By on October 18, 2011

 

 

According to many news sources, the historic Twin Cities Assembly Plant in St. Paul, Minnesota is headed for a not-so-grand finale.  Come December 19th, the 86-year-old facility that originally built Model Ts will be history.  Ironically, Twin Cities is currently making the T’s spiritual successor: the (somewhat iconic) Ford Ranger compact truck. So shall we, the collective group of automotive journalists, lament the loss of this famous nameplate from Ford’s storied past?

Nah, I am sure there’ll be a new MyFordTouch software update or an updated Lincoln MK-something that will occupy the autoblogosphere in the coming months.  It’s not like anyone loves the Ford Ranger. Or has a funny story to share about one’s time in said Ford Truck. I mean, we all hated it, right? Why else would Ford abandon the tiny truck market–a market they owned–and give us cutting edge stuff like Doug the Focus Spokes-puppet instead?

 

I’m not a hater, even if I don’t know how to Dougie. There’s no time to start a Panther Love-like campaign, so I am doing one better. I ordered a brand new Ranger from Twin Cities in June, took delivery in August. It has every option I wanted, none that I didn’t. It’s the perfect little city commuter in every way.  Can you see me rollin’ on 15-inch steelies, son?

 

Yes, this is the vehicle that answered my previous quandary.  Granted it lacks a few things I really wanted: a mild refresh, without resorting to the bulk of the current Toyota Tacoma. Or gadgets like SYNC.  Or an LSX-FTW powertrain. But I love this little truck.  It will help me re-start my life, getting me where I’ve always wanted to be.

I coulda spent more and received diminishing returns…so I got a Ranger. And I coulda bought a Focus or Fiesta. But who wants that when there’s a rear-wheel drive rig with a stick, a revvy DOHC motor and a fun-ish suspension for the same cash?  And FYI, my first tank netted me 26.1 MPG.  Shove it, Ecoboost!

Apparently that’s not enough to bowl over FoMoCo, so remember where you were on December 19th, 2011.

It will be the day the American compact truck dies a sad and lonely death.

 

 

 

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94 Comments on “Ford kills Historic Assembly Plant, Ranger RIP...”


  • avatar
    morbo

    I had the 2003, Edge with the iron-block V-6. Auto, Air, Power ‘Everything’ (which was 2 windows and 2 doors). One of the last ones they made in Edison, NJ, before that Ford plant died to become yet another WalMart Power Center. We certainly needed more stores in NJ.

    I miss that truck. 22MPG, reliable, neevr complained, always started, always stopped. Great fun mud-bogging in the swamps of South Jersey. Even ran sans S-belt for 30 minutes when a massive water swell I ran into during a nightime T-Storm knocked it off the pulley. No heat damage at all.

    Yet another piece of old school American motoring is dead. As I hypocritically digress while researching my impending car purchase of genesis vs. 300 vs. taurus (thanks Diamante bad head gasket).

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      My brother-in-law drives a 1990s Ranger. He uses it to commute to work in western Pennsylvania in all kinds of weather. I think it has over 250,000 miles on it by now, and it just won’t quit.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        I have a 1998 Ranger, and it just won’t quit either.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had to replace every belt-driven accessory on the engine (some more than once), but after putting 100k miles on it (the vehicle has almost 200k miles on it), the machine has wildly exceeded my expectations, and there isn’t a truck on the market today that’s actually an improvement for my purposes. Alas, that included the 2010 Ranger…

  • avatar
    grzydj

    I’ve driven by this plant quite a few times. It’s weird, because unlike most other car plants that I’ve seen, it’s not in some harsh, gray, industrial area, it’s actually nestled in a nice part of St. Paul.

    Also, how is it ironic that this plant was building what you call the spiritual successor to the Model T?

    To that, the Ranger is a decent little truck, but it probably won’t be remembered as iconic in any way. Archaic might be a better way to remember this rig, which saw about as many changes as the Model T did, perhaps even less. The Ranger had a longer production run than the original T did!

    • 0 avatar

      Its ironic that the factory that started making Model Ts (the vehicle that put Ford on the map) is gonna die making the Model T’s spiritual successor. Or not?

      • 0 avatar
        grzydj

        It’s not really. Perhaps you could say that it was a fortuitous occurrence that both vehicles were produced at the same plant, but it isn’t ironic.

        Alanis Morissette killed the definition of the word irony in the same way that Ford killed off this plant.

      • 0 avatar

        Well put, I guess I am just too much of a blogger and not enough of an English teacher.

        This news is much like rain on my wedding day. A free ride, when I’ve already paid.

    • 0 avatar
      Birddog

      Affordable, cheap to run, cheap to fix. That’s what made it a spiritual successor.

      Yes, it will be quickly forgotten by most.

      • 0 avatar
        grzydj

        @Birddog. Very true on the spiritual successor to the T. I hadn’t thought of it that way. I still don’t think of the Ranger as being iconic though.

