Coupé utility

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
1934 Ford, the first coupe utility model. On display at the National Motor Museum, Birdwood, South Australia

A coupé utility is a vehicle with a passenger compartment at the front and an integrated cargo tray at the rear, with the front of the cargo bed doubling as the rear of the passenger compartment.

The term originated in the 1930s, where it was used to distinguish passenger-car based two-door vehicles with an integrated cargo tray from traditional pickup trucks[1] that have a separate cargo bed from the passenger compartment. Since the 2000s, these vehicles have also been referred to as "pick-ups",[2][3] "car-based pick-up" and "car-based truck".[4][5]

In Australia, where the traditional style of coupé utility remained popular until it ceased production in 2017, it is commonly called a "ute", although the term is also used there to describe traditional style pickups.


1937 Terraplane Utility Coupe, convertible to Pickup

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 to meet the client's request. Commencing in October 1933 with assistance from draftsman A. Scott,[7] Bandt used the passenger compartment and roof from the Ford V8 5 window coupe and extended the rear section using a single fixed side panel on each side, with a hinged tailgate at the rear to create the load carrying compartment. The model was released in July 1934 as the coupe utility.[8] In his book "Early Australian Automotive Design: The First Fifty Years", Australian motoring historian Norm Darwin suggests the idea was not a big leap in design from the existing roadster utility that had been produced by various manufacturers as early as 1924.[9] Darwin also suggests that the idea was being developed by other manufacturers simultaneously, as General Motors-Holden's Ltd released Bedford and Chevrolet coupe utilities in September 1934[10] only two months after Ford, with the main difference being the use of the three window coupe roof on the GM-H products. Other manufacturers were quick to follow with coupe utilities based on various passenger and light truck chassis.[11]

In North America, this idea was also trialed by some manufacturers. Studebaker created the Studebaker Coupe Express and sold it between 1937-1939.

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, although the term is also applied to larger vehicles such as pickup trucks.

America followed suit with the release of the Ford Ranchero in 1957 and Chevrolet El Camino in 1959.[12][13]

North American models[edit]

Chevrolet El Camino

The Chevrolet El Camino is a coupé utility/pickup vehicle that was produced by Chevrolet from 1959 to 1960 and from 1964 to 1987.

Introduced in 1958 (for the 1959 model year) in response to the success of the Ford Ranchero pickup, its first run lasted only two years. Production resumed in 1963 (for the 1964 model year) based on the Chevelle platform. In 1977 (for the 1978 model year) it was shifted to the GM G-body platform. Production finished in 1987.

Although based on corresponding Chevrolet car lines, the vehicle is classified and titled in North America as a truck. GMC's badge engineered El Camino variant, the Sprint, was introduced in 1970 (for the 1971 model year). It was renamed Caballero in 1977 (for the 1978 model year), and produced until 1987.

In Spanish, el camino means "the road" or "path".

Other North American coupé utilities

South American models[edit]

2000–2010 Ford Courier

Since the 1970s, utes have been built in Brazil under European car-maker badges, usually based in hatchbacks, such as the Ford Courier, based on the Ford Fiesta MkIV. Current examples include the Chevrolet Montana (based on the Opel Corsa and later on the Chevrolet Agile), the Peugeot Hoggar (based on the South American Peugeot 207), the Volkswagen Saveiro (based on the Volkswagen Gol) and the Fiat Strada (based on the Fiat Palio).

Other South American coupé utility models:

Fiat Fiorino pick-up

Asian models[edit]

South African models[edit]

2011–2017 Chevrolet Montana
Nissan 1400 B140 Bakkie, South Africa

Australian Holden Kingswood, Ford Falcon and Chrysler Valiant utes were sold in South Africa as the Chevrolet El Camino[16][17], Ford Ranchero[18][19][20], and Valiant Rustler[21][22] respectively. Some re-badged versions of South American utes are sold in South Africa (where the term "bakkie" instead of "ute" is popular) under different names, such as the Chevrolet Montana and the Ford Courier, sold there as Chevrolet Utility[23] and Ford Bantam respectively.

Other South American coupé utility models:

  • 1975–1979 Dodge Husky (South Africa)
  • 1989–2002 Mazda Rustler (rebadged 2nd generation Ford Bantam)
  • 2008-present Nissan NP200 (rebadged Dacia Logan Pick-Up, built and sold in South Africa)

European models[edit]

1975 Austin Marina truck
1972 Mini pick-up

Austin Marina A coupé utility based on the 1971–1980 Morris Marina with a 1275 cc engine was badged as an Austin.[24] There were never many of these truck variants sold.

Mini Variously badged pick-up variants were built on the chassis of the Mini estate/wagon.

Other European coupé utilities

Middle Eastern models[edit]

Australian models[edit]

2014 Holden VF Commodore Ute

Coupe utilities have been produced in Australia since the 1930s. The three major Australian manufacturers (GM-Holden, Ford and Chrysler) offered coupe utility versions of their most popular models and many of the smaller manufacturers also offered coupe utilities in their range.[27][28][29][30] In many cases, if a coupe utility was not available as part of the regular model range an aftermarket coachbuilder would build one to customer order. Coupe utilities were also offered by various manufacturers on light truck style chassis,[31][32][33][34][35] alongside their regular style pickup and cab-chassis offerings.

