In 1933, a Gippsland farmer's wife wrote to Ford Australia, asking, "Can you build me a vehicle that we can use to go to church on Sunday, without getting wet, and that my husband can use to take the pigs to market on Monday?" Ford Australia responded by designing the Model A, which was a four-door sedan. After receiving an affirmative response from Ford Australia, development of the Ford Model T began.
Young Ford designer Lew Bandt, who worked at the company at the time
A 1933 coupe was upgraded at the Geelong plant with tub bodywork and a reinforced chassis so that it could be used for cargo. This was done so that the car could be put to productive use in the business world. Ford Australia's production ute debuted in 1934 as the Model 40-A Light Delivery after the prototype was approved.
Is it possible, though, that this ute wasn't actually the first of its kind?
Depends entirely on how one defines "useful." Ute is defined by Wikipedia as: "synonymous with "coupe utility" or "utility." In Australia and New Zealand, the word "ute" is used to describe vehicles with a tray in the back of the cabin ".
It is generally agreed that the original "utility" was distinguished from a light truck by having bodywork that extended in a continuous line behind the cab. Its distinguishing feature from a regular pickup truck was this. A light truck's cab and cargo body were physically distinct components.
Most modern utes don't qualify as "classic utes" because the rear tub isn't attached to the cab. A 4WD ute needs this separation to protect the rear bodywork from stress cracks caused by the chassis flexing and moving.
The second and critically important divide is that between "utility" and "coupe utility" in the 1920s and 1930s. A passenger car with a folding or retractable roof was originally known as a "utility," while a sedan with a fixed roof was called a "coupe utility."
Ford Australia's claim that Lew Bandt's design was the first ute in the world rests on the idea that it was either the first "coupe utility" in North America or the first in Australia. All of its prior competition in these markets had been open-access utilities.
However, one of the first pickup trucks was not American. Volvo, from the Latin phrase "I roll," was founded in 1927 and began manufacturing automobiles and trucks in Europe the following year.
pickup trucks, available with either an open bed or a closed cab. Unfortunately, the company only manufactured 27 of these closed-cabin pickups before upgrading the OV4 to light truck size and removing it from the ute classification. This occurred before the manufacturer reclassified it as a van.
To the extent that a production run of 27 vehicles can be considered a success, Volvo can claim to have been the first "coupe utility" manufacturer in the world. We were unable to locate any images of the coupe version, so you'll notice that the pictures all feature the open-cabin ute.
The capabilities of utes have not changed over the years despite possible changes in their assembly processes. A light-duty truck or van is still the most efficient way to move something big, heavy, or awkward like Clive Palmer if you don't have access to a specialised vehicle.
Many different odorous items can be stored in the back of a ute without releasing any of the stench into the front cabin. When you're done, just spray the tray down with the hose and move on to the next chore.
The cabin's interior can be nearly as easy to maintain in some cases. Vinyl flooring and durable seats are standard equipment in even the most basic utes because of their widespread practical application.
However, modern pickup trucks can be a good option for those seeking a vehicle that can serve dual purposes, much like the vehicle requested.
Utes were previously known for their sparse interiors, but modern Utes with higher quality interiors are on par with passenger cars.
Even though modern utes are packed to the gills with safety features, toys, and accessories that are on par with those found in luxury cars, the quality of the interior plastics and seat trims is still a generation behind.
There will be a few new players eager to join the growing ute scene among the next generation. It won't be long before you can bring your ute pride to the golf club parking lot in a Renault or Mercedes ute. As a bare minimum, you should be able to fit all of your golf equipment in here.
Ford's first Coupe Utility came off the assembly line that year, in 1934. The original ute had a tray that was 5'5" in length and could hold up to 1200 lbs (550kg). Even Henry Ford himself noticed the success of the "coupe ute" in Australia and remarked that the boys in the US should study it.
