1932 Ford Model B Ute

To many collectors, the dual-purpose, car-based utility vehicle was born with the Ford Ranchero of the late 1950s. Its origins, however, date back to the early 1930s, when Ford of Australia began development of the Utility or "Ute".

At the time, Australian banks were reportedly more inclined to grant loans to ranchers for the purchase of farm trucks rather than passenger cars. In addition, according to legend, a rancher's wife, who had had quite enough of riding in the farm truck, petitioned Ford of Australia to build a vehicle that could haul feed and small livestock yet carry the family in car-like comfort to church on Sunday. The letter moved along through several departments, and finally reached the Design Department, staffed by one person - a young Lewis Bandt.

Bandt quickly sketched a vehicle based on Ford's current passenger-car platform that combined a roadster-type passenger compartment with a cargo bed at the rear, with additional internal bracing for strength. The resulting Utility, or "Ute,” was an immediate success, and while the roadster only carried on through 1938, the coupe variant continued until 1958, when it was replaced by the American-designed Ranchero.

The Ute's utility, however, came at a price, and very few early examples of this innovative vehicle remain today. In fact, the 1932 Model B-304 "Ute" offered here is likely the only intact example in existence. One of just twenty-eight originally built, it was imported to the United States from an Australian banana plantation in 1968.

The truck was the recipient of full nut and bolt restoration while part of the well-known Grant Oakes collection in Ohio. During restoration, the "Ute" was converted to left-hand drive while the cargo bed received very limited repairs to three of its corners. Unique original features including a 1930-1931 Model A windshield and a Model T-style tailgate were preserved and restored.

The initial restoration was completely stock, and under the care of its most recent owner, the truck has undergone a transformation, with the emphasis on modern driving, all while keeping the vintage feel. The original Model B engine was replaced by a new H&H Flatheads Model B “Touring Spec” engine, equipped with period speed parts including a high compression Winfield cylinder head, Ansen intake and a Stromberg “97” carburetor. The electrical system was converted to 12 volts, with an alternator (disguised as a generator), electronic ignition, and electric power steering. The braking system has been upgraded to hydraulic and a two-speed Mitchell Model 1000 Gear-Splitter 26% overdrive unit has been installed to keep up with modern traffic. Included receipts document the work and total over $50,000 spent since 2018. Even with the modifications in place, the engine bay remains tidy and well detailed and retains most of its authentic, period-correct appearance.

The body is beautifully finished in black, bright red wheels provide a highlight and red coachlines tie the color scheme together nicely. Paint quality is excellent, and the body is crisp and straight, having been exceptionally well maintained since the restoration was completed. The body features dual sidemount spares, and finely restored brightwork. A set of Blackwall radial tires add a purposeful look as well as improving the ride and handling.

The cabin is trimmed in grey to a very correct standard. The seat upholstery remains in attractive condition, showing little in the way of wear or use. Door panels and the elegantly simple dash are correct and again, in fine order, and a modern fuel gauge has been added below the dash.  A high-quality top in khaki looks great against the paint scheme and the bed features gorgeous wood slats separated by black-painted steel runners along with wooden bedrail caps.

Beautifully restored, rare as can be, endowed with period speed parts and modern upgrades, this 1932 Model B “Ute” delivers a significantly enhanced driving experience while retaining its irreplaceable charm and original essence.



Offers welcome and trades considered



Stock number 7657

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