Ford Courier

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Ford Courier
A green Ford Courier from Canada
ManufacturerFord Motor Company (1964-2004)
Mazda (1972-1982)
ClassCompact pickup truck
LayoutFront-engine, rear-wheel drive
RelatedMazda B2000
ManualsService Manual

The Ford Courier is a compact pickup truck which was sold in North America from 1972 to 1982. It is considered to be the forerunner of the Ford Ranger.

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.

1st generation (1972-1976)

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, 5 spd option came in 76, and an automatic option followed.

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.

2nd generation (1977-1982)

In 1977 the Courier was redesigned, and a host of new options was available. The truck was available with front disc brakes, a Ford built 2.3 liter engine option (which was the same as that of the Ford Pinto and Mustang II), automatic transmission option, and a 5 speed manual transmission option. 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.

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 one of the first all metric engines produced in the US. An automatic transmission was also an option beginning in 1977.

The Courier continued to be sold until 1982, and was also available as a Mazda B2000. 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 Mazda based Ford Courier pickup, smaller than the Ranger, is currently sold in Mexico.

Ford Courier variants

Diesel variants

The Ford Courier was never available with a diesel engine in the US. However, the 1980 Mazda B2200 was available with a Perkins 4.135 (4 cylinder, 135 CID) manufactured 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 for the 1985 to 1988 Ford Rangers.

Electric variants

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.

Body conversions

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.

Engine conversions

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.

Other Ford models using the Courier name

There are four other distinct Ford vehicle lines which have used the Courier name:

  • 1952-1958 American utility van (Ford sedan based)
  • 1991–2002 European van (Ford Fiesta based)
  • 1998–present Brazilian pickup (Ford Fiesta based)
  • 1978–2006 Australian and New Zealand pick-up (rebadged Mazda B-Series)

1952-1958 American Ford sedan based models

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 where it would remain a commercial wagon.

Brazilian Ford Courier Pickup (Ford Fiesta Based)

The name was also applied to a small pickup truck of similar layout produced by Ford in Brazil. 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 (1543 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.

European Ford Courier Van (Ford Fiesta based)

A Ford Courier model based on the Ford Fiesta was launched in Europe in 1991.

Asia, Australia and New Zealand - Mazda B-Series based Ford Courier

The release of the 1997–1999 B-Series based Courier in Southeast Asia marked the entry of Ford and Mazda into the region's personal pickup truck market. The Courier was eventually replaced by a similarly Mazda-based Ford Ranger.

In Australia and New Zealand the Courier was a compact pick-up built for Ford by Mazda. It was first offered on the Australian market in 1979 [1].

While it was discontinued in North America 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. During the late 1980's and early to mid 1990's, a badge engineered version of the Mazda Proceed Lavie was sold as the Ford Raider, which just like the Mazda version, was a SUV/MPV based on the Proceed/B-Series/Ranger/Courier, and was sold in similar form to the Holden Frontera being a badge engineered version of the Isuzu Mu/Rodeo/Amigo.

Confusingly, the same Ford Courier is now called the Ford Ranger in every other market outside North America, including Australia and New Zealand. The vehicle is unrelated to the American Ranger, however, it would seem to be the logical choice if Ford decides to replace the American Ranger after its scheduled 2009 departure.


  1. Green Book Guide, Jul-Aug 1983, page 99