Colin Chapman’s motto for car performance was; “simplify and then add diamond plate.” No. Wait. That wasn’t Chapman. That was a young Elon Musk — he was building his first electric car, a canvas backed quasi-camino and he needed a lightweight, space-age material to use for the front valence, rear bumper, bed liner, seat cover, and tail light surround…and he thought “I can’t afford anything light, so I’ll hack the roof off, add 2 tons of lead-acid batteries and use diamond plate wherever I can”. Diamond Plate Motors was a total failure, but he joined the guys at Tesla Motors when they were converting lightweight Lotus Elises to electric and the rest is history. Find this 1980 Datsun 310 offered for $1500 in Santa Cruz, CA via craigslist.
This next car comes from all the way around on the other side of the globe in a little place called Australia. Actually…it isn’t little at all. It is roughly the size of mainland USA from Los Angeles to Cleveland, but with the population of Texas. The result is a population density that is only beaten by Mongolia and Namibia if you are looking for places with wide open spaces. However, the people in Australia are car crazy and love horsepower and rear-drive beasts even if they no longer produce automobiles in their own factories thanks to Ford and GM. (Enjoy this tribute the the Australian car industry rock video from Grindhouse…but be warned you’ll see a lot of fat/hairy shirtless dudes past that click. Don’t say I didn’t warn you in the comments). Enjoy this tribute to the old days of Holden and Ford with a turbocharged inline-6. Find this 2005 Ford Falcon XR6T Ute offered for $7500 AUD ($5329 USD) in York, Western Australia via gumtree.
Life is too short to drive a boring car. You know that because we’ve been saying it since 2012 (Is DT almost 8? Wow!). But if the convertible CRX posted yesterday wasn’t your thing (maybe you sunburn easily or don’t like getting your hair wind-dried) then perhaps a custom El Camino is what your heart […]
Are you a fan of the utility of El Camino style 4-door car-based pickup trucks? What about 5-speed equipped, turbo, all-wheel-drive versions? Down under they call them utes, but up here in right-side-up world we call them uticorns because they are all but non-existent — and if it wasn’t for a little Japanese company called […]
You’ve seen them before…and they go by many names. Not quite a pickup truck, not quite a car…but they are known as a Ute, coupe utility, utility, an El Camino, a Picarup, Ranchero…or simply a vehicle where you can go to church on Sunday, but carry the pigs to the market on Monday. Find this […]
Seeing that no automakers currently produce a car based ute in the US, interest in older El Caminos and Rancheros is stronger than ever. A cottage industry has even sprung up selling car to truck conversion kits for Dodge Chargers and various VW cars. The Ford Durango ute was not an official Ford vehicle, but some […]
The Suzuki Mighty Boy is the mini-El Camino that you didn’t know existed, but you certainly need in your garage. The Mighty Boy was built in Japan from 1983 through 1988 on a shared platform with the Suzuki Alto — and while both used the tiny sub 600 cc engines to qualify for Japan’s keijidōsha […]
The VX generation of the Holden Commodore was built in Australia for local consumption from 2000 through 2002 along with its sister car, the Holden Ute that was designated VU. The V platform was a full sized affair built with a front-engine rear-drive setup with Ecotec V6 and Gen III small block V8 power heading […]
While over in Oz scouting cars at Performance Car Mania at Winton in 2014, I heard both sides of a drunk argument of which is “the best burnout car from the factory, ever”. The contenders were the VN SS, the Tickford EL XR8, and the VS Maloo. Though the VN SS won this particular Carlton […]
Remember the Dodge Rampage? Those things were sweet. Wait…you don’t remember the Dodge Rampage? Lemme give you a recap — from 1982 through 1984 Dodge sold the Rampage (and Plymouth Scamp) to fill the needs of the (now dead?) light pickup truck market similar to the Subaru BRAT and Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup. Caught up? Great, […]