Some cars are all front – like a French battleship. Or a mining magnate. They come at you fierce or sleek or domineering and that is all the impression you carry away with you after they have left.
Others are more balanced – you see the profile and the chop of the top or shave of the bonnet and it all makes for a sleeker image.
But the really special ones reserve the visual power punch for the rear end. The owners find or think up the perfect tail light and indicator array for the car and make what was plain into something that is undoubtedly fancy. Here is one car that does just that.
It is an F-series ute – the Australian small pickup designed from a sedan body but adapted to suburban or rural haulage. North American and South Canadians can think of the Ford Ranchero or Chevy El Camino in this role – but remember that Australia played with smaller sedans to begin with and ended up with trimmer cars in the end.
Oh, they would do what the farmer or mechanic wanted – they hauled parts and bales of hay and sheep and sheep dogs and chook manure and furniture and all the other horrors of modern life. I had a Ford ute that served well for 13 years while I traipsed about the country and it was the absolute answer for a trip to the tip or the hardware store. Also for a trip across the Nullarbor desert, but that is another blog story.
This ute has served its time as a worker and now gets to play as a showpiece. The colour is close to one of the Holden stock colours, but the paint job is far better than the factory would ever have done. The engine is NOT the standard Holden 6…so we can expect more than asthma from it when the driver winds it out. They always did have enough power for most normal purposes but now this Holden has enough power for ab-normal purposes. Thus it is with rods and customs.
The decision to paint the front chrome is, in this case, a superb design decision. The loss of the blingelly bits means the eye has to concentrate on the actual lines of the car. This would have been a difficult call in the 1950’s and 60’s. Every car then had some ( and some had an excess of…) chrome plating on bumpers, grille pieces, side spears, and trim plates. It will have deteriorated in the interim and left some owners with the option of searching for extremely expensive replacements, marginally less expensive re-chromes, or the simple buff, fill and paint seen here. Done well on the right car it is the RIGHT decision.
Now the interior is a combination of modern door panels and seat – and steering column – and traditional bezel and dash. There was never a provision on the original to mount a tachometer ( Australian farmers shifted by ear – the deafer ones shifted at higher revs and wore their engines out faster…) but everyone who was curious put one somewhere. There does appear to be some of the traditional loose wire sticking out but that may be because the owner is sentimental for the old days. I can remember some of my own dashes that looked like the crochet display at the Royal Show…ahem…
But I keep you from the best part of the car – the stylistic reward on the back panel – the tail light assembly. This one is derived from a much later Holden car and features all the legal requirements for standard licensing; amber turn, red stop, white reverse. All blended in perfectly. Perfectly. Dangerous as hell because there is no rear bumper to protect them, but having seen the size of the engine and the supercharger, I do not think that the driver will be bothered by people coming up on him too fast…