Ford Courier

Ford Courier
Ford Courier
Ford Courier
The Ford Courier name has been used on a variety of automobiles produced by Ford since 1952. A sedan delivery model was modeled after Ford's full-size station wagon line with the designation 78A. The 1952 delivery rode on a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout.

Allowing access to the rear cargo area was a unique door that hinged on the side. This was introduced in 1952 and continued until 1956. In 1957 the rear access door became a combination of the lift gate and tailgate connected through two connecting struts. This design divided the rear door back glass into three sections; two outer curved portions and a centerpiece.

In a similar style to the Tudor Ranch Wagon, all Courier models in 1959 took on the windowed body style and was re-designated as 59E. 1960 would be the final year for the passenger car based Courier, after this it would remain a commercial wagon.

The Ford Courier name was used in the early 1970s on a compact pickup manufactured by Mazda with exceptional fuel economy compared to other full-size pickups. Toyo Kogyo (Mazda) manufactured the Courier before it was imported and sold by Ford Motor Company in response to the unforeseen popularity of the small Toyota and Nissan/Datsun pickups. The Courier was powered by a sub-2 liter four-cylinder engine, had a four speed manual transmission and rear wheel drive.

Though it was of a smaller size, the Courier had quite an impressive load capability of 1,400 pounds and a fairly small price tag compared with full size pickups of the time. Couriers were imported in 'cab chassis' configurations to circumvent the 25% 'Chicken tax' on light trucks, which included the entire light truck, minus the cargo box or truck bed only subject to a 4% tariff. The Courier could be sold as a light truck when a truck bed was attached to the chassis.

The second generation Courier was sold with a higher pricetag, over $3,000, which was comparable to the larger F-100. This generation was similar in body style to the related Mazda B-series, though the front styling was very unique with a grille similar to the larger Ford F-series, and large single headlights rather than the B-series' smaller twin units.

A 1.8-liter overhead cam engine that produced 74 hp at 5,070 rpm and had 92 lb/ft at 3,500 rpm powered the Courier. Standard on the truck was a 4-speed manual transmission though a 3-speed automatic option was available, along with a 5-speed manual option in 1976.

During the first-generation, the Courier's badging was updated slightly. For '72 and '73 the tailgate featured 'COURIER' in big raised letters, with a small 'FORD' badge on the upper left. On the front of the hood was a small 'COURIER' badge in 1972 and from 1973 through 1976 the hood badging read 'FORD'. The tailgate read 'FORD' in large letters from 1974, while a small 'COURIER' badge was found on the lower right. The Courier cab was stretched by 3 inches in 1976 and the grille received updated trim.

The second generation Courier received a fresh update in 1977 that transformed it into the blockier, more angular styling that was so popular in the 1980s. The base model engine was increased in size to 2.0 liters. The Courier was available with front disc brakes and a Ford built 2.3-liter engine option. The main features that made the Courier distinctive from the Mazda B-Series the singular headlights along with the ark and indicators lights placed inset beginning in 1978.

1979 brought with it a larger base model engine increased to 2.0 liters. Brazil produced the optional Ford 2.3 L engine. The Courier was no longer available in the United States with a diesel engine, though the 1980 Mazda B2200 was available with the S2, a Perkins-built 4,135 2.2 liter diesel engine that produced 66 hp at 2,100 rpm. This same diesel engine was available in the 1983 and 1984 Ford Ranger though it was replaced by the Mitsubishi 4D55T 2.3 Turbo Diesel for the 1985 and 1987 Ford Rangers.

The Ford Courier continued to be sold in the US until 1982 when Ford introduced its own Ranger to fill the compact truck segment in the US and Canada. This generation of Courier continued on until 1985 in other markets, like Australia. The Australian models underwent a facelift in 1982 and 1983.

Between 1979 and 1982 a variety of electric Ford Couriers were created and purchased by Jet Industries as 'vehicle gliders'. These gliders featured a Ford Courier body without the engines, and a series of DC motor and lead acid batteries. This EelctraVan 750 was sold mainly as a service truck, typically to local government departments. The 750 had a top speed around 70 mph and could go 50 to 60 miles when fully charged. Today many of these vehicles are still around today, and are usually feature upgraded motor control systems and higher voltage battery packs.

In 1985 the third generation of the Ford Courier was introduced at the same time as the Mazda B-Series/Proceed redesign. The Courier arrived with a bigger and more modern cab and optional 5-speed manual transmissions, a V6 engine and four-wheel drive. Extended and four-door cabs were finally available with this generation. Eventually a sport utility vehicle would be based on this version of the Courier, and called the Ford Raider, sold from 1991 to 1997, much like the Ford Ranger becoming the platform for the Ford Explorer SUV.

1998 brought with it the fifth generation for the Courier pickup. The Courier nameplate was sold predominantly in New Zealand and Australia, unlike the previous generation. The Ranger phased out the Courier nameplate in other compact truck markets both Mazda-produced and Ford-produced. Ford introduced the Ford Everest mid-size SUV in 2003, based heavy on the Courier/Ranger for the Central American and Asian markets.

IN 1991 a Ford Courier Van was produced based off of the Ford Fiesta and launched into the European market. At first the Van was based on the Mark III Fiesta platform, it was again produced in the 1995 Mark IV version. The van had a front-engine, front-wheel-drive layout and was replaced in 2002 by the Ford Transit Connect. In 2013 a minivan based on the Fiesta was produced called the Transit Courier/Tourneo.

The Courier name was also used in Brazil from 1998 through 2013 on a small coupe utility truck produced by Ford in Brazil and exported to countries like Mexico. Before long though it was suddenly deleted from the lineup to make room for North American Ford pick-up trucks instead. This Courier was based on the 1998 Ford Fiesta and though the front treatment was identical to the South African-built Fiesta based Ford Bantam 'bakkie' coupe utility, the truck had a completely different load box. The Brazilian model had the three-door's longer doors and no quarter windows, while the South African model carried the shorter doors of the five-door hatchback and small quarter lights in the same style as the larger extended cab pick-up. The Courier rode on a 111.4-inch wheelbase, was 175.5 inches in length, 70.6 inches wide and 58.1 inches high.

This Brazilian model had a load capacity of 1,543 pounds and was powered by the Endura 1.3-liter engine and the Zetec-SE 1.4 16v engine. The Zetec-SE engine enabled the Courier to have a top speed of 106 mph and could achieve 0-60 mph in just 12 seconds. Both engines were replaced by the Zetec Rocam 1.6-liter engine in 2000. The Mk V 1.6 model has a top speed of 112 mph and can accelerate to 62 mph in just 10 seconds.

The São Bernardo do Campo plant in Brazil has ended production of the Courier since 2013 for ordinary consumers and businesses, though Ford hasn't confirmed that the model was deleted from the lineup definitely. It is suspected that the Courier has been replaced by the Ford Ranger.

By Jessica Donaldson

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