This website has been archived and is no longer updated.

The content featured is no longer current and is being made available to the general public for research and historical information purposes only.
About Students and teacherslinks and references Australia Innovates
A century of innovationThe Innovation cycleThe innovation game
The best of the century What is innovation? Overview Timeline Test your AIQ
The Ute
vehicle with car cabin and utility tray

In 1932 a farmer wrote to the boss of Ford Australia to ask, 'Please make a two-in-one car and truck, something I can go in to church on Sunday, and carry pigs to market on Monday.'

Lewis Bandt was given the job to develop such a multi-purpose car. His solution was to graft a high-sided open or 'utility' back onto a two-door Ford V8 Coupe. What made it different from a truck was that the interior was as luxurious as a coupe, and the side panels and roof were pressed in steel like a car.

The 'ute' was in introduced in 1934 by both Ford and General Motors ? Holden?s. It was an immediate success and the idea was soon copied by car makers in Australia and overseas.

The 1934 utilities were sent to Ford in the USA where they became known as 'kangaroo chasers'. These early samples inspired the 1956 US Ford Ranchero and other utes worldwide.

Who Did It?
Key Organisations
Ford Australia Limited : design, manufacture

General Motors-Holden?s : design, manufacture
Key People
Lewis Bandt : designer

Further Reading
Making it: success and innovation in Australia's industries
R Renew
Powerhouse Publishing, Sydney, 1993, p 46.

Ford Australia

Related Innovations
Australian six-cylinder family cars

One of the first Ford utes. It combined the luxury of a car with the usefulness of a truck. Courtesy Powerhouse Museum. Photo Andrew Frolows.
ATSE Powerhouse Museum