Did You Say “Ute”? A Loving Look At Australia's Iconic Coupe Utility
Got ute? Polished up front and utilitarian out back of the C-pillar, these versatile pickup-like vehicles rub rugged shoulders with Mad Max's V8 Pursuit Special when it comes to evoking Australian car culture.
Why Not Both?
The ute got its start in the early 1930s when, as the story goes, Ford Australia's plant in Geelong, Victoria received a letter from a peeved farmer's wife. Fed up with riding to church in the family's odoriferous truck, the peeved Sheila asked “Why don't you build people like us a vehicle to go to church in on a Sunday, and which can carry our pigs to market on Mondays?” Surprisingly perhaps, Ford did exactly that and an ANZAC automotive tradition was born! (ute image via Go Motors)
The Chrysler AP3 Wayfarer was produced by Chrysler Australia from 1960 to 1963 (that's a '60 above) and though its styling was dated, the Mopar V8 under the hood more than made up for it. (ute image via PictureArchive.za)
You Say Ranchero, I Say Ute
Ford Australia's XL Falcon Ute bore an uncanny family resemblance to the smaller Ford Ranchero sold in North America from 1960 through 1963, which was based on the first-generation Ford Falcon two-door sedan delivery. (ute image via Chris Keating)
This 1964 Holden EH Ute likely hasn't looked this good since it left the dealer's showroom a half-century ago. About a quarter million EH Holdens were produced and sold during the series' three-year run but only a small minority were utes.(ute image via On Four Wheels)
Chrysler Australia Ltd manufactured a host of vehicles for the domestic market between 1951 and 1980, one of which was a distinctive ute based on the mid-sized Valiant. The image above dated 1974 by Flickr user and photographer John Lloyd shows a then-late-model VF Valiant ute making its way down Maribyrnong Road in northwestern Melbourne – most Aussie utes were driven hard and put to bed wet. (ute image via Hugo90)
My Kingswood For A Horse!
If the Holden Kingswood Ute above seems to be channeling a little early-seventies Chevrolet Monte Carlo, credit Holden's long-term relationship with GM. Featuring optional Chevy V8 power, the nattily creased Kingswood “one-tonner” ute bowed out in 1984 and is still sorely missed. (ute image via Autospeed)
Hold The Muster
You really haven't been to Australia unless you've attended a Ute Muster, a sort of Burning Man festival devoted to utes, utes and more utes. Come for the free-flowing brew and warm sense of community, stay for neat Beaut Ute Competition awards such as Best Feral Ute, Best Chick's Ute, Best Dog In Ute, and Most Mentions Of “Ute” In A Paragraph... we win with ten. (ute image via Wikimedia, DavidMarsh)
A rear view of the 2008 Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo Ute shows off some very un-trucklike lines accentuated by a built-in, polished chrome roll cage. Something tells us you won't find pigs cowering beneath the fitted bed cover but as this is Australia, you never can tell. (ute image via The Torque Report)
The 2008 Ford FG Falcon Ute above displays one of the more extreme schizoid ute variations that put pleasure up front and business squarely in the back – or as they say in the ute-universe, the tray. (ute image via Car Advice)
After many decades of being an Aussie automotive icon, has the bloom finally come off the ute rose? Both Holden and Ford Australia won't be offering their respective ute models past the 2016 model year and the stunning Holden Maloo Ute (above) looks to be the last of the breed. (ute image via News.com.au)
Blame free trade and corporate globilization for the body blow ute sales have taken of late. Thanks (a relative term) to Australia's free trade deal with Thailand, Oz has been flooded with made-in-Thailand, tariff-free Toyota HiLux pickup trucks that have outsold domestically produced utes by almost 20 to 1. Money talks and tradition walks, it seems, and the time will soon come when antipodeans will only have fond memories of the utes of their youth. (ute image at top via Serious Wheels)