All fields are required.MONTEREY 2016 CONSIGNMENTS
CONTACT A CONSIGNMENT SPECIALIST
Vehicle to be offered for Auction sale WITHOUT RESERVE and SOLD to the highest bidder August 18th – 20th, 2016 at Russo and Steele’s 16th Annual Monterey, California Auction. Please contact us for more information.
Unknown to many enthusiasts, the American-built Ford Ranchero and Chevrolet El Camino cannot lay claim to being the originator of the car-based utility/pickup with an integral cargo bed. That honor actually goes to Ford of Australia in the early 1930s, with the limited-production Ute, short for “Utility.” Since Australian banks were reportedly more inclined to grant loans to ranchers wanting to purchase farm trucks rather than passenger cars, a new market niche existed.
According to legend, the idea arose when one rancher’s wife, who had quite enough of riding in the farm truck, petitioned Ford of Australia to build a vehicle that could haul feed and small livestock, yet be capable of carrying the family in car-like comfort to church on Sunday. The letter moved along through several departments, and finally reached the Design Department, staffed by one person – a young Lewis Bandt. The Ford ‘Ute’ started the trend, but the vehicle remained a niche item until the early 1950s when archrival Holden commenced mass-production of the “FX” in 1951, three years after the sedan of the same model type entered production.
Fast-forward to the 2010s with many generations of both the Ford and Holden Utes produced over the intervening years. Their base cars were constant rivals on Australia’s notoriously fast highways and they battled constantly on the country’s racing circuits, eventually giving rise to the wildly popular V-8 Supercar racing series. Naturally, the “Ute” versions would take part in all the excitement too. Less costly than their regular stablemates, Aussie “Utes” were also considerably less costly, making these sporty-appearing vehicles the choice for many young, performance-minded Australian men, even today.
Of all Holden “Utes,” the hottest performers followed the late-1990s release of the VX-Series Holden Commodore, which soon begat the VU-Series Ute. Built with aggressive styling and powerful available V-8 engines, the VU and its Monaro passenger-car sibling of 2000-2002 clearly influenced the new-generation Pontiac GTO built for North America from 2004 through 2006. In Australia, the VU Series quickly progressed through the VY, VZ, and then the VE of 2007-2013. A newer generation continues today. Featuring powerful GM LS-Series V-8 engines and performance-tuned brakes and underpinnings, the Australian Holden Ute carries a decidedly sporty persona and incredible performance belying its practicality. However, precious few of this Australian gems exist in the United States.
The current owner purchased this 2011 Holden Ute and then exported it to the United States, followed by conversion to left-hand drive. Only about 10 are known to exist in America. In addition to the conversion work, this Ute was further customized with over $30,000 invested in total since acquisition. Riding on 22-inch wheels and a lowered heavy-duty suspension, this stunning Ute is equipped with a custom leather and suede interior. The powerful LS2 6.0L V-8 engine is equipped with factory 6.2L heads from the police pursuit engine, mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The engine, transmission, dash, front suspension, and steering components are out of a Chevrolet Caprice. Take one look and you will see this is the Chevy El Camino that GM should have built!