Car-based trucks! we love ‘em around here. Sure you know about Australian Utes, the El Camino, maybe the Ranchero or Brat, but did you know there’s several of these odd creatures? Lets go through some of the greatest hits and misses.
1925-31 Ford Model T and A (heh)
We’ll get this one out of the way right away, prior to WW2 the distiction between car and truck was very blurry. The Ford Model T was a perfect example of a “car” that had a pick up bed (it was a roadster too no less), many other car makers offered something similar.
1934 Ford Coupe Utility
In Australia Ford ran with this idea and created a coupe pick up resulting in the first Australian Ute.
1951-84 Holden Ute
In the modern world of cars (post WW2) Australia is the promise land of cars with pick up beds. Holden jumped in 1951, and they’ve been making them ever since with the exception of skipping a couple generations in the 1980s.
1951-57 Vauxhall Velox
Interestingly enough Vauxhall also had a very early ute, though utes didn’t seem to catch on in the UK.
1957-59, 67-79 Ford Ranchero
Unlike the Mustang or the Bronco the Ranchero is a rare example of Ford beating Chevy to market segment and not being the dominate player.
1959- Chevrolet El Camino
In the United States El Camino is the proprietary eponym for a car based pick up. The car would go on to have a relatively long life.
1960-66 Ford Falcon Ranchero
In the mid 1960s Ford experimented with their new Falcon by transferring the Ranchero name/body style from their fullsize to the Falcon. It only lasted a few years before they moved it back to the intermediate body.
1960-70 Toyota Corona Pick up
Toyota looking to increase their market share in Australia created a pick up version of their Corona sedan. It served as Toyotas pick up before a proper truck was introduced.
1961- Ford Falcon Ute
Back in Australia Ford came much later to the Ute party with their Falcon, but never the less created a great rivalry with the Holden Ute.
1965-79 Chrysler Valiant Ute (Australia)
Crysler of Australia also got into the ute game with their Valiant.
1971-08 Nissan Sunny Ute
Nissan followed Toyotas lead and made a pick up version of their Sunny sedan. Unlike Toyota this vehicle lasted for 30 years in South Africa where utes are known as Bakkies.
1973-91 Ford Ranchero (Argentina)
Ford offered a completely separate ute for the South American market. Probably the only car maker to have 3 unique utes existing in different markets.
1978-94 Subaru Brat/Bumby
Perhaps the most quirky car on the list. Doug’s appropriately named video will tell you all you need to know.
-1979 Ford Ranchero
This was the last year for the Ford Ranchero. It’s particularly interesting to me for the obscene front and rear overhangs.
1979-82 VW Rabbit Sportruck
For a few short years VW chopped the back off their Golf-based Caddy van and sold it as the VW Sportruck.
1982-84 Dodge Rampage
Dodge joined VW in the short lived compact ute game with their Daytona-based Rampage. The name was a cute play on the Ram pick up line.
1983-88 Suzuki Mighty Boy
The Mighty boy is the smallest entry on this list. It’s comically appearance is nicely complemented by it’s comical name.
-1987 Chevrolet El Camino
1987 was the last ute sold in the US, until the Subaru Baja.
1990- Holden Ute
The Holden Ute returned with the VG series. However like it’s Ford rivial the Ute’s future looks bleak after the current generations run their course.
1996- Fiata Strada
In South America Fiat sells a pick up version of their compact cars. Dodge will start selling these in some markets as the Ram 700. A new Strada Adventure sub model pictured here.
1998-03 Ford Courier (Brazil)
South America, Brazil in perticular, is the new hot bed for cars with beds. Ford sold a Fiesta based truck there reviving they Courier name.
2002-10 Proton Jumbuck
Even Malaysian car maker Proton has a ute.
? Peugeot 207
South America prompts yet another ute from an unlikely source.
1999- VW Saviero
Probably the cleanest lines on a compact ute come from VW and their Gol-based Saviero.
2003- Chevrolet Montana
Chevy is one of the latest car brands to jump into the compact ute market in South America. The Montana replaces older Corsa based utes.
2003-06 Subaru Baja
Subaru tested the waters to see if a ute could be popular in the mid-00s. Apparently the answer was no, but the tiny bed and excessive body cladding might have been a factor.
While South America (Brazil) teems with mini utes, the rest of the world’s outlook isn’t great. For the next couple of years Holden and Ford will carry the torch, but when the flame goes out it’ll be the end of these majestic creatures.