Coupé utility

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1934 Ford, the first coupe utility model. On display at the National Motor Museum, Birdwood, South Australia
The 5th generation El Caminos were built 1977–1987.
1972 Chevrolet El Camino
Australian advertisement, circa 1956. This Dodge Kingsway model was sold in Australia 1956–1957.

Compared with other types of pickup trucks in the 1930s, the term coupe utility (or coupé utility) was defined as combining a more stylish, comfortable and roomier coupe roofline with an integrated cargo tray, however since the 1950s the definition of the term has become blurred.[1] More recent models are often called "pickups" (or pick-ups) by their makers.[2][3]


Main article: Ute (vehicle)

The body style originated in Australia.[4] It was the result of a 1932 letter from the wife of a farmer in Victoria, Australia to Ford Australia asking for "a vehicle to go to church in on a Sunday and which can carry our pigs to market on Mondays". In response, Ford designer Lew Bandt developed a vehicle based on the client's request and the model (called a "coupe utility" at the time) was released in 1934. A convertible version, known as the roadster utility, was produced in limited numbers by Ford in the 1930s.[5]

In 1951, Holden released a model based on its 48-215 sedan, reinforcing the Australian tradition of home grown two-door passenger-car sedan chassis based "utility" vehicles with a tray at the back, known colloquially as a ute. In recent years, however, ute in Australia has come to mean, incorrectly - by some uneducated people, anything from a coupe utility such as a Commodore-based Holden Ute to a traditional pickup like the Ford F-Series, so for the purposes of this article, the full term "coupe utility" shall be used.

America followed suit with the release of Ford's Ranchero in 1957 and Chevrolet's El Camino in 1959.[6][7]

List of coupé utilities[edit]

2009 Dacia Logan coupe-utility
1936 Ford Model 48 Roadster Utility, produced in Geelong, Victoria, Australia. This roadster utility is a convertible version of the coupe utility.
Nissan 1400 B140 Bakkie, South Africa
1954 Vauxhall Velox EIPV Coupe Utility


  • AMC Cowboy: Derived from the Hornet, it was intended to compete with small pickups from Japan, but the project was canceled after AMC acquired Jeep, which already sold small pickups.[13]
  • BMW M3 ute/pickup: On April Fools' Day 2011, BMW announced the BMW M3 ute/pickup. This vehicle was based on the E93 Convertible and featured a structured aluminum pickup bed and removable targa roof. It was created by BMW's M Division as a one-off workshop transport vehicle for use within the company.[6] It was actually the second such ute that BMW built for this purpose: they had previously built one using a first generation M3 convertible in 1986. This coupe ute served the factory for 26 years before the April Fools car was built to replace it.[14]
  • Pontiac G8 ST:[15][16] a rebadged Holden Ute (which is based on the Holden Commodore sedan, which is badged as a Pontiac G8 in the USA) which was shown at the New York International Auto Show in March 2008. It was slated for release as a 2010 model, but was cancelled before any were sold.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Oastler, Mark; Kenwright, Joe (7 February 2012). "Editorial: Australia DID NOT invent the Ute!". Truck Jungle. Australia. Retrieved 29 September 2016. 
  2. ^ See, for example, Skoda "Pick-up 135"
  3. ^ Chevrolet Montana, Brazil, "Uma pick-up pequena"
  4. ^ Ford Milestones 1930′s » Ford Discovery Centre
  5. ^ The ute is born... 9/8/99
  6. ^ a b Will the Coupe Utility Ever Come Back to the United States? –
  7. ^ TruckFest Rewind: Rare Australian 1946 Ford Ute Delights – OnAllCylinders
  8. ^ Unique of the Week: 1974 Ford Falcon XB Ute
  9. ^ Rootes Australia advertisement for "The new Hillman de luxe Utility", Power Farming in Australia and New Zealand, August 1956, page 100
  10. ^ Morris Marina
  11. ^ Advertisement for Singer SM1500 Half Ton Coupe Utility, The Nambour Chronicle, Friday, 29 February 1952, page 10. Retrieved 1 December 2013
  12. ^ 1953 Brochure for Standard 12 Cwt Delivery Van and Standard Pick-up Truck, Retrieved 26 October 2013
  13. ^ "AMC Cowboy". [dead link]
  14. ^ Pleskot, Kelly (27 September 2016). "BMW Looks Back on Four M3 Prototypes That Were Never Made". Motor Trend. Retrieved 29 September 2016. 
  15. ^ Levine, Mike (2 July 2008). "Pontiac G8 Sport Truck Engine and Name". US. Retrieved 29 September 2016. 
  16. ^ "2010 Pontiac G8 ST". Motor Desktop. 14 August 2008. Retrieved 29 September 2016. 
  17. ^ "GM shelves plan for US launch of Pontiac G8 ST". The Free Library. 8 January 2009. Retrieved 29 September 2016. 

External links[edit]