However, the concept of installing a bespoke tray in the rear of a vehicle's passenger compartment may have existed long before the advent of the automobile. The 1903 Oldsmobile, which had a tub-like body and could seat two, appears to be the first example of what is now known as a "ute."
In contention for the title of "first ute" is the Dodge Brothers company's soft-top pickup, which was produced until 1924. The list also includes other Ford models sold in the USA, such as the pickup-bodied Model T Runabout from 1925.
Australia cannot claim originality in any field because its innovations were evolutionary rather than revolutionary. In terms of luxury and good looks, it seems that the coupe utility is the first vehicle of its kind. The ute has become an iconic symbol of Australia due to its enduring popularity.
In Australia, the ute has been a staple for over 80 years and is now deeply ingrained in the national identity. The Toyota Hilux was the best-selling model in Australia in 2016, marking the first time a commercial vehicle, as opposed to a passenger car, held this distinction. The Ford Ranger came in at number four, while the Mitsubishi Triton landed in the top ten.
The original concept of the ute being flexible and comfortable is still as popular as it has ever been, despite the fact that Australians do not need the ute to take them to places like the church or the pig market.
Criticizing a ute for its lack of passenger-car behaviour is like calling a donkey a horse. However, the risk of a rollover accident remains the most significant one associated with ute ownership.
Utes based on passenger cars have technology on par with that of luxury automobiles, but the rest of the competition is about as cutting edge as the Amish. For example, despite their reputations as rugged and exploratory vehicles, the Toyota HiLux, Ford Ranger, and Volkswagen Amarok all use chassis technology that has been obsolete since the 1960s.
Body-on-frame is the simplest and most cost-effective way to construct a chassis, and it was widely used for passenger cars up until the era of short-haired Beatles.
Take a look at the steps on a regular ladder. Next, have someone build a girder one, lay it on its side, mount wheels at each corner, and then set a passenger compartment on top. What you've created is the bedrock upon which all imported utes sold in the country are built.
The production cost of a body-on-frame armature is much lower than that of a unitary or monocoque armature. Manufacturers are equally cost-conscious when it comes to the suspension as they are with the chassis, so they are constantly looking for ways to cut costs.
Leaf springs have been around for about as long as Les Patterson and are very cheap to produce and instal on ladder chassis. However, while trailing arms and other intricate suspension hardware are necessary for coil-based suspension setups, they are superfluous when using leaf springs. This contributes to the lowest possible production costs. However, compared to coil springs, which concentrate the weight over a smaller area at the top, leaf springs are the most efficient way to suspend a heavy load because they disperse it along the chassis rail. Since this is the case, leaf springs are the most effective means of suspension.
The practical implications of low-cost, out-of-date technology become immediately apparent the moment you get behind the wheel and hit a bump in the road.
Leaf spring suspension can make the rear end feel unrestrained and flimsy. For the simple reason that it is completely unrestrained. When the vehicle is fully loaded, the simple suspension cannot keep the rear wheels under control. The ride becomes jarring as the car bounces, shunts, or even hops along the pavement.
When there is ice on the ground, dealing with the wayward posterior becomes a herculean task, if not an outright nightmare. Today's traction and stability control systems, which became mandatory on November 1 of this year, may make regaining control possible, but they are merely masking more fundamental engineering flaws.
Anyone in a blue singlet will tell you that carrying a few hay bales or Clive Palmer in the back of their ute improves the ride and traction. Even though this seems unlikely to work, it actually does. This is because the weight mitigates the frantic action of the leaf springs, allowing the rear to act in a reasonably civilised fashion. However, you should not expect your fuel economy to improve if you add several hundred kilogrammes to your load.
It's worth noting that Nissan is breaking with tradition by equipping the new Navara with a coil spring suspension in the rear. It's remarkable in that respect, but praising a 2015 car model for its universal coil springs is like praising a teenager for his or her skill with a fork and knife.
