Ever wonder where the idea came for the Ford F-Series pickup trucks? We have to give this one to our friends Down Under, as Ford celebrates the 80th anniversary of the ute. As the story goes, the idea for the small work truck with passenger-car comfort came after a young managing director received a letter from a farmer's wife looking for better transportation for her hard-working family.
The request made it to the desk of a 23-year-old designer named Lewis Brandt, and the results were borne out in prototype at the end of 1933, with the first sale of the "coupe-utility" in early 1934. Now one of the more popular vehicles in Australia and quite unique to the continent, the ute was the precursor to the modern pickup truck. What Brandt did was take a coupe sedan body and blend it with pickup sides and bed in combination with a V-8 engine, three-speed manual transmission and a leaf-spring suspension.
Brandt retired in 1975 and died in 1987 from injuries sustained in an auto accident while driving a newly restored version of the ute he originally designed.
For more details about the 80th anniversary of the ute, click here to read the full Ford press release.