What is UTE?
There are different types of automobiles. Amongst them, one is called UTE. UTE is an acronym for “Utility” or “Coupé Utility”. It is a famous term in Australia and New Zealand. It is used to describe vehicles with a tonneau behind the passenger section. All those who have a regular driving license can drive a UTE.
Traditionally, the term applied to vehicles mounted on passenger car chassis and with the cargo tray joined with the passenger body.
However, modern-day usage of the term “ute” in Australia and New Zealand has developed to include any vehicle with an open freight area at the back, which would be termed a pickup truck in other countries.
Historically, the word “ute” has been applied to represent a 2-door vehicle based on a passenger car chassis. Like, the Holden Commodore, Australian Ford Falcon, Chevrolet El Camino, and Subaru BRAT.
In Australia, UTEs are produced that are rear-wheel drive. Their cargo tray is combined with the passenger body as contrary to a pickup truck. In a pick-up truck, the cargo tray is kept apart from the passenger body.
Presently in Australia, people use this word for any vehicle that has a cargo tray at the rear. People in the rest of the world call such vehicles ‘pickup trucks’.
Where Was UTE Invented?
In the 1920s, the USA used to manufacture two-door vehicles. These were based on passenger car chassis. They had a tray at the rear. These were soft-top convertibles. People also used to call these vehicles ” roadster pickup” and “light delivery”.
In 1934 Ford Australia manufactured their Australian Coupe UTE. In this way, Ford Australia became the first Australian company who produced UTE. There is a story behind the production of UTEs in Australia.
Mr. Lew Bandit was an engineer in Ford Australia. In 1932 he received a letter from a farmer’s wife. In this letter, she asked him to manufacture such a vehicle that could carry the families of the farmers to churches on Sunday. And this vehicle should also be able to carry their animals to markets on Monday. This idea impressed the Ford engineer Mr. Lew Bandit.
He started working on it and succeeded in producing such a vehicle. He designed a two doors body vehicle. It had a tray at the rear. For this purpose, the American Ford Model A chassis was used. He named this model ” coupe utility”.
The company displayed this Australian version in the USA. Henry Ford was very pleased and gave this vehicle a nickname. This nickname was the “Kangaroo Chaser”. In the 1930s, Ford manufactured a convertible version, too. People knew this version as the roadster utility. The company produced it in limited numbers.
Claims About The First UTE
Ford Australia claimed that Lew Bandit’s design was the world’s first UTE. This claim was based on the fact that the design was of course the first ‘coupe utility’ of North America or Australia. A ‘utility’ meant a passenger car with a soft-top, convertible roof. And a ‘coupe utility’ meant a hard-roof sedan.
Australian car manufacturing company Holden released a UTE in 1951. Now both Holden and Ford were producing UTEs. These UTEs started an Australian-designed UTE tradition. According to this tradition. Australian companies built these UTEs on a passenger car sedan chassis having 2 doors and a tray at the back.
In Australian rural areas people like UTEs very much because these vehicles serve their purpose of daily life movements. People also use UTEs in racing. And they lightly modify these vehicles to meet racing requirements.
Modern UTEs now have a different structure. In these vehicles, the rear tub is separate from the cab structure. This is a necessary separation for 4WD UTEs. It prevents them from stress cracking of the rear bodywork. Because the chassis has flexibility in this structure.
In Australia, UTEs are now the most popular type of vehicle. There is healthy competition among car manufacturing companies in Australia. They are trying to provide the best products. UTEs are also becoming family cars. People in rural as well as cities are liking this vehicle very much. Australia is a large country. It has a vast infrastructure of roads. There is a long-distance among different parts of the country. And people like traveling in their own cars. And they enjoy commuting in UTEs on these long journeys.