The Ford Motor Co. is celebrating the 80th anniversary of its Ute vehicle, a forerunner of modern pickup trucks such as the F-Series and Ranger that was inspired by an Australian farmer in 1933.
The historic vehicle, the concept of a 23-year old Ford Australia designer, later transformed into the modern pickup truck, according to Ford. The idea for the vehicle came in 1933 after Hubert French, Ford's Australian managing director, received a letter from the wife of a Gippsland, Victoria, farmer. The letter read, in part, "My husband and I can't afford a car and a truck but we need a car to go to church on Sunday and a truck to take the pigs to market on Monday. Can you help?"
French gave the letter to Lewis "Lew" Brandt, who eventually developed a Ford utility vehicle as a coupe with an integrated steel-paneled load-carrying section at the rear. The vehicle had a 1,200-pound payload on a wheelbase of 9 feet, 4 inches.
In Jan. 23, 1934, the new vehicle went into production. The first two were sent to Canada. The vehicle is credited for helping develop the Australian automotive industry.