The other issues that come with owning a ute seem minor in comparison to this fatal flaw, at least for the vast majority of utes. When you own a ute, you open yourself up to requests from neighbours, coworkers, and complete strangers for rides to the dump, Bunnings, and other locations. This is due to the fact that, in reality, utes are very practical automobiles.
Most ute manufacturers have been able to get their products certified as safe by ANCAP, so that is one less thing to worry about. However, Great Wall, Foton, and Mahindra are good options if you care more about your wallet than your kneecaps.
Lew Brandt's creation
For the following data, we have Robert Ryan to thank; he is the proud owner of a genuine and extremely rare Model 40-A coupe utility.
Robert told us that the famous Lew Bandt (Rego UTE 001) ute replica was built in 1975 out of a 1933 Ford sedan that had been chopped down to ute size and purchased from a farmer in Bannockburn, Victoria. This was because Lew had no luck tracking down an original Ford Coupe Utility. Early Ford V8 Club Victoria members decided to restore Lew's car to its 1934 form after he was found dead in the car in 1987. While the exterior was modified, the cabin was kept in the same form as the 1933 sedan.
More attention has been paid to this knockoff than to the real thing: in 1997, Australia Post released a 45 cent stamp and poster card featuring the replica Bandt Coupe Utility; in 2017, Ford Australia collaborated with the Royal Australian Mint to release an uncirculated coin of the non-genuine Ford Coupe Utility; and in 1997, Classic Carlectables released a 1/43 scale model of the non-genuine Ford Coupe Utility.
Ford Australia's Roadster (soft top) and Coupe Utilities models were both known as the Light Delivery during the years 1933 and 1934.
As part of a total production of 1390, 862 were Roadster Utilities and only 528 were Coupe Utilities.
On a related note, as seen in this picture of a 1936 Roadster Ute, production of both hard and soft tops continued in parallel.
Do they pass muster?
Ford's Falcon ute, the original model in this market, will be phased out at the end of 2019, and the outlook for the Holden Commodore ute isn't much better. Industry experts agree that its demise is inevitable, and they predict that it will happen within the next 18 months.
Now that the old-school ute based on a car has been phased out, the future looks bleak. The technology found in the Great Gatsby is also present in today's body-on-frame pickup trucks, but these vehicles lack the sophistication of the Gatsby's automobile, and they only seem to get bulkier and less manoeuvrable with each new model year. They have more bells and whistles and nicer interiors, but they don't have the same personality as a pickup truck based on a car.
Rear ends with coil springs and cabins on par with those in Mercedes vehicles are promising developments, but they won't be enough to fix the underlying issues.
However, just as seaweed has replaced cabbage in the Chiko Roll in sushi, so have the majority of Australians abandoned the utes traditionally associated with Australia in favour of those that have a wider appeal around the world.
Other pre-1930s utes
The first mass-produced utes probably didn't appear until at least three decades after these vehicles. On the front cover of his fantastic Australian automotive history book titled "From Horse to Horsepower," author S. A. Cheney is pictured. The car in the photo is a 1903 Oldsmobile, and the tiller steering wheel is part of the vehicle's design.
body style that is typically associated with the 'ute' brand.
Post-Dodge Brothers, the company offered a pickup truck with a folding hardtop in 1924. (John Dodge and Horace Dodge passed away within a year of each other in 1920; their widows ran the company until it was purchased by Chrysler and renamed Dodge).
Bruce Church, a resident of Broken Hill, is the proud owner of a 1924 Dodge ute that is in mint condition. The original Parham family used the car for touring from its inception until 1947, when it was converted to a ute using the original mudguards. This ute of Bruce's was once a touring car.
This pickup was primarily a work truck, but it also spent a good chunk of its life parked on blocks. Bruce Church claims that the Dodge is in the same unrestored condition in which he bought it.
Known as the National Roadster Utility, Chevrolet produced a convertible pickup truck in 1927.
