This ute conversion gives us a glimpse of what could have been.
For some reason, America never fully embraced the idea of the half-car half-truck idea like Australia. Yes, we look back on the El Camino with fondness, but that was a long time ago. Since then, Australia has had a succession of two-door performance trucks based on passenger cars, and often with a hefty V8 stuffed under the hood. It even had the popular V8 Utes racing series that ran for 16 years. The performance ute has now died in Australia, but the US never saw the glory days the Aussies enjoyed. However, this custom built 2006 Dodge Charger R/T Ute for sale on Bring A Trailer is a glimpse at what could have been in these United States.
The ute is based on a 2006 Dodge Charger R/T, but the conversion was performed in 2018. The donor car keeps its 340-horsepower 5.7-liter Hemi V8 paired with a five-speed automatic transmission but gains a truck bed and "20-inch Hellcat-style wheels." In true performance ute style, it's also lowered using Eibach springs and Koni dampers
The conversion was created by Smyth Performance and uses fiberglass quarter panels, window surrounds, and a steel tailgate. Because a lot of structure has been removed to allow a truck bed to be added, aluminum roof and B-pillar reinforcements and inner structural bedsides have been added.
If you're wondering where you've seen those taillights before, they're from a Chrysler minivan. Other additions include a liftable corrugated aluminum bed floor that allows access to the battery and spare tire. The ute's modifications are finished off with polished rectangular exhaust outlets and fresh black paint, and a nice little touch is the addition of Ram brand badges.
We would have thought a Camaro might be a better donor vehicle for a project like this, but the Charger looks good and has more space behind the driver to use for the truck bed. No doubt it's a useful toy and entertaining to drive with a lighter rear end. We also think it must make for an amazing burnout machine.