Auction Car of the Week: 1961 Holden EK Ute
I used to have this argument with my publisher at the magazine all the time: "Exotic" doesn't just mean Ferraris and Lamborghinis. It means cars that you simply do not see. Here's an example: a 1961 Holden EK Ute. There are WAY more COPO Camaros for sale in the United States than there are Holden Utes, and you can own this one for about half what you'd pay for a new Tacoma. Utes, as you probably know, are the El Camino/Ranchero-esque cars/truck hybrids that came out of Australia between the 1930s and the present. We won't get into the whole back story on their creation here, but we wrote an article on their history a while back if you're interested in learning more. PHOTOS: See More of the 1966 Holden HD
The Holden EK was an entire line of vehicles from Australia's GM subsidiary. Think of it as Australia's Ford Falcon, a vehicle line that produced a range of bodystyles, including a Sedan, a Station Wagon, a Panel Van and this, formally known as a "Coupe Utility."
MODERN UTE: See Photos of the 2014 Holden Ute SS V
Utes didn't get sent here at all, and the EK itself was only available in 1961 and 1962, replaced quickly by the new Holden EJ for the 1963 model year. In all the body styles, Holden only produced just over 150,000 units, so these are even pretty rare in Australia, let alone here.
This isn't some high-falutin' concours queen, it's a nice regular driver that's had the benefit of living most of its life in a place where it never snows. The current owner is the third owner, who purchased it from his brother who lived in Australia for many years.
The bodywork is exceptionally nice, with no rust showing in the obvious -- or not-so-obvious -- places. The interior has been refreshed with new seat upholstery, and the headliner and weatherstripping has all been refreshed.
These are all powered by a 138-cu.in. inline six-cylinder with 75 horsepower, so if big, smoky brake-stands are your thing, you might consider an El Camino instead. The engine bay could certainly use a good detailing, but that's the fun part of owning a car like this. It's got a three-speed manual transmission, mounted on the left-side of the steering column, which is mounted on the right side of the car, so you'll need to be pretty coordinated the first time you drive it.
But if you like cars with a 1950s vibe (yeah, we know it's a '61, but the styling screams 1957), but don't want the same '57 Chevy everybody else has, a $13,000 Buy-It-Now is pretty enticing.