Although arguments over which vehicle came first will likely continue, the 1951 Holden coupé utility—which was based on the 48-215 four-door sedan of the previous year—is without a doubt the most beloved ute in Australia. The original Holden pickup, dubbed the FX and designated by the model number FX, outperformed the competition and came in at a lower price. The first year saw about 70,000 people added to the waiting list.
While the van is king in urbanised Europe and utes have never caught on, they are indispensable in most other countries, especially those dependent on agriculture for their economy. The United States dominates global ute production; until recently, the Ford F-Series pickup was the best-selling vehicle model in the world, despite lagging sales in other regions.
With a total of around 420,000 new utes sold every year, Thailand easily wins the title of having the most utes per person in the world. Most of the automobiles sold in Thailand are Japanese brands because of the country's booming market, its access to world-class vehicle manufacturing, and its high import duties on vehicles not produced locally.
Thailand has been home to some ute manufacturing since the 1990s.
A peculiar law in Thailand requires leaf springs on the rear axles of utes, slowing the progress of Japanese pickup truck manufacturing.
In the coming years, established manufacturers will be under pressure from India and China, which are both increasing their production of utes.
Only two car-based pickup hybrids were sold in the United States between 1957 and 1988: the Chevrolet El Camino and the Ford Ranchero. (If you include the Dodge Rampage and Volkswagen Caddy, you can technically count four.) Author Rick Miller of Southern Culture on the Skids describes them as "the mullet of the muscle car world," so the stereotype must be true. Utes, which are essentially car-based trucks, became popular in places like Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa in the 1930s and have been selling well ever since. FastLane.com.au claims that the first ute was created after a farmer's wife in Victoria, Australia wrote asking for a vehicle that could carry both the family and their pigs to market on Saturday and to church on Sunday. She mentioned in her letter that she was looking for a car that would meet both of these criteria. Louis Thornett Bandt, the first designer to work for Ford Australia, created a roomy and luxurious vehicle with a trunk that could hold up to 1,200 pounds of cargo thanks to its clever layout.
Shortly after, in 1932, the first coupe utility vehicle was manufactured and put into production. Henry Ford dubbed the vehicles "Kangaroo Chasers" during their time on display in Dearborn. In the '50s, the coupe utility vehicle market was crowded with competitors like Ford and GM's Holden division, as well as Dodge. Their automobiles were reworked American coupes imported to Australia, with cargo boxes grafted to the back. It was only logical for Asian automakers to begin making utes once they began shipping their products to Australia. The Subaru Brumby, or BRAT as it was known in the United States, was the most popular pickup truck in Asia throughout the 1980s.
Toyota marketed and sold a coupe utility version of the Corona for its second and third generations before establishing the Toyota Hilux as the benchmark in the segment of the small pickup market that it dominates around the world. That of the following generation and the one after that
Also shipped to Australia were complete knock-down (CKD) kits featuring the Toyota Crown. Autos from AMC, Toyota, British Leyland, and Mercedes-Benz were among the many that Australian Motor Industries, a major importer, used these kits to modify. A number of utes were built from the kits. Many European automakers served the Australian market, and they all made coupe utility vehicles. Between 1951 and 1957, Vauxhall, a division of GM in the UK, manufactured a ute version of the Velox, and Peugeot sold both the 403 and 504 as utes. The two best-selling makes of utes currently manufactured in Australia are Ford and Holden. Ford provides buyers with a choice between a coupe utility and a cab chassis for their Falcon ute.
Pontiac's Holden ute-based G8 ute concept car was shown in the United States in 2008, but it ultimately failed to gain traction.
It brings up a good point about the car business in Australia. Here in Australia, specifically. Australia still opposes globalisation, even as the rest of the world embraces it more and more. Because Australia is such a large market, but it is relatively cut off from the rest of the world, this is the case. Truth be told, the American market is often swayed by what's popular in Australia when it comes to design.
That's because many Aussie motorists share the same fascination with V-8-powered, rear-drive cars as their American counterparts. The Chevrolet SS, set for release soon, is really just a Holden Commodore with a different badge. After the Chevrolet Impala SS was axed in 1996, this sedan will be the company's first with a rear-mounted drivetrain.
