Junkyard Find: 1972 Ford Courier

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1972 ford courier

Until Ford started building Rangers in the early 1980s, their only small pickup was a rebadged Mazda B Series called the Courier. Like so many utilitarian Malaise Era vehicles, Couriers were everywhere… until one day in the early 1990s when just about all of them disappeared. Here’s one of the few that managed to hang on for another couple of decades.

The Courier wasn’t quite as cool as its Mazda-badged rotary-powered REPU sibling, but it was a good real-world value.

The early Courier’s 1.6 liter overhead-cam four was a fairly sophisticated powerplant by the standards of the time, and these trucks were able to compete head-to-head with Datsun and Toyota’s truck offerings. Now, of course, the Couriers are just about all gone. I found this battered example in a Los Angeles junkyard.

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  • Nrd515 Nrd515 on Nov 04, 2011

    I worked for a guy for a couple of weeks in 1979, who had three of them. In Las Vegas, they didn't rot almost instantly like they did in the land of winter salt, so they were driven into the ground. He had 2 of them still going until 2000 or so, when the last one puked a motor when he started it up one cold (For Vegas) morning. I was shocked to hear what he replaced it with, a 2001 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4! Talk about going the other way!

  • Ciddyguy Ciddyguy on Nov 05, 2011

    I remember these around quite a bit back in the day. There IS a well weathered, but mostly straight and appears to be solid old red one still floating around on Capitol Hill as I've seen it parked around my apartment building on the streets every so often. It's from the 70's first gen Courier which ran from 1972-1976. Neighbors we used to lived next door to, had a '79, I think it was Ford Courier that he bought new to replace his orange '73 Ford F-150 that he also got new and drove it for several years and it was white. These, like the Chevy Luv were very numerous back in the day and I still see one every so often, but hardly these days. A couple of years ago, spotted a weird green/yellow (original paint), I think a '72 if I recall right Luv parked on the street in halfway decent shape for its age when I was out photographing my walk and it was that day that I spotted an '87 Sprint 5 door, and a battered '76-80 round headlight Subaru Brat that had been painted in a gaudy blue and white motif and had mus-matched wheels but looked to still run. All three were in the same block/street if I recall right here on Capitol Hill.

  • Jalop1991 I say, install gun racks.Let the games begin!
  • EBFlex For those keeping track, Ford is up to 24 recalls this year and is still leading the industry. But hey, they just build some Super Dutys that are error free. Ford even sent out a self congratulatory press release saying they built Super Duty’s with zero defects. What an accomplishment!
  • Norman Stansfield This is what you get when you run races to keep the cars bunched together for more excitement. F1 doesn't seem to have this problem after the first few laps.
  • SCE to AUX Too many cars = more wrecks. With today's speeds on essentially the same old track, starting with half the cars could reduce the congestion at the end. Or maybe it would increase the problem because the herd wouldn't thin early on.I say no overtime - finish at 500 miles and no more.