        @Sajeev. Haha. Good comeback.

        @MrWhopee. Given how nice the area is, I’m sure some kind of gentrification plan is already in action to turn either the building into something useable, or the land it is on into condos.

        It’s not like this is Detroit Michigan where you can drive for miles in what could truly be described as a wasteland.

    • 0 avatar
      MrWhopee

      Indeed, the factory is in a very nice area near the river. Very beautiful area. I hope they make something good out of that site.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        In Cambridge MA, the old Ford Plant at 640 Memorial Drive is being renovated into space for biotech companies and is absolutely gorgeous. Here is a link to the web site.

      • 0 avatar
        Kevin Kluttz

        There IS something good on that site. The Ranger factory. Ford has fallen and bumped their heads. Standard trucks (F-150, etc.) are now gargantuan; mid-size trucks are the size of standard trucks of 20 years ago. Now where are we going to get a true “small” truck? Not everyone wants everything super-sized, except the car companies, who make more profit on the gargantuans.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    My last “new” vehicle purchase was a ’95 Ranger XL. “New” in quotes, because I bought it a “dealer demo”, with a wink. We all knew it was the service department’s parts chaser.

    Completely stripped. No radio. Manual Steering. No carpet. Nothing.

    Ok, it had one option, the factory spring upgrade, to a 1600lb payload.

    Rode like an oxcart empty. Handled like one, too.

    I paid $9000 out the door.

    The day after I paid it off early, I sold it. Hated it every minute I drove it.

    Sold it to a co-worker who *loved* Rangers. He took it to 288,000 miles, then got a $500 trade-in on it.

    He got the better deal, but it also meant he had to put up with it for 240k miles.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      I just did an 8 hour round trip in a Ranger. Not a terrible vehicle, but aside from fleet use I can’t see why an individual would want one. Maybe a good vehicle for somebody else to drive if they have no choice in the matter.

      Small, loud, not very comfortable, not great on fuel. Without an extended cab no storage at all (tolerable with extended cab).

      With so many better choices out there today why somebody would spend their own money on a Ranger is kind of baffling. Apparently most other truck buyers agreed.

      • 0 avatar

        V6 models are bad on fuel, mostly because of the outdated engines. The four banger is best in class for a reason.

        If you want a truck, odds are a Ranger is actually all you need. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but I see way too many concrete cowboys in Texas that roll around in more vehicle than they EVER need.

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    Sajeev,

    I have the 1992 version of this truck right now and it has the 4.0L pushrod Cologne V6 (does yours I’m assuming?) with the 5spd manny tranny and it 2WD and it now has 235600+ miles on the clock and it still runs.

    Never mind it’s now leaking oil and coolant but the gauges never stray from their usual positions, well, except for Saturday when the temp gauge went towards cold briefly before resettling down at its usual spot on the gauge, heat is plentiful too.

    But as you say, it starts, it runs, it stops and all that and outside of the master clutch cylinder and later the clutch slave both going out (the master in 2006, the slave in ’09) and a thermostat last year, it’s been oil changes, tires and a new exhaust and I even rebuilt the shifter in 2009.

    The best $3000 I’ve spent in recent years, bought it in early 2006 but the time for its replacement is coming nigh… In the end, I’ve grown to really like this truck for what it is, an honest vehicle that’s reliable and gives me decent for a small truck mileage but sad that Ford chose not to update it much since the 1990′s and thus let it experience a slow death.

    • 0 avatar

      Thanks for your story…actually mine has the tiny Duratec I-4. Nice little aluminum mill, 3000-ish lb curb weight. Fun truck.

      • 0 avatar
        ciddyguy

        Ah, ok, since you mention the DOHC, I thought it might be the updated version of the 4.0L.

        BTW, my avatar IS the truck I spoke of. :-) When I bought it, it had a new clutch, front brakes, wheel bearings and the tranny drained and new oil put in and had 189K+ on it then.

      • 0 avatar

        Your avatar rocks. :)

        FYI: The 4.0L is now an SOHC motor. Which was impressive enough when the switch was made circa 1998(?), but now its a complicated boat anchor. The Duratec is the sweetheart of the two.

      • 0 avatar
        TEXN3

        The Duratec is a good motor for the reg cab Ranger. My uncle in San Antone has one (2008) for towing behind is RV. My (now) wife and I borrowed it a few years ago when visiting my relatives in TX. Drove to Austin and Houston, on FM roads, stopped in Shiner for a Shiner. Did okay on I-10 and 45 in traffic, excellent visibility when flipping the bird and flooring it while changing lanes.

        Oh yeah, as a side from that trip…she noted all the Texas/Lone Star edition pickups and SUVs. We now have a Ford “Texas Edition” badge on the Outback. The dealer here in Idaho wanted to know more about that package. I said all-terrain tires for caliche, skid plates for armadillos, roof basket for brisket, and an a**hole for Houston drivers.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Looking forward to Jack Baruth’s review of the swan-song Ranger Turbo S PDK, specially ordered by Dr. Sanjay Mehta.

