We can't wait to see the completed build.
The new Hyundai Santa Cruz is not a traditional pickup truck. Instead, Hyundai describes it as a "Sport Adventure Vehicle." Since it's based on the Hyundai Tucson, the compact Santa Cruz rides on a unibody platform. Effectively, it's a Tucson with a pickup bed, making it a ute.
This body style is popular in Australia but hasn't been offered in the US market for a long time. Before the Santa Cruz debuted this year, one of the most popular American utes was the Chevrolet El Camino. Chevrolet discontinued the El Camino back in 1987 and has no plans to revive it.
To fill the void, Casados Design, a metal working shop based in Alabama, is building its own modern-day version of the Chevrolet El Camino.
The custom ute is based on a 2010 Chevrolet Camaro, which has been extensively modified. To fit the bed, the chassis has been extended and the rear doors have been removed. There is also a custom b-pillar inspired by a Chevrolet Avalanche and custom fender flares. The Camaro was never intended to be converted into a pickup, but the bed blends with the body seamlessly without ruining the proportions.
Since an aluminum diffuser and rear bumper cover were fitted, the design elements and proportions have been finalized, so a lot of progress has been made since work on the project began around two months ago. Casados Design also plans to add an extra pair of exhaust tips to make the Camaro-based ute look more aggressive.
While it looks like a modern-day El Camino, the designer says the client "didn't want to copy an existing car but rather, reimagine the idea with his own very specific parameters." Clearly, a lot of work and passion is being poured into this project, and we can't wait to see the final result.