Unique Ute: 2006 Chrysler 300 Series Custom Ute

If you’re familiar with the movie, My Cousin Vinny, can’t you just hear Fred Gwynne (as Southern Judge Chamberlain Haller) asking Joe Pesci (as wisecracking Northern “Lawyer” Vinny Gambini) “What is a ‘ute’?” Although it was how Mr. Gambini pronounced the word, “youth,” further down south in Australia, the word “ute” is short for utility vehicle or pickups. Here on Barn Finds we feature a wide range of vehicles, including oddballs and the unusual. This listing falls into that category and is the first Ute conversion we’ve ever featured. This 2006 Chrysler 300 Series Custom Ute is located in Rochester, New Hampshire and is for sale here on eBay for a BIN price of $17,900. 

Chrysler didn’t follow their rivals Ford and Chevrolet back in the 50’s and introduce a “coupe utility vehicle.” The Ford Ranchero and Chevy El Camino weren’t a standard pickup, they were two-door station wagons that had their cab and cargo bed integrated into the body. As kids, we didn’t see too many of them but when we did, we’d point and say, ‘Look, a “Car-Truck!” Rancheros and El Caminos haven’t been offered for decades, but somebody wanted a “coupe utility vehicle” and converted a 2006 Chrysler Series 300 into one. I wasn’t aware that you could buy kits to convert certain cars into pickups, but the seller lets you know upfront that this isn’t a kit, it’s a custom build. The seller shares some photos of the surgical procedure and states, “Half the roof was cut off, 18-gauge sheet metal was cut, shaped, and butt-welded to a custom steel framework then to the existing body lines.  Then off it went to the bodyshop for a 2- tone look and paint blend to the original silver paint.

I’m no Ute or custom car expert, but based on the photos, this looks like a well-crafted conversion. The two-tone paint looks very presentable, the seller says it has a fully functional trunk and I can’t find any faults with the Chrysler’s exterior fit and finish. Too bad there aren’t more photos of the never-smoked-in interior. The leather seats look very comfortable and listed options include a sunroof, air conditioning, power windows, and power locks. There are no photos of the engine bay either, but it is listed as having 8 cylinders with 125,000 on the clock with an automatic transmission. The seller claims the Chrysler Custom Ute “runs and drives excellent,” has no rust, has never been in an accident, and looks like it came from the factory as a two-seater utility vehicle. So, what do you think of this unusual Ute? I think the odds of the next owner seeing another one like it at a car show or a local Cars & Coffee event are slim and none. It’ll be quite the attention getter.

Comments

  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    The back end just doesn’t look right.
    A guy I know did this with a Black (newer) Dodge-
    Charger.His looked much nicer.

    Like 1
    • Dave

      Buy a kit and do it right
      http://www.smythkitcars.com

      Like 4
      • healeydays

        I do like Smyth’s kits, but they are fiberglass and this guy used steel. Easy to take a piece out of a mold. It’s a different thing having to take a piece of steel and mold it yourself. I give this guy props…

        Like 12
  2. Alex

    It is a nice build but I see no purpose in having this be a Ute. I mean it’s just a long trunk…

    Like 3
    • angliagt angliagt Member

      Flower car,for funerals maybe.

      Like 2
      • Alex

        But there is no place for the flowers to go without cutting the bed cover

  3. gbvette62

    The problem with most of these sedan to pick up conversions is always the B-pillar/roof line. Because the conversions are usually locked in to using off the shelf parts (such as doors, door glass/door frames and rear window), the B-pillar area almost always ends up looking awkward. This one’s better than most, but it’s still not great.

    While the Ranchero was built using the 2 door wagon as a basis, this was not the case with the El Camino. I think the only sheet metal 59-60 Camino’s shared with the 2 door wagon (other than the nose), was the tailgate. The 64-65 2 door wagon shared doors, quarters and tailgate with the El Camino, but if anything, GM based the Chevelle 2 door wagon on the El Camino, not the other way around.

    Like 3
  4. scott m

    I was hoping to see the engine mounted back there, that would have been a fun build

    Like 1
  5. imperialist1960

    It’s funny to read comments trying to make sense out of a custom like this.
    Of all places to try to apply logic, a website that offers derelict old cars for restoration is hardly a bastion of logic and sensible shoes.

    It’s obviously a project, and having a ute was less important than fabricating a ute (or else he’d keep it for life and not sell it).

    If he can get himself paid $15,000 for what he did to his $8000 car, that’s great. It only takes one person to agree, not everyone else.

    The bigger question is why the universe allows the ute conversion kit company in the other poster’s link to exist at all. The fact that that person has found a market for thier product at all is totally bizarre to me.

    Not enough nuttiness anymore, so it’s fun to spectate on this sort of stuff.

    Like 3
  6. Howie

    Yes it is different, but it looks a bit odd.

    Like 1
  7. ChingaTrailer

    Chrysler did produce their own version of the Ranchero/El Camino type vehicle and they used the Valiant as the base, beginning in 1964. An even 2000 were built, I sold one at Barrett Jackson 15, 16 years ago. You don’t see any here though because they were all RHD and built in Australia!

    Like 3
    • Campbell L Usher

      Right up till 1978 👍

  8. Campbell L Usher

    That would be real popular in Australia & easily get some big $$$$$ , I’d make it a daily driver !

  9. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    Why does someone always bring up the flower car, funeral use thing. It’s not that or for that. It is comparable to the El Camino and Ranchero.
    Were they used as flower cars? No, I think not.

    Like 2
    • angliagt angliagt Member

      What I meant was that it sure looks like one from the back.

  10. John Kearney

    Pity it’s not right hand drive i’d buy it. I had a valiant ute back in the day, we used to throw the fishing rods swags and esky and cartons of amba and ice with a few mates and off we go fishing for the weekend in the ute, this is all steel and a well built vehicle, perfect for the allround Aussie conditions. Wack a bullbar, rollbar spotties and sunraysers on it and go straight off to the next roustabout with all the other ute mates drinking and partying all weekend … Yiiihaa

    Like 2
  11. John E. Klintz

    For a current factory-produced wagon-ute all one needs to do is buy a Honda Ridgeline. They continue to refer to it as a “truck,” but no self-respecting real truck buyer/driver I’ve met would be caught within 30 yards of one. I even spoke to a former Honda America employee who posited similar views.

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