    • 0 avatar
      doctorv8

      LOL!!!!

      My version would have a Coyote motor and a T56 in it. Something like this.

      http://www.powerblocktv.com/site3/index.php/trucks-episodes?ep_num=TK2010-08&ep_sea=1001

  • avatar
    eldard

    So, when is the blue oval gonna kill itself?

  • avatar
    mcarr

    I had a ’96 regular cab Ranger with the 2.3 4-banger and a 5 speed. All of 112-hp if I recall, and geared for economy. I remember you could not hold 70-mph on the freeway in 5th gear if their was any headwind at all. It was durable as an anvil though. A friend of mine had the same truck and he took his to over 250,000 miles. Took mine on a couple 2,000 mile trips out to Montana and back. Good times.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      I drove my friend’s 98 with the little I4. That thing is a beast, it has a hole the exhaust and makes a smell of a racket but doesn’t do much else. Also, if you even look at a freeway overpass ramp sideways it starts to whimper until you drop it in third – then it gets excited. All that being said for the $1 he bought it from his mom for, this is a great little truck for my friend.

      He drives kind of aggressively, insofar as one can get aggressive with 112hp in a rolling brick, and still manages 21ish combined heavily biased towards city/suburban.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Nice truck.

    If it was mine, I’d probably go with the body color grille over the chrome one though. I would have to throw on some auxiliary lights, a brush guard, and retro-decals running down the side too. So, something like this.

    Then just finish it off with a “Don’t mess with Texas” and Houston Oilers bumper sticker.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    I had an 84 with 2.3L and 5 speed. No options or frills, not even power steering. Paid 400 and sold it 50K miles later for 800 to a kid that kept bugging me to sell it to him. So I did.

    Not the most reliable, the paint fell off it, and it cost me a bit every year in repairs, but it was a great beater mobile for sure.

  • avatar
    SuperACG

    OH MAN THAT’S THE TRUCK I WANT!! Single cab, stick, 4-cylinder! Only in white, not silver. I’d also put on 15″ aluminum wheels to save weight.

    Really fine truck…do you plan on adding a Mercury Mountaineer front clip? I also had that idea, some time ago…

    • 0 avatar

      If I come across a Mountaineer, the plan is to one day absolutely destroy this rig’s value by doing just that.

      I am continually amazed/horrified by the knowledge of our B&B.

    • 0 avatar
      texan01

      You’ll have to do some blending of sheetmetal to get the lines to work. the fenders for the Explorer/Moutnaineer don’t directly bolt on and look right.

      I love my wannabe Ranger, I’ve got a 95 Explorer that has 290,000 miles on it, and still knocks down 22mpg on the highway.

      • 0 avatar
        SuperACG

        Yes, I know, and fully planned to cut out the headlight surrounds of the Mountaineer and blend them into the Ranger fenders. I’d also prefer the Mazda B-Series/Ranger STX bed, but with the taillights filled in and retro-style taillights on a rollpan instead of rear bumper. This is only a dream to me…I have neither the time, nor the money to do this right.

        BTW, Texan, JUST HOW are you getting better than 20 MPG in your Ex? My 2000 Ex has NEVER broken 20 MPG! The best I ever got was driving a sustained 65 MPH from Las Vegas to San Diego (LOTS of patience) and got 20.865 MPG. It is a 4×4, though…

      • 0 avatar
        texan01

        That’s a good question! I’ve no idea either. I don’t drive it particularly economical, its the daily driver, and I guess the engine is so loose that theres minimal friction (unrebuilt). About the only thing I’ve changed on it from stock, is lowering it an inch, and synthetic oil in the engine, and in the rear diff.

        Its mileage did improve after I had some headwork done on it due to blown head gasket and warped heads. It’s 2wd with a 3.73 rear axle, stock 235-75-15s. Might be due to the way OBD-i learns how to run the engine, as I had it idling for a good while checking out leaks after I put the heads back on it.

        There’s two ways for it to learn, low speed (less than 40mph) which is good for mileage, and high speed which is good for power. I’m not sure ODB-II/EEC-V cares where the EEC-IV might on reconnecting the battery.

        Highest mileage I’ve ever recorded for it was 29mpg. It usually gets 20-22 cruising along at 70-75mph. I took it to Austin last weekend and it got 21 even sitting in game day traffic. Commuter duty its a mixed bag, somewhere around 15, as low as 12 and as high as 17. Oh sustained 90mph it nets 17mpg.

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    I really like the idea of a custom ordered Ranger, other than not particularly liking silver.

    But, did the Ford dealer offer to sell you an F-150 off the lot for less than what the custom ordered Ranger cost? The economy of scale that Ford has with the F-150 makes it difficult to sell the Ranger for much less, which is my understanding of why Ford killed it.

