Holden ute exported to the USA

5 November 2014
 by 
, CarsGuide

Meet the two guys selling Holden V8 utes to Americans, something Holden tried but failed to do six years ago.

Two workshop mechanics have managed to do what Holden could not achieve: export the Holden ute to North America.

Holden came so close to selling the homegrown ute in the land of "pick-up trucks" that it had rapper 50 Cent unveil a Pontiac version of the Commodore ute at the New York motor show in 2008.

But the export plans were scrapped once the Global Financial Crisis hit later that year, and General Motors chose not to revive the program and sell the ute as a Chevrolet.

Enter two entrepreneurial mechanics from Denver, Colorado, John Ehrlich and Randall Reese, who started importing Holden utes from Australia 18 months ago, and are now up to their 16th delivery.

"General Motors is crazy," says Ehrlich. "They missed a massive opportunity here. The work was done to make these into left-hand-drive, we can't understand why they didn't bring them in as Chevrolets."

The pair specialise in the V8 Holden utes and have just begun importing -- and converting to left-hand-drive -- the top-of-the-line Holden Special Vehicles Maloo, which has the same V8 engine as the Corvette.

"Holden has a real cult following over here, absolutely people know what it is when they see it," says Reese. "It reminds them of the Chevrolet ElCamino pick-ups we had in the 1970s."

The Denver boys, who trade under Lefthandutes.com, sell their secondhand and converted utes for between $40,000 for a Holden SS to $95,000 for a top-line HSV Maloo, about 20 per cent more than what Australians pay for similar secondhand models.

In the US, two Australians living in Florida have bought one each, but the remaining customers are American living in New York, Washington, and Virginia.

What will the Denver boys do once Holden stops manufacturing in Australia by the end of 2017?

"We'll keep buying them secondhand," says Reese. "There is nothing like this on the road in America. I can't believe Holden and General Motors are letting go of the ute. It's such a great concept: a pick-up with performance." 

Comments