Working Class Heroes
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Working Class Heroes

By Shannons - 23 May 2023
  • Great Holden, Ford and Dodge utes
  • Option-laden American Ford utes
  • Two superb VW T-series Kombis
  • Unique locally delivered 1951 DKW 1951 Schnellaster Van

Utes, panel vans and other commercial vehicles beloved by Australians are plentiful amongst the 240-plus vehicle going under the hammer in Shannons Autumn Timed Online Auction from May 23-30.

Four Holden Utes, four Ford Utes, a Dodge (Valiant) Ute with canopy, an iconic Holden 'Sandman Tribute' Utility, two Volkswagen commercial vehicle, a 4WD Subaru Brumby Ute, an HSV-enhanced 1994 Holden Commodore Wagon and a rare 1951 DKW Schnellaster Van are ready for work or play in the auction that runs from May 23-30.


The highlight is the array of four Holden Utes, from an original and unrestored 1971 HG to a later-model 1983 Kingswood WB, that are expected to sell in the $16,000-24,000 and $35,000-$45,000 range respectively.

Perhaps a standout is the honest, unmodified factory 186ci six-cylinder with three-on-the-tree manual transmission 1971 HG Belmont that is expected to sell for $16,000-$24,000 range.

1983 Holden Kingswood WB Utility

In the middle of the Holden Ute spectrum is a refurbished, two-owner 1983 Holden Kingswood WB Utility in lovely condition that is slated to bring $35,000-$45,000.

Introduced in April,1980, the WB was the final incarnation of Holden's full-size commercial vehicle range and, to many, is the last real Holden ute, keeping values strong.

1977 Holden HX 'Sandman Tribute' Utility

Expected to sell for similar money but with ‘no reserve’ is a 1977 Holden HX Ute that has been fitted with the Sandman option package offered to customers of its panel van and utility commercial model between 1974 and 1980.

Identified by its wild ‘70s paint colours with bright side stripes and "SANDMAN" lettering across the tailgate, the Sandman option brought with it GTS-style fluted front guards and sports steel wheels, while inside there was a full GTS sports instrument cluster, matching sports steering wheel, and bucket seats.

The HX-model Sandman replica has been re-powered by a 5.0-litre Holden V8 engine, making it a cultural icon, with surviving example of these highly sought-after and now rare Utes and good replicas increasingly valued.

1989 Subaru Brumby Utility

Another ‘Ute but from Japan is a 1989 Subaru Brumby Utility powered by the torquey horizontally-opposed four cylinder engine from the Leone station wagon, with selectable all-wheel-drive that made it a handier workhorse for many farmers than the traditional Aussie-made Holden/Falcon/Valiant rear-wheel-drive utes of the day. It is expected to sell for $10,000-$20,000.

1974 Holden HQ 'Sandman Tribute' Panel Van

A Holden panel van in the auction that is sure to start a bidding frenzy is a 1974 Holden HQ 'Sandman Tribute' Panel Van.

Originally an Adelaide-assembled 308 V8, 4-speed manual van, the vehicle was bought six years ago as a restoration project without running gear, but now on the market again due to lack of time to complete the project, the vehicle was built in the right date range of the legendary Sandman.

Now repainted in yellow with black Sandman decals and a stripe kit, the Holden sports GTS mudguards and dash with a Sandman triple-spoke steering wheel.

The vendor’s intention was to source a date-coded 308-cid V8 and Saginaw box but to get the car running a 253-cid V8 paired with a 4-speed manual transmission has been installed and it sits on 17-inch wheels rather than correct 14-inch GTS rims.

Currently showing 59,320km, this tidy Sandman tribute presents as a solid basis that can be finished to suit the new owner’s requirements and is priced accordingly in the $30,000-$40,000 range.

1994 Ford XG XR6 Tickford Utility

Ford commercial fanciers haven’t been forgotten in the auction, beginning with a 1994 Ford XG XR6 Tickford Utility that is temptingly expected to sell in the $14,000-$18,000 range.

Powered by the same 161kW engine as the XR6 sedan, this most appealing XG XR6 Tickford ute has recently been restored and beautifully repainted and is ready to be used as a workhorse or to enhance a vehicle collection – or both.

