in no time. Those were soon joined by another couple of local trucks as he picked up more contracts from his customers.

Along with getting bigger trucks LJ also found himself having to accrue a few more licenses as well so he could do the work. Car licence to MR, MR to HR, HR became HC and finally MC. With the work came more work and then drivers and more licenses. It was all just a snowball effect.

The other growing obsession was that truck addiction we all suffer from. Building a solid business may have been the initial driving force but that love of all things trucks soon materialised as well. In 2015 he bought his first big truck.

While he admitted at the beginning it was the business side of things that motivated him rather than trucks themselves, LJ says he’s always loved seeing the big B-double units. “In 2015 I thought, ‘well, I could maximise my freight capacity, haul more and earn more’.”

At the time he didn’t have any customers that necessarily needed that much freight moved but he backed himself to find the work, provide the service and get the job done. Turns out he was right.

By 2019 LJ was running 15 B-double units. There was a mixture of badges in the fleet – Scania, Volvo, Kenworth and, of course, the Freightliner badge.


“My first big one was an older Freightliner, an Argosy with a Cat in it, 110-inch with TV, microwave and everything. I bought it off a guy that had had it since new. It never broke down, never did an engine. I never even touched the clutch in it,” LJ says. “I don’t know if I was lucky but it was a good truck.”

With that kind of experience it would come as no surprise that Freightliners are a common sight in the fleet. In fact, after the performance of the original second-hand Argosy, it is fitting that LJ’s first brand new trucks were another couple of Argosys.

After the addition of those two new Freightliners, the fleet grew steadily. It was a self-fulfilling conundrum. As more trucks were added LJ found he kept picking up more work.

Throughout the growth of the company however it would still have been difficult for anyone outside LJ’s customers to recognise him or his trucks, which is the way he wanted it.

As I mentioned, LJ’s priorities have always been about building a solid business but flying below the radar. Hence, if you are a regular on the east coast highways there is a high possibility that you have passed one or more of LJ’s trucks on the road. You would never know it though. 

Low key

Back in the early days, even after he married Mary and they rebadged the company L&M Bulk Logistics, LJ has kept his trucks extremely low key. But it’s not like he hasn’t taken pride in his trucks. They may have been plain but they are kept immaculate.

Instead, the business, maintenance, servicing and looking after his drivers have been where the money goes with LJ. His focus has been on ensuring the trucks do the job and are reliable, keeping his customers happy and his business solid. Until now and the last ever Coronado, that is.

Now don’t get me wrong, the reliability and maintenance of his equipment is still the overriding motivator. Keeping his customers happy and his drivers content is still paramount. It is just the plain ‘below-the-radar’ approach to his business was put on the shelf after the arrival of Zara. “A child changes you,” says Mary. “And Zara definitely changed him.”

One of those changes was LJ finally allowing himself to indulge. “Since I’ve had trucks I had always wanted to have my own design,” LJ explains. “I wanted to have my own creation” The birth of Zara was the inspiration that allowed for the birth of this stunning truck.

The colours work perfectly during the day and with LJ’s added lights it looks Incredible after dark

The first step was the choice of truck. With the reliable history LJ had with the Freightliner brand, it was no surprise that Stillwell Trucks at Milperra in Sydney (now known as Daimler Trucks, by the way) was his first port of call. LJ spoke to the Stillwell team and ordered what would turn out to be the last ever new Coronado sold in Australia.

There was a fair bit of time spent working with Stillwell as well as the design team at TopStart Trailers in Dandenong, Melbourne, to build the perfect combination for L&M Bulk Logistics’ needs. Once all the designs and dimensions had been achieved, the next part was back in the hands of LJ and Mary to work out the design of the unit.

Although it was LJ’s dream, it was a truck designed by the family for the family. Zara’s influence and inspiration is evident in the Z-lines on both the truck and the matching trailers, as well as the custom cut-out on the front bar. Mary’s influence is evident in the bold colour choice. “I loved black and gold but obviously we couldn’t really do gold so we went with yellow,” Mary explains.

The couple spent hours hashing out different designs and patterns for the unit. Mary laughs as she recalls, “LJ would keep going out in the sun with his colour palettes to see which yellow looked the best in different light.”

Mary’s love of the black and gold/yellow combination paired well with LJ’s love of the black and chrome idea. Once the colours and lines were settled on, LJ was free to add the shiny bits to wherever his creative mind desired. Working in conjunction with the guys from TopStart Trailers, subtle stainless added to the likes of the landing legs, the back wall and the toolboxes. It wasn’t just the trailers though; LJ ticked a lot of the boxes for the crew at Stillwell before the truck was sent to Hy Shyne Customs in the Sydney suburb of Narellan for its bling. They added plenty of stainless steel with the likes of the drop visor, the sleeper trim and even the stainless bug deflector. 

The back of the B-trailer looks impressive, thanks to TopStart Trailers

It was a mammoth task considering the truck and its trailers were being built 1000 kilometres away from each other. The trailers were designed specifically for this one last Coronado and everything was measured to match.

Once everything had been built, the trailers joined the truck in Sydney where it spent another couple of weeks getting finished off by the talented team at Fleetmark. They added the signwriting as well as the more personal touches. The first of those is the outstanding image on the back of the A-trailer wall – the cool ‘All In’ graphic.

“I did the All In bit because that’s how I see this truck,” LJ explains. “It’s my all-in approach to business. It also represents the fact I have played my cards right. We don’t take shortcuts, we back ourselves, we go all in.”

Along with that personal message there is also a slogan added to the front – ‘Once Bitten Twice Shy’. It seems a more ominous message for a truck dedicated to their daughter but its represents a very important chapter in the L&M Bulk Logistics story.

Like any feelgood movie there is always a part where the bad guy gets one over the good guy, before the good guy cowboys-up and overcomes adversity. LJ and Mary had that when they trusted in a partnership that left them hanging. However, they survived, rebuilt and they learnt. They also took that lesson and added it to the front of their flagship truck as a message and an example of resilience and determination for their daughter.

Lighting up

A big thumbs up to the team at Fleetmark for encompassing LJ’s All-In concept to the back of the TopStart A-trailer

Obviously, we can’t talk about how sharp this unit looks without bringing attention to the number of lights added to it. This again is a sign that LJ’s love of a good-looking truck extends well past daylight hours. It also meant I couldn’t do a photoshoot without keeping LJ up late enough to capture the Coronado’s night-time attire.

The big question at the end of the day however is how is LJ coping with a truck that flies so far above the radar now? Mary was kind enough to answer this one.

“I love the attention,” she laughs. “LJ doesn’t. But it is good for the business. We actually have new customers ringing us out of the blue. People see it and call us.”

LJ is quick to add that having the right driver is also extremely imperative. “Yes, it brings attention to the company and has our branding all over it, but having a driver that behaves and represents well with the customers is important.”

L&M Bulk Logistics still has several units out on the road that you will continue to see pass by and not give a second thought to. However, their new Freightliner Coronado is never going to be one of those.

I for one am thankful LJ and Mary chose to express their creativity in such a bold way. Their Coronado epitomises the ‘Save the Best for Last’ adage. What a way to farewell the Freightliner Coronado.     


Photography: Warren Aitken

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