The ute has been a staple of Australian life for nearly a century after it was first imported. The modern ute is just as likely to be found in the city as it is in the country, despite its origins as a cargo carrier for farmers and tradespeople. The Toyota HiLux was the most popular car in Australia in 2015, followed by the Ford Ranger and the Holden Amarok.
Australian Geographic Adventure editor and former editor of 4X4 Australia Justin Walker says, "the versatility of the dual-cab [a ute with rear doors and rear passenger seats] is, in my opinion, the main driver behind the incredible sales figures." (Citation required) "In my opinion, the dual-cab [a ute with rear doors and rear passenger seats] is the primary driver behind the staggering sales figures." Essential to their success is the ability to "lug around your work gear during the week and then load up the ute tray with camping equipment, bikes, kayaks, and other items for a family adventure on the weekend,"
Many areas of Australia's outback are inaccessible to anything but four-wheel drive vehicles, making 4WD utes a desirable commodity. The most recent Toyota HiLux model, the SR5, underwent extensive testing and development that included driving 650,000 kilometres in real-world conditions in Australia, which are among the harshest in the world. With its new 2.8-liter diesel engine, the SR5 is the most potent HiLux ever built. After years of using wooden trays, this is a huge improvement.
The new Hilux maintains the same adventurous spirit as the original pickup trucks, but its cabin is more spacious and luxurious than ever. When it comes to ride comfort and general handling, Justin claims that "these improvements have resulted in significant improvement without compromising the load-carrying capability." New electronic aids for the driver and an enhanced suspension are both included in this model.
While most modern Australians no longer require a car to transport them to Sunday service and the pigs to the market on Monday, the original principle of versatility and comfort remains as vital as ever.
The Model A was a four-door sedan with a tub body and a reinforced chassis, making it ideal for hauling large loads. Production of Ford Australia's ute, the Model 40-A Light Delivery, began that year. Before being reclassified as a van, Volvo produced only 27 of these closed-cabin utes. The firm states that it was the first to produce coupe utilities. Interior plastics and seat trims are still a generation behind those found in high-end vehicles.
The ute's enduring popularity has made it a national symbol of Australia. Henry Ford himself remarked that the boys in the US should study the success of the "coupe ute" in Australia. In 2016, the Toyota Hilux was the best-selling vehicle in Australia. The body-on-frame construction method is the quickest and cheapest option for a chassis. Suspension is an area where manufacturers are always looking for ways to save money.
The weight of a heavy load is more evenly distributed along the chassis rail, making leaf springs the most effective suspension system. You can improve your ute's ride and traction by loading it down with hay bales or Clive Palmer. The frantic motion of the leaf springs is calmed by the extra mass, resulting in a more civilised rear performance. In 1975, Lew Bandt converted a 1933 Ford sedan into a replica ute. During 1933 and 1934, the Ford Australia Roadster and Coupe Utilities were branded as the Light Delivery.
The manufacturing of hard and soft tops proceeded simultaneously. Prognoses of its demise within the next 18 months are widespread among industry experts. To this day, the 1951 Holden ute remains Australia's most cherished pick-up truck. About 420,000 new utes are sold annually in Thailand, giving the country the highest ute density per capita of any country in the world. The quantity of utes manufactured in India and China is both rising.
Utes are small pickup trucks that are based on the platform of a car. In the '30s, they were widely consumed in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Coupe utility vehicles were given the name "Kangaroo Chasers" by Henry Ford. The first ute was built in response to a request from a farmer's wife who wanted a vehicle that could be used to transport pigs to and from market and church. Nearly a century after its introduction to Australia, the ute remains an indispensable part of daily life.
