Commuting can often be tedious, particularly for those of us in large cities. But sometimes while you’re driving or walking or sitting on the bus, you will spot something that makes the commute feel worthwhile. Every weekday this week, I will present a series of finds from my regular commute to work which prove that peak hour is often the peak time for classics.
Surprisingly, this isn’t the only El Camino I have seen around Brisbane even though these were never officially imported here. This is understandable considering General Motors-Holden had its own utes to sell. Still, a contemporary HZ ute lacks the crisp style of these downsized El Caminos. Those old Holden utes are generally still serving as haulers while the handful of El Caminos I have spotted have looked like this: pristine with flawless paint and not a speck of dirt or debris in their beds.
Interestingly, someone in my part of town chose to import a 1977-79 Ford Ranchero but sadly (well, fortunately for the car itself) it is always kept under a cover and I have only spied its lengthy front overhang peeking out.
For those who want to see a good old-fashioned Aussie ute and not another city-slicker El Camino, here’s one: what looks to be a 1953 FJ ute. Powered by a 132.5 cubic-inch inline six with a three-speed manual, this is probably the oldest Holden I’ve seen on the streets. What a survivor! This was the first redesign of the original Holden, which was known as the 48/215 or FX. The FX was the first really, truly Australian car in both engineering and in name.
Those are just three sightings. What else will the week bring?
Curbside Classic: 1977-79 Ford Ranchero
Cohort Sighting: 1953 Holden FJ Ute
Always liked that generation of El Camino; I can see why it still has enthusiasts on both continents. OTOH the last two porky Ranchero generations were of no interest to me despite being a Fordist back then. Interesting that both Ford & GM agreed that these vehicles should get Spanish names (the GMC clone was at 1st Sprint, then Cabellero). Trivia Moment: El Camino Real is CA route founded by Father Serra, whom I learned about in elementary school. CA history is pretty dull prior to the Gold Rush; not even the natives were very interesting compared to Plains tribes.
Here it’s obvious that Australia didn’t import American traffic light designs ?.
That ’53 Holden FJ’s proportions would have been perfect for a “retro” truck (“HHRish”) in US,
Very true. I always thought GM missed the boat with the SSR. They should have adapted the basic design to the S10 chassis instead of it being a rich man’s toy. As an S10 sized truck with extended cab and regular cab versions, as well as 4 cylinder or v6 power, it would ha e sold like gangbusters.
Looking forward to it. Happy hunting.
78 El Camino. Only year with the outboard back up lamps.
Great find. Those last generation El Caminos look so irresistibly cool.
Always good to see some utes, all three are incredibly rare sightings!
I’m perplexed by the hubcaps on that El Camino. The only designs I’m familiar with for that generation are the ones shared with the contemporary Malibu, and these aren’t those (outer lip is way too wide, for one.) Of course, they may not be original.
Those LTD II-based Rancheros are rare even in their home country, partly due to that front clip design being generally unloved. Both of the ones I’ve seen recently have undergone “nose jobs”, having the front clip replaced with Cougar or T-bird beaks.
The wheel covers are from an 81 up Monte Carlo. They were the standard cover, which was almost never seen. My neighbor bought an 83 brand new with those covers on it,
So do the Holden FX and FJ Utes hold the same iconic status in Australia as the GM Advance Design pickup trucks have in the USA? That everybody that owned one or used one proclaims that it is one of the best damn trucks that were ever made? Or mythic lore proclaiming its prowess as a work vehicle?
I think the GM AD tucks and the Holdon FX and FJ Utes are some of the best looking vehicles out there.
They hold a pretty strong position as the first Holden ute, but they are pretty rare. Just 20,557 FX and 44,803 FJ utes were built.
Also have a look at the 1949-52 Chevrolet utes that were built in Australia.
I just don’t understand why anyone would go to the bother of importing that El Camino to Australia. To Britain, maybe. Australia – no.
Plenty of Rancheros and El Caminos in New Zealand too but along with Holdens and Falcons Chevy pickups were actually sold here new into the 80s
A Chevy fan would do. In the spirit of ute sightings, I find this a lot stranger, the XF is a fairly unloved model.
I’ll bet you that FJ is not powered by a grey Holden motor, its had a full front suspension and rear axle swap probably from a HR and will have a red motor under the bonnet, I can see that from a casual glance, its a custom restomod not a survivor.
The wide wheels and hubcaps are a pretty fair giveaway!
Love those elkies. Not so dolled up though.