Ute-short for utility-has long been an Australian truck tradition, unique to that market and built to provide light hauling for ranchers. Similar to American El Camino and Ranchero pickups, Utes were generally styled on the passenger-car platforms, and maybe some 1/2-ton trucks too. Did you know there's even a magazine published Down Under for Ute truck fans? It's true!
Here in the U.S. this truck style, with the integrated bed/cab (no gap between the two), remains somewhat of an oddity. One other distinguishing design of the cab was the small quarter windows and slightly extended cab doors on most Utes, though not all of them possessed these styling features. Regardless, this rare body style is a guaranteed head-turner among truck fans on both sides of the equator.
Now if you really want rare how 'bout some phantom Utes based on American body styles like these tasty samples from our "Fountain of Utes?" Drink up!
1936 Ford Pickup
Here began the inspiration behind this article. CCT's editor Rich Boyd and myself were kicking around ideas for the '35 and '36 model Ford cabriolets-but I don't think he expected me to draw something quite so wild. I wanted to style the '36 in a totally unexpected and different way-with cues as diverse as '50s Corvettes, the '53 Buick Skylark, "Dutch" Darrin '30s coach-built roadsters, and today's trend toward swoopy, smoothie hot rods. The body-side character line (and Ford Victoria ornament) is borrowed from the '55-56 Ford Victoria. Oh, and note the wheels: concave, large-diameter, billet recreations of the classic early-Ford steelie-with-caps combo. A wild wheel for a wild car/truck.
You know, if Rich hadn't suggested this particular one, I wouldn't have thought about this year Cad . . . this is one of those slap-your-forehead strokes of brilliance that comes alive on paper. Cadillac pickups in any form are very rare-remember those late-'70s Gene Winfield conversions? Nice! But this late-'40s Series 61 is quite stunning, yet simple. Note the small, lockable cargo/golf-bag door behind the driver's door. Now, what's the best part? Find a funeral-home "flower car" platform and you're 7/8 of the way there. Because it's a Cadillac, I had to locate it in a formal setting high in the Hollywood Hills by a retro-futuristic home at dusk. Aahhh, the good life!