In 2004 Australia designed and built the Pontiac GTO and G8 which was an exported muscle car version of Australia’s own Holden Commodore.
For over 80 years, Australia had it’s own mini pickup truck, called the ‘ute’ which is short for coupe utility. A half car, half truck and similar to the Chevrolet El Camino. These utes are all the rage in Australia with its own road racing code and some future classics among the range. Now you can buy one of these classic muscle cars here in the USA!
Check out this great video by Josh’s Car Corner …
Colorado based Left Hand Utes receives these Aussie Utes without the engine and drive train. Firewalls from from an American GTO or G8 are spliced in and American compliant engines and drivetrains are fitted to form a fully USA compliant daily driver.
Are you ready to get your ute? See Left Hand Utes website at: lefthandutes.com
Check out what AMAZON USA has in stock:
The ute started with an early Ford in Australia in 1934
Wikipedia’s website describing the origin of the ute says:
“Ford is claimed to be the first company to produce an Australian ‘ute’. This was the result of a 1932 letter from the unnamed wife of a farmer in Victoria, Australia asking for ‘a vehicle to go to church in on a Sunday and which can carry our pigs to market on Mondays’.
In response, Ford designer Lew Bandt developed the ute and the model called a ‘coupe utility’ at the time was released in 1934. When the Australian version was displayed in the US, Henry Ford nicknamed it the ‘Kangaroo Chaser’. A convertible version, known as the roadster utility was produced in limited numbers by Ford in the 1930s.”
(Wikipedia – January 31, 2017 – Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ute_(vehicle) )
The United States has several of its own versions of the Aussie ute, the Chevrolet El Camino and the Ford Ranchero. Both models have now ceased production with the market continuing to favour many variations of the full size pick-ups which include the Ford F series, Chevrolet and Dodge trucks.
Utes in Australia
The ute has always been a major part of Australian culture and has extended far beyond being a farm hand’s daily drive and a tradesman’s work vehicle. Utes are now in the collectable muscle car category where many never carry anything more than a few six packs of beer and an ice cooler to the local cricket match.
HSV (Holden Special Vehicles) have released a desirable sports model, the GTSR Maloo. This has the supercharged LS Generation IV 6.2 liter engine with a massive 592 horsepower (425 kw) on 20 inch rims and fully independent suspension all round for maximum grip and handling on the road. This is a future classic collectable muscle car. There won’t be many of these on the road. Sorry USA, there won’t be any here, and production is finite. Holden will be closing it’s vehicle manufacturing plant in Australia in October 2017.
What is the future of utes in Australia?
Asian imports are now dominating the market in Australia. In 2016, the popular Toyota Hilux, a favorite for tradesmen, and now families, has become Australia’s top selling vehicle. The Toyotas have a strong reputation for their reliability and strength in Australia. Luxury appointments, four door models with turbo diesel options have offered a mix of good performance, reliability, functionality and economy.
Other popular utes include the Nissan Navara, Isuzu Dmax, and Holden Colorado which is similar to the Chevrolet Colorado. They might not be Australia built, but the ute will continue to live on in Australia for a long time.
Will the Ranchero and El Camino make a comeback?
There are rumours for the Ford Ranchero, and there are concept images online of a Taurus similarity, but the anticipated release date of late 2016 has now passed by, so it looks like it’s still a wish.
The Chevrolet El Camino has been rumoured to be based on the Australian Commodore ute, but this is a long shot now that Holden will cease production this year. There are several concept images of a Camaro fronted lookalike, but release dates keep moving forward, so this too seems to be another wish. With the luxury, size and capacity of the traditional pickup trucks in the USA, I’m doubtful that a compact size pickup will be as successful. There are Toyota Tacomas, Ford Rangers, and Chevrolet Colorados that fill this compact range quite nicely.
See more Australian Utes in the USA