Ford Kills Historic Assembly Plant, Ranger RIP

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
ford kills historic assembly plant ranger rip

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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  • Gsf12man Gsf12man on Oct 19, 2011

    My wife and I ordered a new 2008, thinking Ranger would go away around 2009. XLT Supercab 4x4, 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.

  • Redav Redav on Oct 19, 2011

    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.

    • Sajeev Mehta Sajeev Mehta on Oct 19, 2011

      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.

  • Jerry Hightower I'd like to see a true hardtop.
  • Jerry Hightower I'd like to see a true hardtop
  • 28-Cars-Later "Six-thousand dollars get you in the door."You just cost me six thousand dollars! And one Cadillac.
  • 28-Cars-Later Kudos to the Mazda team on the attractive front end, though the lack of front bumper is still detention after class. Rest of it is also visually appealing, its shocking me how good this looks and how bad Honda (and to an extent Toyota's) styling is in comparison.
  • Slyons My guess is they keep the 2.0 liter they have now with minor tweaks, and shoehorn in the 48V mild hybrid system that just debuted in the CX-90. Should allow for all the regular fun of wringing out the 4 cyl and bump the fuel mileage up at least a couple points. I don't think we'll see a major evolution of the drivetrain until the next next model (NF?).
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