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1934 Ford, the first coupe utility model. On display at the National Motor Museum, Birdwood, South Australia

1937 Terraplane Utility Coupe, convertible to Pickup

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 existing 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. Since the 1950s however, the definition of the term has become blurred.[1] More recent models are often called "pickups" (or pick-ups) by their makers,[2][3] although the terms "car-based pick-up" or "car-based truck" are also applied by automotive press.[4][5]


Main article: Ute (vehicle)

The body style originated in Australia.[6] 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.[7]

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 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.[8][9]

List of coupé utilities

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.[17]
  • Austin Metro Ranger: A concept based on the first generation model, it featured a full roll bar, flood lights, and a rear-mounted spare. [18]
  • 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.[8] 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.[19]
  • Pontiac G8 ST:[20][21] 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.[22]

See also


  1. "Editorial: Australia DID NOT invent the Ute!", Truck Jungle (Australia) (7 February 2012). 
  2. See, for example, Skoda "Pick-up 135"
  3. Chevrolet Montana, Brazil, "Uma pick-up pequena"
  4. List of Car-Based Pick Ups (Utes) – Opposite Lock
  5. Is The Car-Based Pickup Truck Doomed To Be A Cyclical Fad? – Jalopnik
  6. Ford Milestones 1930′s » Ford Discovery Centre
  7. The ute is born... 9/8/99 Archived 2015-05-29 at the Wayback Machine
  8. 8.0 8.1 Will the Coupe Utility Ever Come Back to the United States? –
  9. TruckFest Rewind: Rare Australian 1946 Ford Ute Delights – OnAllCylinders
  11. Unique of the Week: 1974 Ford Falcon XB Ute
  12. Rootes Australia advertisement for "The new Hillman de luxe Utility", Power Farming in Australia and New Zealand, August 1956, page 100
  13. Morris Marina Archived 2013-08-02 at the Wayback Machine
  14. Advertisement for Singer SM1500 Half Ton Coupe Utility, The Nambour Chronicle, Friday, 29 February 1952, page 10. Retrieved 1 December 2013
  15. 1953 Brochure for Standard 12 Cwt Delivery Van and Standard Pick-up Truck, Retrieved 26 October 2013
  16. "75 Years of TOYOTA | Vehicle Lineage | Publica Pickup | Description". Toyota (2012).
  17. "AMC Cowboy". Archived from the original on 2013-01-16.
  19. Pleskot, Kelly (27 September 2016). "BMW Looks Back on Four M3 Prototypes That Were Never Made", Motor Trend. 
  20. Levine, Mike (2 July 2008). "Pontiac G8 Sport Truck Engine and Name".
  21. "2010 Pontiac G8 ST" (14 August 2008).
  22. "GM shelves plan for US launch of Pontiac G8 ST" (8 January 2009).

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