Six Great Things You Didn't Know About the Ford Courier
- Don't tell anyone, but the Ford Courier has Japanese ancestors-well, if it were a person it would. This strange-looking truck is actual a rebadged Japanese truck made by Mazda and known as the B-Series. It came as a godsend in 1971 during the fuel shortages that would follow. By the way, Mazda and Ford actually maintained the working relationship well into the next decades-ending only in 2011.
- Apart from an interesting foreign pedigree, the Ford Courier has the unique distinction of being the very first American compact pickup truck ever made and sold. It bucked the "bigger is better" mindset that seemed to permeate America in the 70s. Larger than a sedan, but smaller than a full-sized truck, it offered customers a best-of-both-worlds kind of thing.
- To go around the 25% tariff imposed under the Johnson administration's Chicken Tax, the Ford Courier was imported from Japan in "cab-chassis" configurations-including the entire truck minus the cargo bed. The bed would be attached post-importation, and tariffs were a lower 4%. What was covered exactly by the oddly named Chicken Tax? Potato starch, dextrin, brandy, and light trucks-yes, trucks were thrown into that but no chickens.
- Think that e-cars, green cars, and electrically driven vehicles are a modern thing? Think again. Between 1979 and 1982, several electric Ford Couriers were produced by Jet Industries. These were given DC motors and lead acid batteries before being rebranded as Jet Industries ElectraVan 750-didn't look much like a van, though. They had a top speed of over 70 mph, and could travel 50-65 miles on a single charge!
- Even before customizations and body work became all the rage, the Ford Courier was considered one of the most openly customizable trucks in the world. In fact, it was the hot-rod designs on the advertisements for the Ford Courier in the 70s that inspired many to "soup-up" and "trick-out" their rides in a number of creative ways. You could say that the Ford Courier made body decals popular before they became a fad.
- The first Ford Couriers were branded as "sedan delivery"-although they looked a lot like trucks. These original Couriers had a completely enclosed cargo cabs, and actually looked a lot more like classic ambulances.