The 1952 to 1960 Ford Couriers were sedan delivery variants of Ford's US mainstream passenger vehicle range of those model years. Its model code was 78A through to 1958. It had a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout.
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. It was identical to the Ford Parklane and later the Ford Del Rio wagons without side glass installed.
In 1959, all Couriers took on the windowed body style very similar to the Tudor Ranch Wagons and the model code was redesignated as 59E. The last year for the passenger car-based Courier was 1960, when it would remain a commercial wagon.
In the early 1970s the Ford Courier name was applied to the Mazda B-Series, a compact pickup manufactured by Mazda. It had greater fuel economy than the full-size pickups of the time. 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. It occupied the market segment previously held by the Ford Falcon-based Ranchero when that platform was upgraded to the larger Ford Fairlane in 1966.
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 small price tag compared to full-size pickups of the time. To circumvent the 25% "chicken tax" on light trucks, Couriers (as with Chevrolet LUVs) 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 body styling was effectively that of the related Mazda B-series; however, its front styling was unique in that the grille was designed to emulate the larger Ford F-series, and large single headlights instead of the B-series' smaller twin units.
When the Courier was introduced, it came standard with a 1.8-liter overhead-cam engine, which produced 74 hp (55 kW) at 5,070 rpm, and 92 lb-ft (125 N·m) at 3,500 rpm. A four-speed manual transmission was standard, and a three-speed automatic was optional. A five-speed manual option was introduced for the 1976 model year.
The Courier's badging changed a few times in the first generation. In 1972 and 1973, the tailgate read "COURIER" in large raised letters, with a small "FORD" badge on the upper left. The '72 model has a small "COURIER" badge on the front driver's side edge of the hood, and from '73 through '76 the hood badging read "FORD". From the 1974 model year, the tailgate read "FORD" in large letters, with a small "COURIER" badge on the lower right. In 1976, the cab was lengthened by 3 inches (76 mm), and the grille received added trim.
Beginning in 1977, Ford gave the Courier a fresh look, moving into the more blocky, angular styling that is distinct of 1980s automotive design. In 1979, the base model engine was increased in size to 2.0L (120.1 CID).
The truck was available with front disc brakes, as well as a Ford-built 2.3L engine option (which was the same as that of the Ford Pinto, Granada, and Mustang II). The key identifying feature of the Courier from the Mazda B-Series was still the singular headlights, although with park and indicator lights placed in the grille starting in '78 ('77s still had the turn signal lights in the bumper). In 1979, the base model was increased in size to 2.0L (120.1 CID). The optional Ford 2.3L (140-cu-in) engine was produced in Brazil. The Courier was never available with a diesel engine in the US. However, the 1980 Mazda B2200 was available with the S2, a Perkins-built 4.135 (four-cylinder, 135-CID) 2.2L diesel engine, producing 66 hp (49 kW) at 2,100 rpm. This same diesel engine was available in the 1983 and 1984 Ford Rangers, but it was replaced by the Mitsubishi 4D55T 2.3L turbodiesel (also used in Mitsubishi's own Mighty Max and the Dodge Ram 50) for the 1985 to 1987 Ford Rangers.
The Courier continued to be sold in North America until 1982 model year. For 1983, Ford introduced its own Ford Ranger to fill its compact truck segment in the United States and Canada, effectively replacing the Courier. However, in other markets (such as Australia), this generation of Courier continued on until the 1985 model year, when the next generation was introduced. Australian models received a facelift around 1982/1983.
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 use as service trucks, generally to local government departments. They had a top speed of about 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.
Coinciding with the 1985 redesign of the Mazda of the Proceed/B-Series, the Courier was given a larger, more modern cab. New options included five-speed manual transmissions, four-wheel drive, and a V6 engine. For the first time, extended and four-door cabs were available.
In a similar fashion to the North American Ford Ranger becoming the donor platform for the Ford Explorer SUV, a sport utility would be based upon this version of the Courier. Branded the Ford Raider (and equivalent Mazda Proceed Marvie), it was sold from 1991 to 1997.
In 1998, a new generation of the Courier pickup was released following a redesign of the Mazda B-Series. Unlike the previous generation, the Courier nameplate was sold primarily in Australia and New Zealand. In other markets, the Courier nameplate was phased out in favor of Ranger for all compact trucks, both Mazda-produced and Ford-produced.
In 2003, Ford would release the Ford Everest mid-size SUV based upon the Courier/Ranger for the Asia and Central American markets.
A Ford Courier Van based on the Ford Fiesta was launched in Europe in 1991. Initially based on the Mark III Fiesta platform but with longer wheelbase and Renault derived torsion bar rear suspension, it was also produced in the 1995 Mark IV version. It had a front-engine, front-wheel-drive layout. Production ended in August 2002. It was replaced in September 2002 by the Ford Transit Connect. However, a minivan based on the Fiesta bearing the Transit Courier/Tourneo courier name was revealed in Yenikoy Turkey, in 2013 under Ford Otosan (Koc-Ford Motor Company Joint Venture).
The name was also applied to a small coupe utility 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 front treatment is the same as the South African-built Fiesta-based Ford Bantam "bakkie" coupe utility, it has a completely different load box. The South African version had the short doors of the five-door hatchback and small quarter lights in the style of larger extended cab pickups, and the Brazilian version had the three-door's longer doors and no quarter windows.
Its load capacity is 700 kg (1,543 lb). Until 1999, the Courier used the Endura 1.3-liter engine and the Zetec-SE 1.4-l 16v engine. 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 12 seconds. Since 2000, both engines were replaced by the Zetec Rocam 1.6-liter. The Mk V 1.6 model has top speed of 180 km/h (112 mph) and can accelerate from 0–100 km/h in 10 seconds.
Its dimensions are 2,830 mm (111.4 in) wheelbase, 4,457 mm (175.5 in) length, 1,793 mm (70.6 in) width and 1,477 mm (58.1 in) height.
From 2013, the plant in São Bernardo do Campo in Brazil has suspended the manufacturing model for ordinary consumers and business, but Ford has not confirmed that the model was taken from line definitely. Despite Ford not confirming that the Courier was taken from line definitely, the Courier had seemed to ended production and was possibly replaced by the Ford Ranger (T6). In Mexico, it stopped being sold after 2010.
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