Automotive oddity website

Cars I own

My Desoto UTE at the 2003 national Desoto club convention in Detroit

My 56 Plymouth UTE at the 2003 WPC meet in the twin cities

Desoto ute sales brochure 1

Desoto ute sales brochure 2

Desoto ute sales brochure 3

Desoto ute ad 1

Desoto ute ad 2

Desoto ute ad 3

Desoto ute ad 4

Plymouth ad

Dodge ad

That was then

    I have sold my pair of 1957 Adventurers! it was a hard decision to make but in the end I feel it was the best thing for me. Adventurer's are wonderful cars but very expensive to restore. after many years of collecting NOS parts I was looking at around 10 more years of work (would have needed to do the work myself) and probably $20-$30K more invested to get the convertible finished. the Coupe went to a new home in Texas and the Convertible has itís new home in Italy where it is receiving the restoration it deserves. The parts have been sold to collectors around the world except for those that fit my new cars. if you would like to read more about 1957 Desoto Adventurers I have kept my old webpage about them Click here

This is now

A Desoto and a Plymouth from down under

If you could not tell by looking at the rest of my website I do like things a little different from most! and now I have something real different (at least in this hemisphere) I am the proud owner of a pair of 1956 Coupe Utilities built by Chrysler Corporation Australia. Down under they are more commonly refered to as UTEs instead of "coupe utilities" as this is a general term for Trucks in the land of OZ. when American car collectors look at the pictures they will probably notice that they look like they are 1954 Plymouths and not 1956, and for good reason! when Chrysler Corporation was done with the tooling for the 1954 Plymouth it was sent to Chrysler Australia and put back into service. the only tooling that was sent to Australia was for the four door sedan body and that was what they produced in 1955 but the demand was great for an Australian farmers favorite The UTE!

What is a coupe Utility?

During the depression bankers were not willing to loan money to farmers unless it was to purchase items that could lead to the profitability of the farm. so that meant if they wanted a new vehicle and needed to borrow the money from the bank farmers would have to buy a truck (or UTE as they are called in Australia). well in 1933 as the story goes one farmers wife not pleased with what manufacturers had to offer wrote a letter to Ford Australia asking why they could not make a car that could be taken to church on Sunday and to take the hogs to market on Monday? the next year 1934 the first Coupe Utility was offered to the Australian motoring public. In 1935 General motors and Chrysler Corporation followed suit and offered UTEs of their own. they became a regular part of the Australian farming lifestyle and are still being sold today. Of course in 1957 the American car public was finally offered a similar car when the Ford motor company of North America offered the Ranchero for the first time, in 1959 Chevrolet followed with the ElCamino and Chrysler corporation never really did offer a Coupe Utility type vehicle to the American motoring public until 1980 with the Rampage.

My UTEs!

I bought both cars from a collector in Australia and from my research and what I have been told they are very rare in Australia and almost non existent Here in the states. the Plymouth saw a larger production so it is more common than the Desoto but common is a relative term since the production of all of the UTEs were lower that the sedan. they also made a Dodge version that would have been the trim level between the Plymouth and Desoto models. the cost to import two was not that much more than one so I decided to buy them both. I will eventually resell the Plymouth after the Desoto is restored! the Plymouth is a 20K mile original car and is very solid that will be easy to restore or may end up as a street rod that will stand out from the crowd. the Desoto has 40K original miles (yes miles not Kilometers) but you have to remember that Australia roads were a far cry from the ones here in the states and that the utes were a used as farm vehicles and the Desoto looks like it was used to lay a good many miles of fence line and is well dented in bed along with some rust in the body. since the utes were used on farms that could sometimes be many hundreds of miles from the nearest dealership they were very utilitarian vehicles. they do not have radios, clocks, power steering, power brakes, turn signals or pretty much any accessory. The Plymouth does have an overdrive on it's 3 speed and they both are driven by the tried and true flat head sixes Australians were so fond of. The V-8 was not available until approx 1959 on Australian built Utilities. By then it was the Chrysler Wayfarer ute.