1985 Ford F-150 XLT Lariat Utility (LHD)
2003 Ford F-250 Dual Cab Utility

The other Ford Utes in the auction are North American-built F-series models – a highly-optioned left hand drive 1985 Ford F-150 XLT Lariat Single Cab Styleside pickup and a 2003 Ford F-250 Dual Cab model utility.

Since 1978, the F-series has been the best-selling truck in America and by 1987 it had become the best-selling vehicle in the land. The 302-cid V8 powered seventh-generation Ford F-150 with its XLT Lariat package offered is in stunning ‘time-capsule’ condition, showing just over 4,000 miles on its odometer, making it perfect for the Ford F-series collector.

The F-150 is a Single Cab Styleside model equipped with the top-of-the-line XLT Lariat package and is attractively finished in in two-tone Medium Dark Canyon Red over Wimbledon White with matching Canyon Red cloth upholstery inside and chrome accents, along with a body-coloured canopy with windows.

The other ‘F’ truck in the auction is a low-mileage, one-owner Australian-delivered 2003 Ford F-250 Dual Cab Utility fitted with the optional 7.3 litre diesel powertrain and the comprehensive XLT 4x4 package.

With less than 100,000km travelled over the past 20 years, the F-250 has only ever been used for recreational purposes and never as a work vehicle. It has very little wear evident inside and out and comes with full books.

1973 Dodge VJ Utility with Canopy

Moving to Mopar, there is a nicely restored and one-family-owned 1973 Dodge VJ Utility with canopy in the auction that has lived its entire life in the same Victorian seaside community.

Fundamentally a lower-spec version of the VJ Valiant utility, its specification included including front disc brakes and retuned suspension, improving both safety and ride comfort.

This example is complete with the optional canopy and has been subject to some refurbishment, most obviously a repaint in bright yellow 15 years or so ago and still presents nicely. Inside, the bench seat has new springs and has been retrimmed in brown vinyl to match the original door cards.

Under the bonnet is a rebuilt 215ci six-cylinder engine, driving through a three-on-the-tree manual gearbox, while electronic ignition has been fitted, as has a radiator with a thicker core.

1977 Volkswagen T2 Deluxe Kombi Van
1991 Volkswagen T3 Transporter

Weekend travellers and nomadic surfers will be eying the two Volkswagen T-series commercial vehicles in the auction ­­­– a 1977 Volkswagen T2 Deluxe Kombi Van and a 1991 T3 Transporter.

The eight-seater Deluxe Bay Window T2 is the result of a first-class turn-key bare metal restoration by the Sunshine Coast Kombi Shop.

In the process, the original seats were re-upholstered, the dashboard refurbished and the Kombi now presents superbly in every detail.

Because of the quality of its presentation, it is expected to sell in the $65,000-$85,000 range.

A VW Commercial alternative in the auction is a well-maintained 1991 T3 Transporter formerly owned by Aussie music legend Iva Davies. It is being offered with ‘no reserve’, with Shannons targeting a ‘no reserve’ sale range of $20,000 to $30,000.

Featuring the more reliable 2,0 litre water-cooled engine introduced in 1983, the T3 was owned for 30 years by Davies, who founded and fronted the Australian rock band Icehouse. Not surprising for someone whose life is music, the T3 has an uprated sound system that employs a Clarion CZ509A CD/Radio/Bluetooth six-speaker sound system and a Kenwood KAC-M645 500 watt power amplifier.

Now showing 234,624km, the Transporter presents well throughout, with decent paint and a well-cared for cockpit and cabin.

1951 DKW Schnellaster Van (Australian Delivered)

Finally, if you want to make a real automotive statement, there’s no topping the unique Australian-delivered 1951 DKW Schnellaster Van that was a van produced in Germany by DKW from 1949 to 1962.

Adding to its significance, it was the first van to be manufactured by the new Auto Union conglomerate in Ingolstadt following the re-establishment of the business in West Germany.

Believed to be the only surviving example in Australia out of the 15 imported in 1950, the Schnellaster Van was one of the first two Auto Union vehicles in this country and was one of a consignment of 10 vehicles sold to Carpet Care in 1950.

It was found abandoned in South Gippsland in about 1952 and went through several owners before undergoing a restoration in 2003 and most recently has been used by Audi Centre Brisbane as a promotional vehicle in their showroom.

The Schnellaster extremely well and would be the talking point of any ‘cars and coffee’ event or someone’s collection. Because of its rarity and condition, it is expected to sell in the $45,000-$55,000 range.