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80 years on Ford celebrates pioneering evolution of Aussie iconic ute

February 26, 2014
80 years on Ford celebrates pioneering evolution of Aussie iconic ute

MELBOURNE, Feb. 26, 2014 Ford is celebrating the 80th anniversary of its Australian inventionof the iconic ute, which led to the development of vehicles such as the F-Series and Ranger andpropelled the company to years of truck leadership industry website Autonews reports.

Not onlywas it an Australian invention, but the concept has been exported to the world, reinterpreted byother manufacturers and gained a legion of fans everywhere.

In mid-1933 the then managing directorof the Ford Motor Company of Australia, Hubert French, received a letter from a farmers wife inGippsland, Victoria. She wrote: My husband and I cant afford a car and a truck but we need a carto go to church on Sunday and a truck to take the pigs to market on Monday. Can you help?

Young Ford design engineer Lewis (Lew) Bandt got the job. Bandt developed his Ford utility as acoupe (two-passenger, steel-paneled, glass-windowed car) with an integrated steel-paneled loadcarrying section at the rear.

He completed his original design in October, 1933, and quicklyproduced two prototypes for testing.

By January 23, 1934, he had the final drawings and the newFord ute went into production with Bandt christening his design a coupe-utility.

When the first utescame off the production line in 1934 two were sent to Canada. The car even caught the eye ofHenry Ford.

The original Bandt-designed Ford ute paved the way for what has morphed into whathas become some of the worlds biggest selling vehicles the Pickup or utility. It also spawned theFalcon ute, which has been a firm favourite with customers since the first Falcon XK ute waslaunched in 1961.

In total, Ford Australia has sold more than 455,000 Falcon utes, among the mostpopular being the Falcon XB, XF II, AU II, BA and current FG models.

Designer Lewis Brandt standing with permission of the Brandt family
Designer Lewis Brandt standing with permission of the Brandt family

The Australian designed and developed Ford Ranger is also widely sold in more than 180 differentcountries.

Ranger achieved best-ever sales and was Fords best-selling vehicle across theAssociation of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2013 and earned International Pick-UpAward 2013 in Europe Ranger was the best-selling vehicle overall in Vietnam, saw sales rise 43per cent in Thailand and is challenging to become New Zealands top-selling truck by overtakingToyota HiLux in sales six months in the past two years.

Pictured: Restored Bandt ute with 2014 Ranger. With permission Bandt family. (February 26, 2014).

Ford Coupe Utility
Ford Coupe Utility