what are some of the differences?

when you compare the plymouth to that of the American production cars these are some of the differences you will see.
The right hand Drive is the most obvious and it does take some getting used to! when I take the Plymouth to a show that is one of the first things that people notice that makes them think that maybe it is not something I made.
12 volt positive ground electrical system, all Lucas equipment (American production used Autolite) the headlights are not sealed beam but are prefoucus bulbs with a lens and reflector. the bulbs will have to be changed as the are right shift bulbs when the highbeams are engaged the light shifts up and to the right instead of up and left like we are used to in the states.
The dash guages although they look just like American manufactured Plymouths they were made by a British manufacturer "Smiths" except the Amp guage that was made by Lucas the speedometer registered in Miles per hour not Kilometers.
the tires were 16 inch for extra ground clearance on the UTEs since they were intended to be used off road. the Plymouth still has it's original set of 6.00 X 16 6-ply Olympic tires that were made in Australia. American made Chrysler corporation cars had not used 16 inch tires since 1947. the hubcaps are also Australian specific and attached like the later 50s style American models not with clips but with three point snap on over the rim.
the wheel brakes are standard American production Lockhead units on the wheels but under the hood is a different story. American production cars used a master cylinder mounted under the floor but the Australian cars used a pendent mounted unit with with a 1" Girling Master cylinder with remote reserviour.
the clutch on American models was operated via a pedal that goes through the floor then a linkage crossed over the top of the transmission to actuate the clutch lever on the passenger side. You might think since the clutch lever was on the driver side of the Australian models that they would have just put the pedal through the floor and actuate the clutch directly, but they did not! the clucth is also Hydraulically actuated with a 3/4" Girling Master cylinder feed by the same reserviour as the brake master cylinder.
the trim gets really confusing on the Desoto the taillights, park lights, rear Quarter trim (4 door), the front fender trim are all pure 54 American Plymouth. Except the front of the front fender chrome was finished with a small piece that came to a point instead of coming around the corner to meet the grille like on the Plymouth. the grille is an Australian production unit that looks like some of the early 50s Desoto units that are so loved by customizers.

how many were made?

The highest serial number per series as shown in the 54-58 Australian parts book issued in December of 1958 are as follows but may not be the actual last serial number produced for each series. the same basic UTE was made from approx September 1956 through 1958 sometime


Diplomat Custom SP25A-2 serial #275 (standard transmission)
Diplomat Regent SP25A-3 serial #84 (Automatic overdrive)
Diplomat Plaza SP25A-4 serial #28 (Powerflite automatic)
total for Desoto 387


Kingsway Custom D49A-2 serial #501 (standard transmission)
Kingsway Crusader D49A-3 serial #122 (Automatic overdrive)
Kingsway Coronet D49A-4 serial #29 (Powerflite automatic)
total for Dodge 652


Cranbrook P25A-2 serial #505 (standard transmission)
Savoy P25A-3 serial #122 (Automatic overdrive)
Belvedere P25A-4 serial #49 (Powerflite automatic)
total for Plymouth 676

how many are left?

this is a direct quote from a collector down under
"I'm afraid the utes are not as well appreciated here in Australia as perhaps they should be - most lived hard lives as work horses and often rusted out in the rear tray. Thousands of them have ended up in the crushers, or rusting away in the bush.
end Quote.

If you liked this page you might also wan to check out my Desoto trucks page

If you have 1954 Plymouth parts for sale or 1954 Desoto Diplomat go to the parts i want for my cars page or just email me

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Site Built:       01/05/04
Last Update:   02/17/08

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Welcome to my mis-spelled word file!

These are common and sometimes uncommon ways to mis-spell the primary words on this site! I provide this as a service to the phonically challenged because they are people too! Or maybe they have a typing handicap like myself. Crysler, Chrystler, Christler, Desota, De Sota, Desotoe, Desoda, Dasoda, fibre, fibreglass hiway, hifi, krysler, Mo Par, Peddel, Peddal, Peddle, Plymoth, Plimoth, Plimouth,