    Also, how much deposit did the Ford dealer require on a somewhat loaded looking Ranger with stick?

    Ford being open to importing the Transit Connect from Turkey makes me wonder if it is open to importing this from Mexico: http://www.ford.com.mx/camiones/courier/conocelo/

    Because of NAFTA there wouldn’t even be any chicken tax issues.

    • 0 avatar

      The Ranger was 18k DRIVE OUT complete with a bedliner and tonneau. No dealer is stupid enough to question someone wanting a 4cyl Ranger…it is one vehicle that sells itself on value and fuel economy.

      • 0 avatar
        sean362880

        Yeah, I think Sajeev made the right call there. You’d struggle to find a base F150 for less than $23k. That extra 5 grand is a big lump of money, for a truck that you don’t actually want. Plus you can’t get an F-150 with a manual.

  • avatar
    FromaBuick6

    I always liked the Ranger, but I have absolutely no interest in buying a brand new 15 year old truck.

    Ford left this platform to rot, just like they did with every product that wasn’t a full-size pickup or SUV until a couple of years ago. I see no point in rewarding their stupidity.

    • 0 avatar

      Resale value. If you need a new-ish truck right now, you’d be a fool to buy a Taco/Ranger on the used car market. They are horrible values.

      • 0 avatar
        FromaBuick6

        Well, yeah, late-model resale values are absurd right now. It’s a terrible time to buy anything that’s 2-3 years old, especially with something with a Japanese nameplate. This time next year, that may be very different.

        If I bought a Ranger, or any other truck, it’d be at least 10 years old. New or used, a truck would be a backup vehicle for me. All I really need is a beater for Home Depot runs. Why spend 18k on a truck when a $3500 one will do the job?

      • 0 avatar
        rocketrodeo

        If you can find one. People ask me all the time if I want to sell mine. I don’t worry too much about resale.

    • 0 avatar
      toxicroach

      I don’t think it’s stupid at all. Sure, there’s a small contingent of internet people who wail and gnash their teeth about how compact trucks should make a comeback, but it’s the same thing with people who claim the only car they ever want is a diesel station wagon with a manual transmission. They’re loud, but there just isn’t enough of them to keep the car out of the 10 worst selling list, especially when the price difference between a stripper Ranger and a stripper F-150 amounts to a few grand.

  • avatar
    drno

    We have a 2001 with the 3.0, manual and 2WD. Rough ride, noisy, balky shifter, lousy handling…and we love it! Like the size but wish they had kept upgrading and offered a smoother tranny and engine options like the 2.5 I4 or upgraded 3.0. Will they reconsider on the global “new” Ranger?

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    Typical Ford…fire people right before Christmas.

    What a great Christmas present.

  • avatar
    Les

    With everything else in the segment discontinued or bloated-up to ‘mid-size’, will we ever see a revival of small-trucks in the US?

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      With CAFE continually rigged to support the domestic truck industry, don’t bet on it.

      • 0 avatar
        Les

        I miss truly small trucks and mini-SUVs. If I had to do it over again my first ‘car’ wouldn’t have been the V-6 2WD Chevy half-ton with auto I originally got.. I would’ve taken one of the many S-10 4x4s with the stick on a local lot that I passed-up originally for no reason than the fact that I was young and stupid.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I owned a 1996 Ranger XLT regular cab, short bed. Same setup as mcarr‘s above, same results and even worse with the A/C on! We found the truck on a Buick-GMC lot in March, 1998. Metallec red, alloy wheels, a thick rubber bed floor mat, a snap-on bed cover with clamp-on rails, sliding rear window. What wasn’t to like?

    My only problem with it was, eventually, the driver’s seat got butt-sprung and you felt as if you were sitting in a hole and my back began giving me serious trouble, but nothing ever went wrong with it, so I couldn’t get rid of it! We owned it for over six years.

    Finally, my back had had enough and I happened to ride in a salesman’s Impala – in the back seat when a bunch of us went to lunch one day and I was impressed! The rest is history, as too many of you know ad nauseum!

    • 0 avatar
      dvp cars

      ..zack……if you’d only watched Murilee’s junkyard pix more carefully you probably would have spotted a nearly new bucket seat, bought it, and still be flogging that old Ranger….however,a blue oval egg crate grille might not work as well as your neat new avatar. I’ve considered avataring my white Park Av, but I didn’t want to look like a copycat.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        @dvp cars:

        My avatar is not my car – I need to take a decent photo of it when it’s clean and the sun is shining, but for now, go ahead and post yours – does yours have portholes? That would be perfect!

        As for our Ranger, yeah, I could’ve gotten a different seat – IF I would have thought of that!

