|Manufacturer||Ford Motor Company
|Class||Compact pickup truck|
|Layout||Front-engine, rear-wheel drive|
|Related||Mazda B-Series (North America)|
The Courier name has also been used on various other Ford models since 1952.
The Courier was manufactured by Toyo Kogyo (Mazda), and imported and sold by Ford Motor Company as a response to the unforeseen popularity of the small Toyota and Nissan/Datsun pickups among young buyers in the West. Like the other mini-pickups of the time, it featured a sub-2 liter four cylinder engine, a four speed manual transmission, rear wheel drive, an impressive load capability of 1,400 lb (635 kg) considering its size, and a fairly large price tag compared to full size pickups of the time.
To circumvent the 25% Chicken tax on light trucks, Couriers (as with Chevrolet LUV's) were imported in "cab chassis" configurations, which included the entire light truck, less the cargo box or truck bed and were only subject to a 4% tariff. Subsequently, a truck bed would be attached to the chassis and the vehicle could be sold as a light truck.
The first generation Ford Courier was introduced in 1972 and sold for a little over $2,000 when introduced—close to the price of an F-100.
When the Courier was introduced it came standard with a 1.8 liter overhead cam engine, which produced 74 hp (55 kW) at 5070 rpm, and 92 lb·ft (125 N·m) at 3500 rpm. A 4-speed manual transmission was standard, and there was also a 3-speed automatic option (the 5-speed manual option came in 1976).
The body styling was effectively that of the related Mazda B-series, however its frontal treatment was unique, with a grille designed to emulate the larger Ford F-series, and large single headlights, instead of the B-series' smaller twin units.
Badging changed a few times in the first-gen series. In 1972, the tailgate read "FORD COURIER" in large raised letters, with a small "COURIER" badge on the front of the hood (from '73 on through '76 the hood badging read "FORD"). In '73 the tailgate read "COURIER" in large letters, with a small "FORD" badge on the upper left. In '74 it read "FORD" in large letters, with a small "COURIER" badge on the lower right. In 1976 the cab was lengthened 3 inches, and the grille received added trim.
In 1977 the Courier was redesigned, and a host of new options was available. The truck was available with front disc brakes, as well as a Ford built 2.3 liter engine option (which was the same as that of the Ford Pinto and Mustang II). The key identifying feature of the Courier from Mazda's B-Series was still the singular headlights, although with park and indicator lights placed inset starting in '78 ('77s still had the turn signal lights in the bumper).
In 1979 the base model engine was increased in size to 2.0 liters (120.1 CID). The optional Ford 2.3 L (~140 cu in) engine was produced in Brazil.
The Courier continued to be sold until 1982, in which year power steering was added. For 1983, Ford introduced its own Ford Ranger to fill its compact truck segment, which replaced the Courier in the U.S. and Canadian markets.
A Ford Fiesta-based Courier pickup, smaller than the Ranger, is currently sold in Mexico.
The Ford Courier was never available with a diesel engine in the US. However, the 1980 Mazda B2200 was available with a Perkins-built 4.135 (4 cylinder, 135 CID) 2.2 liter diesel engine, producing 66 hp (49 kW) at 2,100 rpm. This same diesel engine was available in the 1983 and 1984 Ford Ranger, however it was replaced by the Mitsubishi 4D55T 2.3 liter Turbo Diesel (also used in Mitsubishi's own Mighty Max and the Dodge Ram 50) for the 1985 to 1987 Ford Rangers.
Between 1979 and 1982 a number of electric Ford Couriers were produced - Jet Industries purchased "vehicle gliders" (Ford Courier bodies minus their engines), and put in a series DC motor and lead acid batteries, to produce the Jet Industries ElectraVan 750.
These were sold mainly for service trucks, general to local government departments. They had a top speed around 70 mph (113 km/h), and would go 50 to 60 miles (97 km) on a full charge. A number of these vehicles still exist, usually with upgraded motor control systems and higher voltage battery packs.
A number of Couriers were sold as cab-chassis units, with rear decking. These were commonly fitted with rear utility bodies, flatbed decks, box truck bodywork, camper bodies or "stepside" deckbeds.
While the Courier's engine bay was always fitted with inline 4-cylinder motors at the factory, owners have fitted larger engines into their Couriers, notably Ford V6 and smallblock V8 units. To cope with the increase in power new drivelines generally are also fitted.
The Ford Courier was never available as an OEM 4 wheel drive version in the US (the Mazda B-series didn’t get 4 wheel drive until 1986). However, there were several companies doing 4x4 conversions of the Ford Courier by adding a transfer case and solid front axle beginning in 1975 . From 1975 to 1979 Northwest ATV in Kelso Washington converted about 1500 Couriers to 4WD, which were sold as the Ford Courier Sasquatch, in the WA, OR, CA, and ID markets only. (Ford Sasquatch brochure). Other conversions of early 80's Couriers were done by other companies as well.
There are four other distinct Ford vehicle lines which have used the Courier name:
This was a commercial model based on Ford's full-size stationwagon line. Its model code was designated 78A.
From 1952 to 1956 access to the rear storage area was through a unique door hinged on the side. For 1957 and 1958, the rear access door was a combination of the lift gate and tailgate being connected with two connecting struts. This design meant that the rear door back glass had to be divided into three sections, two outer curved portions and a center piece.
In 1959 all Couriers took on the windowed body style very similar to the Tudor Ranch Wagons and their model code was re-designated as 59E. The last year for the passenger car based Courier would be 1960 when it would remain a commercial wagon.
The name was also applied to a small pickup truck of similar layout produced by Ford in Brazil and exported to countries such as Mexico. It is based on the 1998 model of the Ford Fiesta. While its frontal treatment is the same as the South African built Fiesta based Ford Bantam "bakkie" pickup, it has a completely different load box.
Its load capacity is 700 kg (1,543 lb). The Mk IV 1.4 16v Zetec-SE has a top speed of 170 km/h (106 mph) and can accelerate from 0–100 km/h (0–62 mph) in 12s. The Mk V 1.6 8v Zetec-Rocam model has top speed of 180 km/h (112 mph) and can accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 10 seconds.
While it was discontinued in the USA and Canada in 1982 with the introduction of the Ford Ranger, the Courier continued in Asia, Australia and New Zealand as a badge-engineered version of the Mazda B-Series. It is currently built by AutoAlliance in Thailand. From 1991 to 1997  a badge engineered version of the Mazda Proceed Marvie was sold as the Ford Raider.  Like the Mazda version, it was an SUV/MPV based on the Proceed/B-Series/Ranger/Courier.
Confusingly, the same Ford Courier is now called the Ford Ranger in every other market outside Canada and the US, including Australia and New Zealand. The vehicle is unrelated to the American Ranger, however, and it remains to be seen whether Ford decides to replace the American Ranger after its scheduled 2009 departure.
|Ford Motor Company light truck timeline, United States and Canada, 1980s–present|
|Compact SUV||Bronco II|
|Mid-size pickup||Explorer Sport Trac||Explorer Sport Trac|
|Super Duty||Super Duty|