Trucks & SUVs

This 2006 Dodge Charger R/T Is Actually a Pickup Truck in (a Bad) Disguise

I miss the El Camino every day. The car/truck combo known as a ute is a huge missing piece of the puzzle for truck-loving Americans. As Ford revives its small truck line, Jeep gives us the Gladiator, and Nissan just gave its Frontier a major overhaul; the carmakers understand the people want trucks but not always a trillion-pound, 40ft-long, monster truck. As none of these automakers are currently building a ute, someone decided to take matters into their own hands by building a 2006 Dodge Charger R/T pickup truck.

The Dodge Charger ute is too cool

This Charger ute is the mullet of cars; business up front, party in the back. According to The Drive, bad mamma jamma started life as a 2006 Charger R/T, but with a little help from the Smyth Performance ute conversion kit, it blossomed into its true form, a mullet. I mean, a Dodge Charger pickup. 

a black 2006 Dodge Charger Ute conversion parked next to a lake
2006 Dodge Charger Ute conversion | Bring a Trailer; ztiMike

Smyth Performance has been known to chop a ute or two in its day. Last year we covered an Audi ute conversion, and it was ugly then, and this one is ugly now. But, by no means does ugly mean that I don’t love it. Smyth Performace starts by reinforcing the car’s unibody. Remember, they are cutting a chunk of the car out and adding a bed. Reinforcements are a must here. This Charger’s new bed can hold up to an 800-lb payload, according to The Drive. 

What is powering this Charger pickup?

Seeing as how it was/is a Charger R/T, it has the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 pulling it along. Thankfully it has the big motor making 340 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque because the conversion isn’t exactly saving weight.  The Smyth Performance includes replacement fiberglass rear quarter panels, a steel tailgate, aluminum inner bed surfaces, and back glass and structural reinforcements. Even though it has a cool motor, it has a lame five-speed automatic transmission. 

2006 Dodge Charger ute conversion with its bed open
2006 Dodge Charger ute conversion | Bring a Trailer; ztimike

RELATED: Live Your El Camino Dreams with Importable Australian Utes

According to the Bring a Trailer listing, the ute conversion wasn’t the only thing the owner did when he got it in 2018. Other modifications include chrome 20″ Hellcat-style wheels, Eibach lowering springs, Koni dampers, and polished rectangular exhaust outlets.

Even though this is a strange bird indeed, it has been well maintained and service records well kept. Since 2018, its brake wear components, steering, and front-end components, the alternator, the battery, the coolant-expansion tank, and the air filter are all professionally replaced. 

Do you want a ute or what? 

After the seller completed the Charger’s transformation, he had it repainted in a glossy black, putting the cherry on top of this strange muscle car Sunday. As previously mentioned, this mutant charger is currently up on Bring a Trailer. 

a black 2006 Dodge Charger Ute conversion parked next to a lake
2006 Dodge Charger ute conversion | Bring a trailer; ztimike

As of this writing, the bidding has reached $8,500 with 5 days to go. People seem to be into it, and who wouldn’t be. This one was done so well and happened to fit the car’s lines well enough that it begs the question, why hasn’t Dodge just made this? 

As the demand for small trucks skyrockets and automakers try and make their big trucks smaller or revive old models from the boneyard, why haven’t they been thinking along the ute lines? The potential is there. They are smaller, can be great on gas, easy to drive and park in the big cities, and look rad. I think there is a real play here. Bring back the ute!