        Doggone good little truck…

  • avatar
    zbnutcase

    Funny. My 83 Ranger long bed 4×4 was built on Dec 19th 1982 and is within the first 100,000 4WD Rangers ever built. It now has a 5.0L V8,(thank god for the dual tanks!) C4 auto, 9″ rear axle w/ Explorer disc brakes (4 wheel disc) Built it in ’97. No its NOT for sale

  • avatar
    tulsa_97sr5

    I should know better by now but I’m going to rain on the ‘last small pickup’ parade a little. The fact is you can get a 2wd regular cab tacoma that is within spitting distance of every ranger measurement and has a lower MSRP. Look at them side by side on edmunds or somewhere if you are really curious. As far as I can tell the only people who buy these things new are for delivery vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      eggsalad

      MSRP is *not* selling price. Ford has a TON of cash on the hood of Rangers – I doubt Toyota does.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Oh my. I looked at the Edmunds comparison tool. The bulk of the Tacoma that Sajeev wouldn’t resort to comes out to one additional inch of length for the far more capable, comfortable, and $1,800 cheaper Tacoma. The Colorado is less than 3 inches longer while being considerably smaller in every other dimension. The Ranger is a nifty time traveler, but it isn’t really more mini than a Tacoma, unless you just mean the interior and towing capacity. I’m old enough to remember that the Ranger and S10 were actually the midipickups compared to the Mazda Courier and Isuzu Luv they replaced.

      • 0 avatar
        John Horner

        “I’m old enough to remember that the Ranger and S10 were actually the midipickups compared to the Mazda Courier and Isuzu Luv they replaced.”

        +1. I’ve been scratching my head over the whole Ranger is the last mini pickup line as well. It isn’t a minipickup in the classic sense at all. Then again, a Civic isn’t really a compact car anymore either.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        I believe the the Civic is a true compact, but it used to be a subcompact. The Plymouth Valiants were compacts when they were made, and the Civic is at once much smaller on the outside and pretty similar in interior volume. Vegas, Pintos, and Crickets were subcompacts, and the first Civics were samller on the outside and similarly useful on the inside.

      • 0 avatar

        CJinSD: I am pretty sure the Tacoma is also taller and wider, but you did the research so that’s fine. I can’t stand the visibility and height (of the bed) compared to the Ranger or the last Tacoma.

        I know the new Taco is a decent truck, but I so resented them ruining it with the 2005 redesign, I can’t seriously consider one. And I have too many old vehicles that I don’t want to buy a 6 year old truck (the good Taco) that will need attention in the coming months, years.

        Only $1800 cheaper? Not with 3000 on the hood, a TON of standards on the Ranger (receiver hitch, etc) and a far more motivated dealership inventory. Not buying it, literally.

  • avatar
    zbnutcase

    And yes the 1st Gen Ranger (83-88) IS somewhat iconic…4×4 truck of the year, outsold S10/S15 4×4 pickups 10 to 1, scared the crap out of Toyota…helped Ford out of economic hard times as much as the Taurus did…

  • avatar
    MBella

    I always say that my ’95 All Iron 5-Speed is the worst car I’ve ever owned, but the best wheel-barrow. It is not comfortable or quite, the driving dynamics aren’t very good. However, I have loaded it up to the point that the leaf springs were concave. It just keeps on trucking (literally) It has also been reliable. A truck that I bought very abused, with 170K Miles on the clock, has not needed more than brakes, shocks, rear spring shackles in four years and thirty thousand miles.

    On the other hand, I can see why it’s going away. My truck get’s very marginally better economy than a V6 version, and that is barely better than a V6 F-150. The full size truck also would better at hauling things.

  • avatar
    dvp cars

    ……Sajeev….an ultimate car guy friend of mine faced your same dilemma (a popular word these days)…he chose a Tacoma 4 cyl. 5 speed, but the Ranger was in the running ’til the end. His logic was much like yours, he was paranoid that Toyota was about to abandon the 4/5 combination……..he had issues with the additional bulk, too, but I think he’s happy enough with the mpg… Looks like Ford is abandoning this niche, much like the “Panther” franchise they ditched last month (much to your chagrin).
    On a sadder note, I hope the ex-employees of this plant have as merry a Christmas as possible under the circumstances.

    • 0 avatar

      I see your friend’s perspective. The only thing that kept me from wanting the Taco instead of the Ranger was the puffy styling (even the dash is puffy) with mediocre visibility. It’s almost certainly a better vehicle, but I went for leaner and trimmer…plus cheaper.

      If they didn’t redesign the Taco in 2004, that would be the new addition to my fleet. Oh well.

      • 0 avatar
        Les

        So we have your opinion of the Tacoma (Which I’ve heard is a Very softened-up/wussified version of the current Hilux, wouldn’t survive the Jeremy Clarkson treatment..) What do you think of the current crop of Nissan Frontiers?

        IIRC it, the Tacoma, and the 3/4 ton Rams are the only pickups currently offering manual transmissions that I could guarantee. Colorodo did (but not with their V-8 option, the bastards), but don’t know if the next generation (which maybe will, maybe won’t make it to the US) will offer such an option.

