Everything is ute-iful
Jason Hodges can’t see past a utility for his motoring needs, writesMONIQUE BUTTERWORTH
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.