SEMA 2012: Day 1 Truck of the Day

SEMA_Sunrise_1 II
(photo by Evan Sears)

By Larry Edsall

So, says the editor, as long as you’re at the SEMA Show all week, pick a truck of the day and write something about it.

I spotted this Holden Ute Monday, the day before the official start of the show. If you like El Caminos, you’d think you’d died and gone to heaven if you visited Australia and saw they’re still making them, though now based on a much newer GM platform and with hot-rodded Corvette engines tucked beneath the hood.

Actually, this history of such car-based pickup trucks goes back to the 1930s in Australia and a letter written by the wife of a farmer to the general manager of Ford of Australia, inquiring why the company didn’t build a vehicle that could carry pigs to market and the family to church.

Ford responded by taking a coupe and grafting on a pickup-style bed, and GM’s Aussie arm, Holden, followed suit after World War II.

But while based on the Holden Ute, this vehicle that caught my eye at SEMA is labeled as the Holden8r because builder Bernt Karlsson has incorporated parts from both the Holden-based Pontiac G8 and the Chevrolet Camaro.

Holden 1 II

Karlsson is a native of Sweden who learned old-school techniques in bodywork and painting as a teenager and then came to the United States in 1989 and knocked on Boyd Coddington’s door. He then opened his own shop, created Candy Tangerine and Passion Purple paint colors, and eventually went back to Coddington’s as shop manager.

Nowadays, Customs by Bernt, Paint & Restoration works out of the 401K Hot Rod Shop in Anaheim, Calif.

Karlsson’s Ute was built with front fenders from a G8, lower body parts from the famed Holden Maloo, and a 2012 Camaro nose, but with a 2013 Camaro grille and unique carbon-fiber lower V-shaped air dam.

An RK Sport ZR1 hood’s plexiglass section allows the G8 6.0-liter V-8 with its polished Magnuson supercharger to be seen beneath the carbon-fiber hood. Exhaling through a Magnaflow exhaust system, the engine provides some 500 horsepower to Schott wheels that house Harrop brakes and are wrapped with Toyo tires.

The changes include rocker flares and a rear valance with integrated exhaust tips. Inside, there is Stichcraft seating and Crossfire audio. Two-tone paint is from Valspar’s House of Kolor.

Holden 2 II


How dare they do that to the Camaro! Awful!

Consumer Reports' reliability ratings
Automakers were ranked based on average predicted reliability scores:

1. Scion
2. Toyota
3. Lexus
4. Mazda
5. Subaru
6. Honda
7. Acura
8. Audi
9. Infiniti
10. Kia
11. Cadillac
12. GMC
13. Nissan
14. Mercedes-Benz
15. Chevrolet
16. BMW
17. Hyundai
18. Volkswagen
19. Jeep
20. Volvo
21. Buick
22. Mini
23. Chrysler
24. Dodge
25. Ram
26. Lincoln
27. Ford
28. Jaguar
EAT YOUR HEART OUT LOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


You mean "how could they do that to the Holden Ute!" The owner just slapped Camaro and G8 parts onto a Ute, he didn't cut up a Camaro to make this.

@ HEMI V8 Way to stay on subject...troll!

I'll bet the farmers wife that wrote that letter in the 30s wanted more then just a two seater. Atleast an old El Camino or Ranchero could fit three on the bench. Or four as it was when I was 12 and my brother was 13 when my dad had a 74 Ranchero. But that was before seatbelt laws, so it coulda fit 3 good. Nowadays it's all buckets.

This so called truck could probably barely hold a pig, or maybe better, the 14 bolt rear axle from a 92 K2500 that I delivered.

I guess it depends on what people call a "truck".

I can always stick my turbo engine in a Rampage and say it's a truck. Naaaaah.

@ Hey bill sorry I know I mean wont show this little

yeah, HEMI V8, grow up and leave it out for once. SEMA is fun for all automakers and truck (and car) enthusiasts alike. no need to be a 5 year old and flash your brand around like it matters to anyone but you.

Aww man, that does look pretty bad. They could have at least made the rear look like the current Camaro.

Lol @ Hemi V8, way to keep it strong.

Love that Camaro-nosed ute almost as much as I love the old '58 El Camino. Great job!

Thanks for sharing that Hemi V8. Lol!

@Hem V8

Classic Dodge guy, bragging about a 25th place finish.

As for the article I love the ute and it looks pretty good with a Camaro front end too. Didn't they offer a camaro front end on the El camino in the 80's? Or was that aftermarket?

Don't really care for these kinds of "trucks" front end looks okay, but thats bout it.

Thanks for sharing that Hemi V8. Lol!

Posted by: fordsucks | Oct 30, 2012 11:52:04 AM

Just keeping it real.

@TRX4 Tom. It is a Corvette with a bed. Performance Utes are.What is the payload of a Corvette?
Strangely they were quite happy in the 1930's to have a two seater as Pickups and trucks were only two seaters in the 1930's. Still the bench seats could fit three.
It is not a truck it is a Ute. US Pickups are lumped into the same category here. Trucks
Ford Ute 1934.

British Leyland Truck in Australia 1934

A 1950 Holden Ute with three wide bench seating and Dog.

AMEN, Robert Ryan.

@Macon Bacon and Brian L
This transformation from a Holden ute to a Comaro would have been quite simple.

Your Comaro is based on our Holden platform.

The ute has a poor paint scheme which doesn't help a poor look.

