1932 Ford Model B -304 "Ute"SOLD
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Estimate: $50,000-$80,000 US

Sold: $50,600

50hp, 200 cu. in inline four-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission, solid front axle with transverse semi-elliptic leaf spring, ¾-floating rear axle with transverse semi-elliptic leaf spring, and four-wheel, mechanically-actuated internal-expanding brakes. Wheelbase: 106"

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 28 originally built, it was imported to the United States from an Australian banana plantation in 1968. Today, it is offered in show-quality restored condition, with unique original features including a 1930-1931 Model A windshield and a Model T-style tailgate. The tonneau cover is based on photos from an original sales brochure, and during its restoration, the “Ute” was converted to left-hand steering, while the cargo bed received very limited repairs to three of its corners.

Well-equipped with many period accessories including a radiator mascot, dual side-mounted spare tires with mirrors, a well-fitted tan soft top with quarter windows, bright hubcaps, and whitewall tires, this “Ute” is very attractive and correct throughout. The subject of a feature article in Volume 15 of V8 Times, this rare Model B-304 “Ute” is a great example of Ford’s original dual-purpose vehicle.

Reference Number 38548

as of 2/10/2009

Car 1932 Ford Model B -304 "Ute"
VIN AB5105952 
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