Examples include:


General Motors-Holden




Rootes Group



  • 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.[51]
  • Austin Metro Ranger: A concept based on the first generation model, it featured a full roll bar, flood lights, and a rear-mounted spare.[52]
  • BMW M3 ute/pickup: On April Fools' Day 2011, BMW announced the BMW M3 ute/pickup.[53][54][55] 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.[12][56] 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.[57]
  • Pontiac G8 ST:[58][59] 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.[60]
  • Toyota X-Runner. Concept vehicle displayed by Toyota Australia at the 2003 Melbourne and Sydney International Motor Shows.[61] The body shell was largely based on that of the first generation Avalon (production of which picked up in Australia a few months after it left off in North America, and lasted until 2005), while the suspension AWD parts were borrowed from the contemporary Lexus RX. It was intended for production, but Toyota of Australia could not get approval from the parent company.[62]
Toyota X-Runner concept utility as displayed at the 2003 Sydney International Motor Show

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. ^ "Pick-up Skoda Auto". Archived from the original on 16 July 2011.
  3. ^ "Chevrolet Montana 2018". Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  4. ^ "List of Car-Based Pick Ups (Utes)". Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  5. ^ "Is The Car-Based Pickup Truck Doomed To Be A Cyclical Fad?". Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  6. ^ Ford Milestones 1930′s » Ford Discovery Centre
  7. ^ Early Australian Automotive Design; The First Fifty Years. Norm Darwin page 179
  8. ^ Early Australian Automotive Design; The First Fifty Years. Norm Darwin page 179
  9. ^ Early Australian Automotive Design; The First Fifty Years. Norm Darwin pages 178-179
  10. ^ Early Australian Automotive Design; The First Fifty Years. Norm Darwin page 184
  11. ^ Early Australian Automotive Design; The First Fifty Years. Norm Darwin page 185
  12. ^ a b "Will the Coupe Utility Ever Come Back to the United States?". Archived from the original on 18 July 2013.
  13. ^ TruckFest Rewind: Rare Australian 1946 Ford Ute Delights – OnAllCylinders
  14. ^ Johnson, Davey G. (1 March 2007). "Avengermino! The Dodge 1500 Pickup!". Jalopnik. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  15. ^ "75 Years of TOYOTA | Vehicle Lineage | Publica Pickup | Description". Toyota. 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ Chevrolet Utility, our new Corsa Bakkie, for sale in South Africa (archived)
  24. ^ Morris Marina Archived 2013-08-02 at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ [
  26. ^ Advertisement for Singer SM1500 Half Ton Coupe Utility, The Nambour Chronicle, Friday, 29 February 1952, page 10. Retrieved 1 December 2013
  27. ^ "Comfort And Utility". The Herald. Melbourne. 9 March 1936. Retrieved 22 February 2019 – via Trove.
  28. ^ "International's New Utility". The Herald. Melbourne. 13 April 1936. Retrieved 22 February 2019 – via Trove.
  29. ^ "The Willys 77 Coupe Utility". The Daily Standard. Brisbane. 2 September 1935. Retrieved 22 February 2019 – via Trove.
  30. ^ "COMMER 8-CWT. COUPE UTILITY". The Herald. Melbourne. 30 November 1936. Retrieved 22 February 2019 – via Trove.
  31. ^ Early Australian Automotive Design; The First Fifty Years. Norm Darwin page 185
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^
  46. ^
  47. ^
  48. ^
  49. ^
  50. ^
  51. ^ "AMC Cowboy". Archived from the original on 2013-01-16.
  52. ^ Adams, Keith (27 September 2011). "Metro Ranger". AROnline. UK. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  53. ^ Davis, Brett (2011-03-16). "2011 BMW M3 ute spotted on Nurburgring". Car Advice. Australia. Retrieved 2017-07-01.
  54. ^ Lavrinc, Damon (2011-04-01). "Officially Official: 420-HP BMW M3 Pickup hauls ass, nearly 1,000 pounds". Autoblog. US. Retrieved 2017-07-01.
  55. ^ "BMW's 414bhp M3 pick-up: it's real". Top Gear. UK: BBC. 2011-04-05. Retrieved 2017-07-01.
  56. ^ LaVrinc, Damon (2011-04-01). "420-hp BMW M3 Pickup". US: Jalopnik. Retrieved 2011-04-10.
  57. ^ Pleskot, Kelly (27 September 2016). "BMW Looks Back on Four M3 Prototypes That Were Never Made". Motor Trend. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  58. ^ Levine, Mike (2 July 2008). "Pontiac G8 Sport Truck Engine and Name". US. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  59. ^ "2010 Pontiac G8 ST". Motor Desktop. 14 August 2008. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  60. ^ "GM shelves plan for US launch of Pontiac G8 ST". The Free Library. 8 January 2009. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  61. ^
  62. ^