Aussie Holden Ute In California Is A True Oddity

Driving a Holden Commodore ute on the coastal streets of California may sound impossible, but Doug DeMuro recently did just that in his latest test.

Although from the outside, this Holden looks identical to the popular Commodore SS ute sold in Australia, it is different. As a matter of fact, it is built by an American company called Left Hand Utes which combines a Holden Ute imported from Australia with parts from the Pontiac G8 GT to make it street legal in the States.

What this means is that it has a 6.0-liter naturally-aspirated V8 engine delivering 360 hp, a six-speed manual transmission and all the practicality Aussie utes have become synonymous for.

But can it possibly work on U.S. streets? Well DeMuro seems to think so, suggesting that it drives like a two-door sports car and yet can carry 1,000 lbs in the bed and even has a tow hitch for added usability.

This is certainly something you don’t see everyday.

VIDEO

  • Jim Jones ©

    The Ute was first produced in Australia in 1932 and has been in production ever since…..think they might have a greater claim than the States on that one, even though Ford produced one in the 20’s it’s never been a mainstay of the automotive industry in the US.

    • stephen

      Yeah, that “…caught on in Australia.” comment was a bit naive.

  • TheBelltower

    Very cool

  • Six_Tymes

    i wish I could afford to buy one.

  • RS6 Performance Wagon Lover

    They won’t be on sale in Australia for long.

  • Ray Filetti

    The Ford Falcon Ute went out of production last October, and GM are shutting down Holden this coming October. This is the blackest year in Australian history. No more Falcon and Holden Utes is an Australian tragedy..

    • Pauly

      GM is not shutting down Holden, they are shutting down Holden Commodore production. Holden is going to be open in Australia…. for the time being anyway.

      Come October 2017 Ford, Holden (GM) and Toyota will have all stopped car manufacturing in Australia, making it a country that imports every car they sell going forward.

    • Pauly

      On a side note though. I personally don’t see GM keeping the Holden brand running in the future.

      Keeping the Holden name had a purpose when they had Australian car production. But they will be stopping that in October 2017. And even after the October 2017 it still made sense to keep the Holden name alive because it was a single brand that would allow GM to sell Chevrolet, Opel and GMC products in Australia. But they have now sold off Opel too!

      So whats the point in keeping the Holden brand alive when all it will be importing is RHD Chevrolet’s? May as well just call it Chevrolet and get it over with.

      • Mike Stevens

        Because that would be throwing the baby out with the bath water. Holden has brand equity. Will it be diluted once they’re no longer making cars here? Definitely. But you don’t just kill a brand before knowing for certain that it’s worthless. See how it goes for a while without local production, and if it’s not doing well, *then* consider bringing in Chevrolet.

      • Kash

        GM and PSA will still work together to build Opel cars (most of which were sold in America as Buick) so GM will maintain the Holden brand down under just like they did the Vauxhall name in the UK for heritage and branding. No reason to rebrand and try and reestablish their market share as “Chevy” when the entire lineup will still be Chevy/GMC/Buick/Opel models but now some of the Opel models will be made by PSA, but they’ll still be made in the same German factories as before.

      • Stephen

        Chevy has zero brand value here in Australia. Why throw away a valued local brand and start again with a foreign one? That would just be American arrogance/naivety.

  • Randy Terpstra

    I’m curious about US import rules. I thought that the US has a ’25-year’ rule? We would not be able to do this in Canada. We can bring in Holden utes (without having to convert them to LHD), but they have to be 15 years old, or older.

    • Mike Stevens

      If it’s anything like Australia, it’s a little different for conversion companies. Here, if they’re prepared to make the investment in ensuring the car meets local regulations after its converted – which also means crash-testing for compliance – then they’re allowed to import and sell.

      • Randy Terpstra

        Interesting. The company (Left Hand Utes) must feel that there’s quite a potential market, to invest into the crash testing. Something which Pontiac couldn’t be bothered with! Pretty cool though. GM should’ve brought these over, when they had the chance. RIP Australian auto industry :/.

        BTW, here in Canada, the Commodore VX (including the ute) is currently legal to import, with the VY coming on line in September. No compliance, crash testing, etc, required. https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/bd/70/54/bd70543959ad891c053e48b311c6a3df.jpg

    • Kash

      You can bring a car into the US that’s less than 25 years old but it’s treated as an art piece, you can’t put more than so many miles on it (very low by the way) and you’re only allowed to take it to and from things like car shows, servicing, etc. It’s the “Show Car” exception as many call it.

  • Kash

    I’ve seen one here in Vegas as well, couldn’t tell if it was LHD or RHD though, the one I saw was silver and looked newer than this one.