      • 0 avatar

        I didn’t really consider the Frontier, the nickel and dime-ing (extra cost trailer hitch,etc) compared to the XLT Ranger meant it was in the same price range as the Taco. I still like sitting and staring at the Taco more.

        And when it comes to selling this thing at some point, a Taco will always be an easier and more valuable proposition. If the historical trend continues…

    • 0 avatar
      rocketrodeo

      They’ve been closing that plant since at least 2008. If my job was going to end, it would sure be nice to have a three-year notice.

      Flexible assembly is absolutely required these days, and you really can’t retrofit an 85-year-old plant to do this. It’s the same reason that Norfolk went away — it was also built to put T’s together. DTP could build world Rangers on the same line as the F150 if need be.

  • avatar
    troyohchatter

    I own a 2002 with A/C as the only option. Gave 9300 bucks out the door. The first year for the DOHC 4cyl and man, what an engine. Truck is used as a truck, throw 1800Lbs on it and it handles it like a trooper. Yes, I agree, even in 2002 it was obsolete but I didn’t care. I needed a commuter with a pickup bed. In 2008 the backend broke loose on some ice and the ballast weight intensified the fishtailing effect. Weight or no weight, regardless of tire type, the Ranger is dangerous in winter weather PERIOD! A tree helped in stopping the truck. The truck was delegated to truck duty and the commuting then went to small 4wd SUV. Still have the truck and she runs like a champ! Good choice, but I hope you didn’t pay too much for it.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    I’m still driving my ’98 Ranger. It has the 4 cyl with 2 plugs per cylinder. 5 spd.

    What’s the sales chart on these? It must still be at least the 2nd best selling small truck, isn’t it?

    It’s still a very competitive offering in this market, though it does need a styling refresh. I don’t really see anything wrong with it other than it looks dated.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Two things:

    A former tenant left his ’70-something F250 4×4 Ranger sitting in my boss yard. It’s really weird seeing that name on a big old slab of rusty Fomoco iron after growing up in the ’80s.

    Someone around here once had a 1st-gen extended cab DUALLY Ranger. I’ve seen a few ’80s cab+chassis dually Japanese compact trucks, but never one with a full bed and never a domestic compact dually of any kind apart from that one.

  • avatar
    LectroByte

    Sorry to see any plant closed here in the USA, but the Ranger I owned seemed basically designed to get you regretting you hadn’t bought an F-150. Wouldn’t restart during the Texas summer without a long cooldown (something related to a computer module in the engine compartment that should have been located to a more hospitable location), a 3.0 V6/Automatic got worse mileage than some fullsize V-8 pickups, and everything plastic under the hood and in the interior seemed to melt after 4 years. But I can see what some folks liked about them, and it will be missed, we need more compact trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      Les

      Is there really much demand for compact trucks/mini-SUVs? I certainly do miss the S-10 and early Rangers, and the Suzuki Sidekicks and Isuzu Amigos..

      My first, cynical guess is that with cheep gas’s return it was more chasing margins than lack of demand that killed the midget-ute market.

    • 0 avatar

      The V6 Rangers are a totally different animal, and the more I drive the Duratec model, the older Pinto motors are even light years behind.

      I drove the F150 several times for TTAC and personally hated them. I can never drive these new full sizers. The salt on the wound was that I couldn’t get a stick with the base V6…which is a screamer.

      If the F150s V6 was in the Ranger, we’d have a wicked machine on our hands.

  • avatar

    I just could not fit into it. Ford put some ridiculous square bump hanging off the roof of the track right where my head wanted to be. No idea what’s in that bump, it has no controls or any outlets. It cannot be structural, since it’s suqare. Amazing in a bad way.

    P.S. Went to Google images in search of a good picture of the blasted roof bump, and it’s just not there on any picture. Nobody will ever know what it was. I should have snapped some evidence, but who knew.

  • avatar
    sastexan

    I should have guessed this. I actually was thinking somehow it was going to be one of the last police package Panthers Sajeev somehow got a Ford dealer to order. I still – despite being a native Texan – think of pickups for hauling stuff, not just a commuter’s rear end around. And Sajeev’s business isn’t primarily hauling building materials.

    But it is uber-practical and a great value. Smart buy.

    • 0 avatar

      The ride is poor when unloaded on seriously bouncy roads (potholes are fine), so when I haul stuff on weekends I really appreciate the improvement.

      That said, I actually do haul stuff some weekends! Therefore, I truly love having it around to add to the Mehta Automotive Portfolio.

  • avatar
    thx_zetec

    I consider this sadder than the last Panther production.

    The Ranger was the last of its kind: regular guy cars that delivered max usefulness, minimum price, and little regard for fashion.

    Other practical cars before this:
    Model-T, Ford Valiant, F100, K-car, Kryko minivan 1.0.