There were a lot of coupe utility vehicles available in the Australian market, and they were all made by European automakers. The Toyota Crown was also available in complete knock-down (CKD) kits, which were exported to Australia. Having a four-wheel drive vehicle is highly desirable in Australia because many parts of the outback are inaccessible to anything but 4WD vehicles. The newest Toyota HiLux model, the SR5, was put through rigors testing and development, which included logging over 650,000 kilometres on the open road.
- Ford Australia's production ute debuted in 1934 as the Model 40-A Light Delivery after the prototype was approved.
- "Ford Australia's claim that Lew Bandt's design was the first ute in the world rests on the idea that it was either the first "coupe utility" in North America or the first in Australia.
- A light-duty truck or van is still the most efficient way to move something big, heavy, or awkward like Clive Palmer if you don't have access to a specialised vehicle.
- The Toyota Hilux was the best-selling model in Australia in 2016, marking the first time a commercial vehicle, as opposed to a passenger car, held this distinction.
- The production cost of a body-on-frame armature is much lower than that of a unitary or monocoque armature.
- Since this is the case, leaf springs are the most effective means of suspension.
- It's worth noting that Nissan is breaking with tradition by equipping the new Navara with a coil spring suspension in the rear.
- Ford Australia's Roadster (soft top) and Coupe Utilities models were both known as the Light Delivery during the years 1933 and 1934.As part of a total production of 1390, 862 were Roadster Utilities and only 528 were Coupe Utilities.
- Ford's Falcon ute, the original model in this market, will be phased out at the end of 2019, and the outlook for the Holden Commodore ute isn't much better.
- With a total of around 420,000 new utes sold every year, Thailand easily wins the title of having the most utes per person in the world.
- Only two car-based pickup hybrids were sold in the United States between 1957 and 1988: the Chevrolet El Camino and the Ford Ranchero. (
- Utes, which are essentially car-based trucks, became popular in places like Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa in the 1930s and have been selling well ever since.
- The two best-selling makes of utes currently manufactured in Australia are Ford and Holden.
- The Toyota HiLux was the most popular car in Australia in 2015, followed by the Ford Ranger and the Holden Amarok.
- Australian Geographic Adventure editor and former editor of 4X4 Australia Justin Walker says, "the versatility of the dual-cab [a ute with rear doors and rear passenger seats] is, in my opinion, the main driver behind the incredible sales figures." (
- Essential to their success is the ability to "lug around your work gear during the week and then load up the ute tray with camping equipment, bikes, kayaks, and other items for a family adventure on the weekend,"Many areas of Australia's outback are inaccessible to anything but four-wheel drive vehicles, making 4WD utes a desirable commodity.
- The most recent Toyota HiLux model, the SR5, underwent extensive testing and development that included driving 650,000 kilometres in real-world conditions in Australia, which are among the harshest in the world.
- With its new 2.8-liter diesel engine, the SR5 is the most potent HiLux ever built.
FAQs About UTE in Australia
It doesn't seem to bother the car-buying public, though, as one in five new cars sold in Australia today is still a ute - the vast majority of which are imported, ladder-framed offerings like the hugely popular Toyota HiLux, VW's Amarok and the attractive, and also locally designed, Ford Ranger.
The Best-Selling Utes in Australia
- Toyota Hilux.
- Ford Ranger.
- Isuzu D-MAX.
- Mitsubishi Triton.
- Great Wall Cannon.
- Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series.
- Mazda BT-50.
- Nissan Navara.
A ute is a perfect solution as you can carry them on the tray (preferably in their cage as opposed to being able to wander around where they might get injured by flying objects). Utes can be easily retrofitted with racks to carry long items; these are better than roof racks on an SUV.
THE Toyota Hilux is probably the most sought-after of second-hand utes due to its solid reputation and the high demand keeping prices high and the chances of getting a 'bargain' Hilux quite low.
There are many features that the Ute offers, such as its duality for being able to take on the cityscape and double up as a vehicle able to take on the rugged outback landscape. It offers comfort and ample spacing, which has caused it to increase in popularity for Aussies.