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Friday, 30 September 2011

Things I still don't get about Australia - No. 34

I'm repeating myself a little here because way back in the mists of 2009, no fewer than 30 things I still didn't get about Australia ago, I brought up the confusing topic of utes.
Yes, I know it's the vehicle that Australia has given to the world and that there's a certain pride in that, but I don't get the point of utes. Or I should say many utes. I understand working utes, no problems there. It makes perfect sense for builders, electricians, plumbers, chippies and other trades to have a ute, especially because they're so customizable if you get a tray body one rather than what the rest of the world calls a pick up. Similarly I can see the sense of 4 wheel drive versions for vehicles that get used on farms or building sites a lot, and also as recreational 4x4 vehicles. [...] What remains a mystery is the coupé style ute, which as far as I can see is a combination of sports car, saloon/sedan and the workhorse ute... but not actually as good as any of them. The ground clearance is too low to be much use on rougher sites let alone off road, and surely most tradies wouldn't want to risk that nice paintwork by chucking tools and materials in the back, even with a liner. And because it's a ute you've compromised the interior even if you get an extra cab or double cab version for the extra a normal number of seats. It's surely not going to be as aerodynamic as a proper sports coupé, so unless someone corrects me on that it seems compromised as a sports car. You do get a shitload of cargo capacity of course, but you get a shitload of room in a regular wagon too and often there's a ute and wagon version of the same car. So why buy, say, a Falcon ute rather than the wagon? And above all else, why do the most popular colours seem to be those of fruit?
Click for linky with bigger pic
As both my regular readers (hi Mum) will be aware I am slowly going more native as I spend time among the Upside Down People, and while I still don't get the point of sports utilities I kind of get the appeal. I can't explain what it is and I wouldn't buy one myself - probably wouldn't - and can't imagine what on Earth I'd do with it if I did, but there is something about utes which is speaking ever more loudly to my inner ten year old. But there's always someone who's prepared to take a harmless fascination to another (still harmless) level, and these people can be found at ute musters, one of which is the Deni Ute Muster held this weekend. And then there are the people whose love of utes is so strong that even that's not enough, and they have to take things even further still.
AN Australian Antarctic crew is hosting its own ute muster this weekend, despite having just two vehicles which fit the category.
Chris Wilkinson, a mechanic at Mawson Station, said the event would coincide with the Deniliquin Ute muster, and NRL and AFL grand finals this weekend.
He said the station had only two vehicles which could reasonably be called utes.
"We have two over-snow mobiles which have trays on them, so they sort of come into the ute category, I suppose," he told ABC Radio today.
"The other vehicle is a light truck - not really a ute - but we're going to call it a ute for our sake.
"We're going to have a prize for the best Antarctic ute, tradie's ute, feral ute and chick's ute."
At least four prize categories and only two utes, neither of which is really a ute. I guess there's loving utes and then there's really loving utes, and Aussies just love their utes. So much so, in fact, that Toyota's latest advert centres on it.

Light hearted dig or subtle piss take? I'm not sure but it's a nice looking ute, eh?
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