    BTW you picked the perfect ranger: Allow wheels (steel = alloy of iron and carbon), 4-banger. Is Mehta a Norwegion or Scottish name? Gotta be one of those, very practical.

  • avatar
    rocketrodeo

    2000 model supercab, Vulcan motor, five speed. It gets between 22 and 25mpg on the road, occasionally as high as 27. Burns ethanol when I can find it. Coming up on 150K miles. NOTHING has broken, and nothing has needed to be replaced that wasn’t expected (they are notorious for crappy ball joints; ANY aftermarket part is going to be better). Never thrown a code. Interior is wearing well, and I don’t see a hint of corrosion yet. Parts are cheap and available everywhere. I put a nice BedRug marine carpet bedliner in it and a lightweight color-matched aluminum cap on top, and engineered a Yakima rack system that will work with the aluminum topper. I can remove and replace it in five minutes myself, no assistance needed. It carries motorcycles, bicycles, canoes, and tows a 6×12 box trailer on occasion.

    Only real issue is that the steel wheels have slowly worked their way out of round, so I’ll likely replace with OEM alloy wheels when they get impossible to balance. It will also get a limited-slip differential one of these days. Otherwise, I can’t imagine a better truck for my needs.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Sometimes they survive (not the vehicle, the plant)!

    Check out this link, former Ford Model T plant in Jacksonville, FL. Still there but hasn’t been used for anything in years.

    http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2008-jan-inside-the-ford-motor-company-assembly-plant

  • avatar
    Jimal

    My Ranger story…

    When I was in High School (mid 80′s) my chosen career path was to be an auto mechanic, so in addition to taking the auto shop classes and representing my school in the AAA/Plymouth Troubleshooting Contest, I got what at the time was my dream job, delivering parts for the local auto parts store. When I started the store had a fleet featuring a couple early Chevy LUV’s, an early Ford Courier, an ’83 S-10 and an ’84 Ranger, all with the same blue paint with a white roof.

    Everyone wanted to drive the Ranger, or “#12″ as it was labeled. It was the only truck that had a working radio and could get out of its own way. Plus the LUVs were more bondo than metal at that point. I was the FNG so I generally drove one of the LUVs until they eventually couldn’t be patched up anymore before moving to the S-10. The S-10 was fine but whenever one of the “old guys” (the retirees who also worked for this parts store) I took #12 on my runs.

    Ended up not being a particularly good auto technician, so I put myself through college, got into marketing and now have my own PR business going. Still remember those days cruising around in that Ranger, listening to sports radio on the AM and accidentally beeping the horn when signaling for a turn.

  • avatar
    brettc

    My parents own an early 00s Ranger (I think it’s a 2004). Not a bad truck, but I wouldn’t want to drive it for an extended period of time. They have the 4.0 V6 with a 5 speed in it. They want to get rid of it because it’s a gas hog (Their other vehicle is a Jetta TDI).

    I’ve been telling them to hold off on selling it until the spring since it’s in good shape and Ranger production is ending. That way hopefully they can make some money on it when it comes time to sell.

    Any word on the Mahindra diesel compact truck that will never be available in North America?

  • avatar
    play3rtwo

    I read about this a few months ago. I bought my 2010 ranger in april of 2010 and have been so totally satisfied with it. XLT with auto tranny. I got it for a steal of a price 16xxx brand new.
    I just got the oil changed on it again (15k miles now) and still get looks from people. it drives great, looks awesome (the chrome grille really helps that department) and just overall makes me happy.

    It disappointing me since my garage can’t fit a F-150. I can’t imagine when it comes time to replace it what I’ll have to choose from if ford is killing off the ranger.

  • avatar
    Banger

    Sajeev, you are a writer after my own heart. The Banger Ranger, as mine is affectionately known, is such a staple in my life, I don’t know how to fully put it into words. My father and step-father had Rangers. I remember three of us kids riding in the back of my step-father’s SuperCab first-gen, and I remember him pulling a small camper with a bumper hitch attached to that same truck. Who needed an F-150? Not us.

    I paid $10,800 OTD for my 2006 in full “parts-runner special” livery in early 2007. It was used and had 15,000 miles on it. Salesman claimed it was traded in by an old man who wanted a Mustang worse than he needed a truck. It was white, with what many consider the “ugly” steel wheels (not the styled ones like yours…the small-holed ones) and the Armor-All interior (that being vinyl seats and rubber floor, which look like new with a little Armor All and elbow grease, no matter how dirty you get them.) My powertrain setup is the same as yours, with the 2.3 Duratec and the 5MT. You’re right, the Duratec is a sweetheart of an engine. If only the M5OD were a smoother transmission…

    I have used the truck to commute, primarily, but have also had plenty of heavy loads on it on weekends. I’ve hauled so much mulch that the rear axle was sitting on the bump stops (and I didn’t dare get out of fourth gear for fear of burning up the clutch). I recently hauled 1,220 lbs of scrap metal, but still had plenty of suspension travel even though I was technically over the GVWR of the chassis.

