Weird stuff from the far side - Utes.

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Anonymous

Thought I may as well post some of these on here. An Australian peculiarity is the 'Ute', or pick-up variant, which is a useful combination of part car, part truck. In fact even today, any self-employed tradesperson can claim full tax deductions on a Ute, so the major local Ford and Holden sedans make popular models as well as the more traditionally styled mini trucks from Toyota, Ford, Mitsubishi et al. The heyday though was probably the thirties to fifties when a lot of cars were available as utes including a lot of imported UK cars which were built from CKD kits by their Australian distributors. The most unlikely, and I would like to find one for myself, would be the Armstrong Siddeley Station Coupe, based on the Typhoon or Whitley model with a neat coupe cab and a large load bay on the back, they were big sellers too, as were all A-S models. Below is a selection of photos of various utes taken at local car shows.

More to come,

Chris M.

James Elliott
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Great Utes Chris. I like them a lot, especially Holdens, but must admit that no one has ever explained to me (in a way that I can fully understand) quite what the precise difference is between a Ute and a pick-up. Please be the first to make me understand why Utes are distinct from pick-ups and other work vehicles!

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GreaseMonkey (not verified)
I pondered the same question. The locals are very proud of their own uniquely Aussie Ute and anyone who dared suggest it is just a pick-up would be risking a 'wedgie' at least (look that one up, hah). The official history begins with the introduction of the 1934 Ford Coupe Utility designed by Lew Bandt at the Geelong Victoria factory after requests from farmers, or rural folk for a vehicle that would combine comfortable car accomodation with load carrying capacity and the result was a sleek flat sided design that had the front half of a typical '34 Ford Coupe with an elongated pick-up bed behind. The publicity at the time claimed "Comfortable passenger accomodation and large carrying space in rear compartment". The other claim for uniqueness at the time was because the pick up bed side panel and cab rear side panel were pressed in one piece. This differed from previous designs where typically the driver's accomodation would be an open two-seat bench with a tray on the back, like the Model T Roadster Pick Up or the other choice would be a fairly basic closed truck cab. Either way, at the time the new 'Ute' was an improvement, and while the style has continued ever since and now accounts for half the traffic on the road here, it is true that lines have been blurred and other markets have had similar conversions. Today, the ute falls into two categories, the sedan based Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon versions, or the more truck like light commercials which are the same the world over and called pick ups or mini trucks according to preference, ie Toyota Hilux etc.  There have been other attempts to market similar cars, like the Ford Ranchero and Chevrolet El Camino in the USA, and I suppose the old Mini and Morris Minor pick-ups would qualify too, but the Aussies are proud of their ute history and maybe just by being bloody stubborn and still calling them utes is enough to make a difference now. There is even a professional race series for them which usually is part of the support program for the V8 Supercars and gets TV coverage too; see http://www.v8utes.com.au/ As for the aforementioned '34 Ford Coupe Ute, or the Armstrong Siddeley Station Coupe there are photos available if you Google (I am not posting any here that have copyright elsewhere).   HooRoo Chris M.
GBt
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This one isnt strictly out of the Antipodes, (the owners mate had a pucker imported Zephyr, complete with the proper reverse highline Consul lights)-this has lowline Zephyr lights,but was made out of a Zodiac base, fitted with a 351 V8. The picture taken at Battlesbridge, after I had chats with its owner at a Watford and Guildford diner cruise ins. Where the normal big Ford filler bahind a spring loaded number plate was situated I know not.

I also really like the look of those unique Prefects, and summise Austin made an identical A40 pickup to the blue black Devon' (maybe Dorset) as per out of Longbrigde-the other 2 have the same themed rear cabs that seemed to be state of the art in Australia?

Chris Martin
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Another Australian oddity was the Zeta. I posted the Lightburn elsewhere previously, an ugly little box of a thing with a froggy face, but they also made a little sporty number presumably to compete with the Gogomobil Dart. Not many around now. To give some idea of scale, that is an Austin Seven next to it!

Chris M.

 

Chris Martin
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Ok, back to the Utes. A few more odd ones turned up at a local show today. Ordinary old Pommy cars with no back seat and a big ol' pickup bed behind. But who would have expected this fate for the old 'Landcrab'?

Yep, the Austin 1800 was a popular ute conversion for a few years.

Standard Vanguard Ute with over-the-top ICE? No, it was the show organiser's way of keeping all informed.

And a fifties Vauxhall too. All of these above brands were big sellers here.

But of course the home-grown Holden outnumbered all of them, here's a late fifties model.

Chris M.