The origins of the Coupe Utility trace their roots back to the 1930’s when an Australian farm wife asked Ford Australia’s lead designer Lew Bandt for a vehicle that would take her to church on Sunday and then take the pigs to the market on Monday. Shortly after receiving her letter Bandt created what we now know as the Coupe Utility. Although the coupe utility was created in Australia in the 1930’s we in the states didn’t get on board until 1957 when Ford released the Ranchero. From 1957 to 1987 Americans saw a lot of choices for a Coupe Utility with the Ford Ranchero, Chevrolet El Camino, Plymouth Scamp, VW Rabbit and the Subaru Brat but today’s options for a coupe utility in the U.S.A. are gone with the Subaru Baja being discontinued in 2006.
While in America it may seem the coupe utility is dead around the globe there are many companies that still produce and sell a lot of them. Without a doubt the most popular and bestselling coupe utility is the Holden Ute. The Ute is short for sport utility and Australia they sell a lot of Utes. For those of you that don’t know Holden is a subsidiary of General Motors and since 2000 they have continued the storied tradition of the coupe utility. The Ute is so popular that Holden began exporting them to South Africa. And we Americans came VERY close to having another coupe utility back in 2009 when Pontiac announced that they would begin offering the Pontiac G8 ST (Sport Truck) but as we all know Pontiac was killed off due to the financial crisis and subsequent restructuring of GM.
Since the demise of the Pontiac brand the chances of a coupe utility in the USA have diminished greatly with only used cars available for those who want a coupe utility. BUT recently there was a small glimmer of hope when a few chats on twitter between a Michael Knower and Joel Ewanick caught the attention of America’s Ute fans when Michael tweeted to Joel (who happens to be the Chief Marketing Officer of GM) “I want a new El Camino. Badly. Please!” to which Joel replied “well, we need you and 100,000 more of your best friends.” This set off a chain of events that had fans of car/trucks around the U.S. tweeting and posting comments in a vain effort to sway GM to actually build a coupe utility. A day later Ewanick tweeted that he “Wish it were that easy, we need to develop our fuel efficient vehicles first! Priorities!” so as quickly as it started the chances of a new El Camino were dashed away.
Will we get another coupe utility? Only time will tell, but there are certainly alot of Americans who will wait patiently until there chance to own a new one comes again.
Would you buy a NEW El Camino? Would you buy a Holden Ute?
1934 Ford Utility
BMW M3 Pickup
Holden Ute Video