    My wife and I even took the Banger Ranger on our honeymoon. Tennessee to Tampa by way of Pensacola. We spent just about as much time driving on that honeymoon as we did enjoying the sights. With my cheap CB radio rigged up, I was able to live by the old “When in Rome” saying and found myself doing 85-90 mph on I-10 and I-75 in between truckers shouting about Smokey Bear takin’ pictures across Channel 19. And people were *passing* us at those speeds. Welcome to Florida, I guess. We did nearly 2,000 miles in five days, and when we got home, the Banger Ranger was due for an oil change.

    In all this, the truck has returned an honest 29 mpg lifetime. See my Fuelly profile at http://www.fuelly.com/driver/banger/ranger if you don’t believe it. I drive mostly highway miles, so take that how you will. I found it odd when the EPA rejiggered their test cycle and it bumped the Ranger down to 26 mpg highway. I’ve always got 29-30 mpg highway unless I did a lot of hauling or high-speed driving.

    The Banger Ranger is currently at 82,000 miles. It has a LOT of life left in it. When my brother-in-law recently brought up the idea that we’d need a bigger truck because we just had a son and it would be hard if not impossible to transport him in the Ranger in his carseat, I briefly considered how I might trade my Ranger and get an F-150 or other full-size truck. But the F-150 is a huge truck (turnoff #1), gets far worse fuel economy in the real world (turnoff #2), and isn’t available with a stick shift anymore (turnoff #3). In fact, few of the full-sizers are available with a stick anymore. WTF? At any rate, I think I’d rather buy a cheap beater car to transport our son around in when the wife’s car is gone (she leaves for work super early). That sounds much more palatable than giving up the Ranger.

    I will miss the Ranger. I’ve begged Ford (via the Ford Ranger official Facebook page, among other means) to bring the new global Ranger over. The “it’s nearly the same size as an F-150″ excuse is just that…an excuse. PickupTrucks.com did a size comparison, and the only way the global Ranger is appreciably bigger than the North American Ranger is in length (11 inches’ difference in the longest models of each), but that’s because the global Ranger is available as a *CREW CAB*, an option we never had with the U.S./Canada-spec Ranger. In all other metrics, the global Ranger grew less than three inches over the North American Ranger.

    So (for now,) The Ranger Is Dead. LONG LIVE THE RANGER!

  • avatar

    I bought my 2003 Ranger new, and it has 105,000 miles. Four cylinder, five-speed manual and steel wheels. Over the past 65,000, mostly highway miles, it has delivered 26.3 miles to the gallon. Since 2008, I’ve put about $3,100 into service and labor. I also added a radio I could jack an iPod into (by the way, since when has it been cool to build a radio without an on/off knob?)

    I’m tempted to buy another Ranger, just to get the automatic transmission someone else seems to think is necessary for her to drive it. But I’m not interested in bailing out on a machine that I hope is a third of its way through life.

    After this year, no Ranger replacement means no replacing.

    My other 4/5ths vehicle, a 1996 Miata, has delivered 29.3 mpg over the same time period. But I don’t use the Miata to haul a tandem, a labrador retriever or two month’s worth of recycling. Just butt.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    I would have bought a new Ranger if they made a new Ranger. They haven’t made a new Ranger since Michael Jackson last charted. While I enjoyed both, I have moved on because I have a calendar and know life is too short to be stuck living in 1995.

    Ford leaves this market wide open for Hyundai-Kia to take advantage of.

  • avatar
    gsf12man

    My wife and I ordered a new 2008, thinking Ranger would go away around 2009. XLT Supercab 4×4, 3.73 limited slip, manual, white. Gorgeous truck. I could pick nits all day (why could you only get adjustable lumbar support with leather upholstery?) but we love it. I promised to keep it for at least ten years, but that new Australian Ranger might make a liar of me; little danger of that, apparently. What a shame to see the Ranger going away in the U.S. market.

  • avatar
    redav

    I used to own an ’89 Ranger. I really liked that truck. My father also had an ’89, and he liked it so much he got a c. 2001 Ranger. That thing is a POS. It’s harder to get in to/out of. It gets worse mpg. It’s had far more mechanical problems. That truck is so bad, it utterly turned me off from Ford entirely for nearly a decade.

    I understand that Ford hasn’t redone the Ranger since then. That’s a shame. I could really use a good small/midsize truck, but there’s no way I’d own one of those.

    • 0 avatar

      The Ranger has changed a lot (by, uh, Ranger standards) since 2001. Rear suspension, NVH controls, MP3/Sat Radio, engine (4cyl) and transmission(?)…quite honestly, I’d like to hear your thoughts on the 2011 Ranger, you might be surprised with what you find.


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