Ev­ery­thing is ute-iful

Ja­son Hodges can’t see past a util­ity for his mo­tor­ing needs, writesMONIQUE BUT­TER­WORTH

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

UTES are al­most com­pul­sory for Ja­son Hodges. As res­i­dent gar­dener and land­scaper on Bet­ter Homes & Gar­dens a work­horse is his first choice. He says he has al­ways owned and driven utes.

Hodges’ long-term re­la­tion­ship with utes has gone hand-in-hand with his lifestyle.

But he does have oth­ers in his life — a 1967 con­vert­ible Mus­tang and a 1963 two-door Fal­con — which come out for spe­cial oc­ca­sions. What was your first car? An HQ Kingswood ute. It was white with a blue tarp. I was 17 and I loved it be­cause it was a ute not a car. The worst thing about it was ev­ery­one wanted to bor­row it, or bor­row you, when they moved house. What do you drive now? A metal­lic blue Com­modore ute. I’ve had about 12 utes. I’ve had Hold­ens, Toy­otas and Fords, but nine out of the 12 have been Hold­ens. I also own a 1967 con­vert­ible Wim­ble­don white Mus­tang and a 1963 two-door Fal­con. I usu­ally drive the Mus­tang to golf on a Satur­day or if I’m quot­ing for a job. I also take it on dates, if I can get one. I’m not sure if the Mus­tang im­presses on dates. I think it can be too showy, whereas the 1963 Fal­con, be­cause it’s Aus­tralian, is a lit­tle more un­der­stated. Do you have a favourite drive and who would you take?

Up to the Hunter Val­ley from Syd­ney. I nor­mally go up there with mates. We have dirt bikes up there so I’m usu­ally go there with a bloke, not a girl. How far would you drive in an av­er­age year?

A lot. I’d do about 35,000km a year. Do you have a favourite mo­tor­ing me­mory?

I love road trips, es­pe­cially up to Nam­bucca Heads or Cres­cent Head. I’ve en­joyed them as a kid and an adult. I drive to Tam­worth for the Coun­try Mu­sic Fes­ti­val ev­ery year and I sleep in the back of the ute.

As I’ve be­come more recog­nised for be­ing on TV, peo­ple stop and ask, ‘‘Where are you stay­ing?’’ And when I tell them, ‘‘In my ute’’ they look a bit sur­prised. We usu­ally go to the Olympic town pool for a s- - -, shave and a shower. Peo­ple don’t ex­pect me to do that, but I’m still a lad. What would you buy if money was no ob­ject? A 1967 con­vert­ible Mus­tang. What mu­sic is play­ing in your car? I like mel­low, chilled-out mu­sic like Jack John­son, Pete Murray, Missy Hig­gins, Lee Ker­naghan or Troy Casser-Daly. How much is too much for a new car?

I’ve never bought a new car, but I don’t know how much is too much. If it does the job and it makes you happy, you en­joy it and it de-stresses you when you’re in traf­fic . . . you can’t put a price on that. What should be done to make driv­ing safer? We should be tested more of­ten, not just when we get our li­cence. I’m sure I have bad habits af­ter driv­ing for 18 years with­out any­one test­ing me. Are you spon­sored by a car com­pany? No. But it would be nice.

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