As for the Corvette bits, from what I've heard your Corvette brakes come from Holden. We have Holdens with LS3 engines in them.

So from a technical perspective this wasn't a large project.

@Mark Williams.
The Current Camaro/Ute is not new this is an Australian version that came out a year ago.

Your Comaro is based on our Holden platform.

The ute has a poor paint scheme which doesn't help a poor look.

As for the Corvette bits, from what I've heard your Corvette brakes come from Holden. We have Holdens with LS3 engines in them.

So from a technical perspective this wasn't a large project.

@Bigalfromoz, it's disrespectful to the heritage and legacy of the Chevrolet Camaro.

@ JeffEllis Not really the current Camaro was actually engineered here, built in Canada. It is not a true US Camaro.
I would agree if you got a classic US Camaro and made that into a Ute.


DETROIT (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co tumbled to nearly the bottom of an annual survey of vehicle reliability due to flaws in its touch-screen navigation and entertainment system, while Japanese rival Toyota Motor Corp swept the top three spots.

Just because of MyFordTouch big freaking deal, not likes it's drivetrain related.

On the bright side- at least Ford hasn't been labeled worst vehicle on the road, unlike the crap Ram!!

Despite Consumer Reports review of Portable Ovens and Iron's, Ford still managed to rake in $1.6B.

Me and my hubby love takeing our Kia Soul Hamster Edtion out for a spin! Our Hemi Ram feels so weak compared to the Soul i wonder why???

Frank, That means you got SCREWED!!!!!


My 1999 F250 V10 has been running strong, I think I done alright.

@HEMIsucks It was part of ford's drivetrain to. 6 speed tranmissions help knock ford lower plus the MyFordTouch problems

Main reasons

The magazine said Ford suffered for three main reasons:

• The expansion of the MyFord/MyLincoln Touch system into a wider range of vehicles. Fisher said the technology has been "problematic so far."

• Some newly redesigned models -- including the Ford Explorer, Fiesta and Focus -- "came out of the gate with more problems than normal."

• Three normally reliable models -- the Ford Escape and Fusion and the Lincoln MKZ -- were redesigned for 2013 and were too new to be counted in this year's results.

Fisher also cited ongoing consumer concerns with Ford's six-speed, dual-clutch PowerShift automatic transmission.

Read more:

I'm sorry, but that "thing" is ugly as sin.

@Johnnie Doe - I had read about the 6 speed too. Those results must be based on 2009 data. If Consumer Reports does like JD Power and releases data based on 3 year old trucks - that would make sense as the 6 speed was new in 2009. I have had zero problems with my 2010. I haven't personally heard of any problems either.

It is funny to see the Chevy Camaro fans all upset about the Holden Ute with a Camaro nose clip. As Robert Ryan and Big Al have pointed out, the Camaro is a reskinned Holden built in Canada. The comment about besmirching the Camaro legacy if laughable at best.

I'd like to see the Holden ute come to NA if for no other reason than to see how a smaller "truck" would sell. Since GMC has decided to import the Colorado, we will never see the Holden.

Hey Ford - import the Ford Falcon Ute!

@Lou Yeah read bout them to, but don't know anyone with a problem so far either.


1999 F-250’s,SMOKING!!!! Ford Recall: Faulty Fuel Tank Straps Force Recall of 1.1 Million Pick-Up Trucks that has caused fires.

1999 Ford F250 SMOKING!!!!! Recalls 3.8 Million Trucks and SUVs to Fix Cruise Control Switch that has caused Fires.

@HemiV8 - Knock it off. Unlike Ford, Ram *always* finishes near the bottom.

Besides, CR rankings are biased and their methodology is deeply flawed:

It must be really hard constantly watching Ford be #1, so any time they're not it's a really big deal.

Who just reported record quarterly NA profit? Ford. Who's profit was just reported to be down 14%? GM. Who's the #1 selling brand in America last year and this year? Ford.

Looks like consumers think differently of Consumer Reports' opinion. And if you're going to knock a whole vehicle because the touch screen is finicky...but the rest of the vehicle is fine...then there's something wrong with you. Even more so if you believe it.

Robert Ryan: OMG! that looks like our SSR from a few yrs ago!

@sandman 4 X4 The SSR was a overweight underpowered thing. Yes I have actually seen one in Utah, very retro looks

The original "Ecoboost" a Ford Falcon street Ute with a turbo straight six about 1000hp Video.

A 540 Cu in Ford Falcon Ute in the US

Something different a Ford Falcon RTV Off Road Ute

Two More: A Rally Ute

Towing the boat out of the water.

@Robert Ryan,IF YOU CAN'T BEAT UM JOIN UM 1934 custom ford truck with a 426 Chrysler

1930 ford truck blown Chrysler

1956 ford 490 inch Chrysler 727 trans

Now this is a burn out robert

Dodge Ram trophy truck

Dodge baja 1000 race truck

@Hemi V8 They Youtube burnout you posted was from the Canberra Street Machine Nationals.
2300hp Burnout Ford Falcon Ute.
Another one spinning like a top

@Hemi V8. A Top Doorslammer (Like PRO MOD) Mustang with a locally built Aluminum Block.

@HEMI V8. Correction : Supercharged 3 Valve per cylinder, OHC, 500 cu in billet aluminum engine.

@Robert Ryan, Nice looking mustang. 1969 Boss 429 Raven Black is my Favorite.

Check these Dodge Daytona's out. Gone in less then 6 seconds.

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