The Greatest (Attainable) Car You Never Owned Was Just Killed in Australia

the greatest attainable car you never owned was just killed in australia

There’s sad news from Down Under. No, Paul Hogan is still alive, and no, dingoes didn’t get into a local kindergarten.

The last Ford Falcon Ute rolled off the assembly line in the Melbourne suburb of Broadmeadows today, ending 55 years of continuous production, Car Advice reports. The death of the FG X Falcon Ute heralds the looming demise of Australian Ford assembly, and leaves just one (doomed) ute in the marketplace of the country that invented it.

In North America, the Ford Falcon’s life ended during the Nixon administration, replaced by the unloved Maverick. In Australia, however, the dream stayed alive. Over its lifetime, the Australian Falcon went from the compact sedan most familiar to 1960s American buyers, to a full-size, rear-wheel drive holdout.

The Falcon bites the dust in October, and with it ends all Australian Ford production. As Aussie motorists mourn the Falcon Ute, the Holden Ute is the only car-cased pickup left standing, but not for long. General Motors’ long-running ute ends production late next year.

North American buyers enjoyed a ute kinship with the Aussies from the 1960s through the 80s. They had their utes, and we had the Ford Ranchero and Chevrolet El Camino (as well as the GMC Spring/Caballero). They drove like the car they were, with a usable bed for light hauling — just like the fist-ever ute, the 1934 Ford Coupe utility.

Despite constant calls over the past three decades for GM to bring back the El Camino, it’s been one big “No dice” after another. Pickups are hot, crossovers, too, and sedans are withering. It’s doubtful the ute concept will ever be seen as more than a niche oddity (i.e., not worth building) on these shores.

[Images: Ford Motor Company of Australia; Chris Keating/ Flickr]

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  • ToddAtlasF1 ToddAtlasF1 on Jul 30, 2016

    I don't know what the first ute was, but the Ford Model-T roadster pickup of 1925-1927 was a US factory offering that entered production prior to Ford of Australia completing its first car.

    • Pch101 Pch101 on Jul 30, 2016

      "Ute" stands for "coupe utility". We usually think of coupes as being two doors, but coupe taken more literally is derived from the French word for "cut", which refers to the roofline. Pickup trucks existed before the Ford coupe utility, but it was the roofline that made the ute different. The difference isn't particularly radical otherwise, it's largely just a styling effort. The idea was to sell trucks that would be attractive enough that they could double as passenger cars during an era when trucks were used strictly for work. It's a bit of a gimmick, really.

  • Skor Skor on Jul 31, 2016

    What really always impressed me about Ford Oz is how they developed Ford's wheezy little I6 into a proper sports car engine, as good as any I6 from Europe or Japan. For years I dreamed of finding a rust-free Ranchero and importing an Ford Oz I6 to install in it. Never could find the time/money.

  • Luke42 I like the Metris quite a bit, but I never bought one.Two problems kept me from pulling the trigger:[list=1][*]It was expensive for what it was.[/*][*]For the price they were asking, it needed to have a plug for me to buy it.[/*][/list=1]I wanted a minivan that could tow, and I test drove one and liked it. The Mercedes dealer stocked both cargo versions and conversion vans. It was a nice vehicle, and I really wanted one for a while.This is the inevitable fate of cars that I like, but don't actually buy.
  • Garrett I would have gone for one of these if it had AWD. If they had offered it, it could have done far better.
  • Michael500 Sorry, EV's are no good. How am I supposed to rev the motor to impress girls? (the sophisticated ones I like).
  • Michael500 Oh my dog- this is one of my favorite cars in human history! A neighbor had a '71 when I was a child and I stopped and gazed at that car every time it was parked outside its garage. Turquoise with a black vinyl. That high beltline looks awesome today!
  • ScarecrowRepair I'd love an electric car -- quiet, torque, drive train simplicity -- but only if the cost was less, if recharging was as fast as gas (5 minutes) and as ubiquitous. I can take a road trip and know that with a few posted exceptions (US 50 from Reno to Utah), I don't have to wonder where the next fuel station is, and if I do run out, I can lug a gallon of gas back.Sure I'd miss the engine sounds and the joys of shifting. But life is all about tradeoffs.