It used to be that the term ‘ute’ was reserved for pick-ups based on car platforms, explaining its association to the Ford Falcon ute and Holden Commodore ute. And you can throw in the likes of Chevrolet’s classic El Camino for good measure.
Nowadays, the ute term’s umbrella has expanded to cover essentially any vehicle with a tray. That includes the all-conquering double-cab diesels that dominate the local sales charts and those big behemoths we get from the US.
The ute as we knew it has largely been erased from showrooms, save for a few models offered overseas like the Hyundai Santa Cruz. But, that’s not to say that the unibody pick-up ute isn’t still an object of lust for certain car enthusiasts.
A chopped and heavily reworked Tesla Model S has gone viral on Reddit; its owner and a team of engineers having transformed it from suave four-door electric luxury car to two-door ute.
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Named the ‘Teslamino’ (a nod to the aforementioned El Camino), its creation has been a three-year journey according to posts plotting its build progress on Instagram. It now appears to be mostly finished, flat camo paint job and all.
The Teslamino started life as an original Model S P85, meaning it is rear-wheel drive and comes with a powertrain developing 270kW and 441Nm. A handy amount of output, especially when you consider that a large chunk of its weight has been lopped off its rear end.
The plug-in ‘Mino’s creation is an impressive one. Along with no longer having 60% of its roof or seats, the former Model S has gained a bespoke B-pillar area and its back doors have been sealed shut.
Having initially debuted the car with a rudimentary rear end, its builder has since made a proper functional rear tailgate using the car’s original boot lid. Save for the cavity below said tailgate (included to allow it to open without making contact with the rear bumper) and a slightly compromised bed shape, the Teslamino is quite a convincing looking build.
Images published online show that the Teslamino can haul two washing machines at once. Not too bad. Wider loads appear to be tricky, given the model’s rounded bed surface (a necessity made to provide space to its rear suspension.
The build was carried out by Revolt Systems; a specialist EV engineering firm that builds everything from restomoded muscle cars with electric powertrains to land-speed record race cars.
It this whole Tesla ute caper is sounding a little familiar to you, that might be because this isn’t the first Tesla that’s been turned into a ute. Back in 2019, engineer and prominent YouTube creator Simone Giertz did the same thing to a Tesla Model 3.
Her modified-from-new Model 3 (known as the ‘Truckla’) gained a similar B-pillar and tailgate system, with Giertz and her team using a bed sourced from a Ford F-150 and adding a storage rack and roof-mounted headlights.
Both builds predated the announcement of Tesla’s much anticipated Cybertruck; a project that has had its production dates delayed several years due to various reasons, including the current semiconductor shortage.
If builds like these prove anything, it’s that they show that in this age of SUV and double-cab domination, there is still a fascination and a need for car-based utility vehicles. Bonus if they happen to be electric.
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