While many credits the invention of the ute to Ford Australia, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the ute is almost as old as the car itself. The classic Ford ute made its debut in 1934 but Volvo is known to introduce pickups with open and closed cabins in 1927. However, only 27 of these closed cabin pickups were produced. Similar models were also introduced in other parts of the world by some manufacturers in the early 1920s.
Australian utes have emerged as a cultural icon. In this brief history of the ute, we will explore the history of the Australian ute and how it has evolved over the years.
If you haven’t been living under a rock, you would already know what a ute is but for the sake of completeness, here is how ute is defined.
A ute is a utility coupe. Traditionally, the term stood for vehicles with an integrated cargo tray and passenger body. However, these days the term is used for defining any vehicle that has an open cargo area. In most other countries, it would be labelled a pickup truck.
The popularity of utes in Australia can be gauged from the fact that this vehicle accounts for around 9% of the total car market in Australia. Almost 70,000 units are sold each year. The Australian ute can be rightly defined as the granddaddy of all the utility vehicles in the world as most of the utes sold across the globe have taken their design inspiration from the original Ford ute.
The ute has a really interesting history. Usually, a new car model is the result of market research or an attempt by a manufacturer to capture an underserved market. However, the ute was born out of the frustration of the wife of an Australian farmer who wrote to the Australian Ford. The story goes that a farmer’s wife wrote to Ford Australia to introduce a vehicle that was good enough for them to go to the church and also to take the pigs to the market. In short, they said that they couldn’t afford to have two vehicles and wanted a single vehicle that could be used for everything.
Lewis Bandt, who was working as an engineer at the Fold Geelong plant took on the challenge to design such a utility vehicle. Instead of designing a new model from the ground up, he chose to modify the 1933 coupe which was a passenger car. His modified design involved an extended side panel from the back of the tray to the back of the cab. This modification was necessary to strengthen the body to allow it to carry the additional load as well as additional suspension.
The first Ford coupe utility went on sale in 1934. This vehicle was rated to carry a load of 1,200 pounds or 550 kg and the length of the tray was 5’5”. It was extremely successful and labelled as the Aussie Kangaroo Chaser by Henry Ford himself. It was labelled as the Model 40-A Light Delivery.
Over the years, a number of changes to the design have been made. In the classic utes, the rear tub wasn’t separate from the cab but design changes in the 60s led to a separate rear tub and cab.
There is no denying that ute is a big part of Australian culture. It’s a part of the Australian way of life and everybody uses it including the rural farmers and the urban tradie. The Australian Ford and Holden utes have been discontinued but there are still plenty of options available in the market.
While utes have been a part of the Australian culture for a long time, you can make it much more efficient by adding a custom-designed service body. Here at MFI, we offer a huge range of service bodies including:
In addition, we also offer completely customised service bodies based on your specific needs.
If you have been using your ute for work and want to make it more efficient, you should invest in a service body. It offers a huge range of benefits and allows you to get the most out of your ute. Here’s a quick glance at the many advantages of a ute service body:
One of its biggest advantages is the proper organisation of all the tools you need for work. With several compartments, a service body allows you to properly organise your tools and make it much more efficient. You won’t waste much time finding the tools you need for your job. It also protects the tools from theft. If you have lost a number of tools due to them being left unattended at the back of your ute, investment in a service body is well worth the cost.
Needless to say, a service body will also protect your tools and equipment from the vagaries of nature. Also, you are not restricted to a particular design or a particular style. A variety of standard designs are available and you can always get a customised design unique to your needs.
Here at MFI service bodies, we specialise in customised service bodies to help ute owners get the most out of their vehicles. We offer a huge range of products ranging from standard solutions to bespoke designs.