1934 Ford Coupe Utility

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1934 Ford Coupe utility with side valve V8 engine. Wooden frame body with steel skin and canvas island roof (from 1935 only all-steel bodies with no canvas island were produced). Remnants of blue/green paint can be seen on the body. There are cut and weld marks indicating a section of the running board on the driver's front side was removed to fit a gas producer during the petrol shortages of the Second World War. When petrol was once again readily available the producer was removed and the metal piece welded back. 


In 1904 the first Ford motor car was imported to Australia, supplied by Ford Canada to avoid extra import duty on non-Empire produced goods. Ford cars were a relatively low priced option for those able to purchase a motor car and proved extremely popular, particularly the Model T. Initially cars were shipped to Australia virtually complete, but as the number of local body building operations developed, motor cars were increasingly delivered as chassis and parts. To standardise production and manage distribution more effectively, the Ford Motor Company of Australia, with a manufacturing and a sales company, was incorporated on 31 March 1925, based in Geelong, Victoria.

South Australian born Lew Bandt was appointed as the first designer on the staff of Ford Australia. His automotive career started at just 14 years of age when he became a fitting and turning apprentice with Ford distributor Duncan & Fraser. In 1929 he became a junior draughtsmen at the Ford Motor Co. Australia. It is reputed that a letter received by Ford Australia in 1933 from a farmer's wife in Gippsland, Victoria asking:

'Why don't you build people like us a vehicle to go to church in on Sunday, and which can carry our pigs to market on Monday?'

It is believed this letter prompted the design of the coupe utility - the first Australian designed ute. The task was given to the 22 year old Lew Bandt. Buckboards, converted from existing passenger vehicles such as the Model T, roadster utilities and light delivery vehicles were already in use. They were often purchased as a chassis and cowl, with a semi-open cab and flat bed tray fitted by a local body builder. Formally designated as a light delivery model, the coupe utility was based on a passenger car. It provided comfort and all-weather protection for passengers as well as the load bearing capacity of a light truck. It was first released in 1934, during the years of the Great Depression, when owning even one vehicle was a luxury. Banks would only provide farmers with a loan to purchase a work vehicle. The coupe utility was the perfect solution.

In this design the tray was integral to the cab, which was fashioned from the front end of the new V8 sedan. A continuous side panel, pressed as a single piece, was used from the rear of the cab to the rear of the tray. The body and suspension were strengthened to provide a larger open area and greater strength for load bearing. Only 345 vehicles were produced in 1934 and were sold for £295. Demand soon increased and other marques quickly followed with the release of their own models. The use of Ford's newly released side valve V8 engine struck a chord with Australia's farming community and helped popularise the V8 into Australian culture. Demand from tradesmen and farmers was particularly high following the end of the Second World War as little commercial automotive manufacturing had occurred in the previous six years. Utilities played an important role in developing Australia, ferrying supplies through some of the harshest areas in the country. Although it originated as a 'cargo carrier' for tradesmen and farmers, by the 1970s the culture of ownership had changed, becoming a status symbol for owners and a proud part of their identity and lifestyle.

Lew Bandt enjoyed a 46 year career in the Design and Product Development section of Ford Australia. Following his local success with the coupe utility he was sent to the USA and Canada to meet with Ford engineers and Henry Ford himself. There were plans to manufacture a similar utility based on Bandt's design for the American market, but it was not until 1957 that Ford's American arm took up the idea with the release of the Ranchero. Bandt was tragically killed in 1987 in a road accident while returning from an interview with the ABC outside Geelong. He was travelling in a converted 1933 Ford sedan built to replicate his iconic ute design.  


This is an original example of the 1934 Ford coupe utility - the first Australian designed ute. It was the first utility to combine the dual needs of a load bearing light delivery vehicle with the comforts of a passenger vehicle.

National Motor Museum Collection


Hello. Do you have any infomation on the 1934 Ford  roadster pickup or "UTE". I know there was'nt maney made in 34 i read maybe 200. I live in the U.S and my have one. Thank you.
Dear Danny can you please email me directly at and I will endeavour to assist you
Matthew,   I am inquiring where you found details that only 345 Coupe Utes were produced at Ford Geelong in 1934  
Hi Robert there is I believe some conjecture over the number of these utes built but this is a number which has been suggested by more than one researcher, However there is still some debate if this is purely coupe utes or may also include the roadster ute body.  The factory records do not reflect the number produced as I understand it as they are generic for 1934 Ford V8's.

There is a wreck of a 1935 Ford ute with a V8 that is abandoned in Hanningan's Gap South Australia.

Hi to all I had a 1934 Coupe Ute in 1968 my frand and I bort it for $25.00 and one head was off  greasd the gascat and drove it to Melborne from Parramatta Sydney and back for a show.

My questoin is about the 1933 ford SPORTS coupe in Australia I have a sports coupe the number is 40-168, I can not find informetion on it, can you help me?

Thank you Ron..

Hi Ron well the number tells you that it is a Ford Model 40 so that sounds right, what info are you after, please send an email to motor@history.sa.gov.au'; // -->

Hi Mr Matthew. I have a 1933 FordSPORTS Coupe, and I like any info you may have or no of my 33Ford SPORTS Coupe, I have ownd my SPORTS Coupe sins 1964 and I only had the boddy shell only, the boddy number is 40-168

Can you tell me when it was sold, and how menny was build of the 33 SPORTS Coupe, and when to when thay was build, and was the SPORTS Coupe was it only build in Australia?

Thank you Ron..

She is a beautiful old ute. However there is some debate that the first all purpose ute was actually made by ford in 1932. If you wish to follow the link below. regards Mark http://www.fordgarage.com/pages/ute302304.htm

I recently found one of this beautiful old classic ford being disposed off, it had been rusting at a womans backyard in melbourne. Seems she just though it was a junk. She listed it online


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