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Saturday, February 27, 2016

Forbidden Fruit: This Holden Ute Lives in the USA


Copyright © 2016 Bold Ride LLC.

It’s human nature to want what you can’t have, and for many American car enthusiasts that notion is awfully familiar. Fans can rattle off endless lists of cherished cars that have never officially been welcomed to US shores. And usually high atop those lists is one of these—a Holden Ute. 
Born from the need of one farmer’s wife for a vehicle that could go to church on a Sunday and carry the pigs to market on a Monday, the “ute” (or “coupe utility”) is an Australian icon. They caught on in the US during the El Camino and Ranchero heyday, though nowadays you won’t find any late model utes stateside… or will you?

This VE Holden Ute sprouted up on eBay in Las Vegas, Nevada, and it’s likely one of a very, very select few in the US. Talk about forbidden fruit.


For the most part, US vehicle emission and traffic safety legislation is notoriously unkind to vehicles not designed for sale in the US (and on the short side of 25-years-old). Subsequently the cost to have them conform is prohibitively expensive.

Nevertheless, some specialty shops have perfected the recipe for converting these Holdens, and they do so by melding them with bits from their US Zeta-platform cousins. Think Chevrolet SS, Caprice police cruiser, and the now-deceased Pontiac G8. The end result is commonly a ute that’s been converted to left-hand drive, been given a US compliant engine, and seeing as you’d want to drive one with regularity—a US title and VIN.


According to the listing, this particular ute is said to have been imported to the US, converted to left-hand drive, claimed registered in Colorado, and given a light modification of low springs and 22-inch wheels. Under the hood lives a GM 6.0-liter V8, and it backs up to an automatic transmission.

It’s a vehicle you certainly aren’t apt to see too often on these American shores, and considering that both Ford and Holden production on the Australian continent is winding down, their days could sadly be numbered.