This year (2023) marks the 40th anniversary of the Ford Ranger. The first Ranger rolled off the assembly line in 1982 as a 1983 model year. The new compact truck looked like a smaller version of the full-size F-Series trucks and would replace the Ford Courier that was sold from 1972-1982.
It’s believed that the Courier had been imported and sold by Ford as a response to the popularity of the Toyota and Datsun pickups, and that the Courier was only sold until Ford could manufacture a compact pickup here in the United States.
Ford actually began the five-year Ranger development program back in 1976 with emphasis on building a quality and fuel-efficient product. Research by Ford following the fuel shortages in the 1970’s and the fuel price escalation in 1973 indicated that a smaller more fuel efficient, but still functional pickup would be needed to satisfy the needs of the buyer in the ’80’s.
Ford manufactured the Ranger at the Kentucky Truck Assembly in Louisville, Kentucky until 1999, the Edison Assembly Plant in Edison, New Jersey until the plant’s closing in 2004, and Ford’s Twin Cities Assembly Plant in St. Paul, Minnesota until the end of production in 2011.
The Ranger Name History
This was not the first time that Ford had used the Ranger name.
- The name first appeared on the 1950-1952 Ford F1 Panel Delivery 4×4.
- Form 1958-1960 it was the base trim package on the Ford Edsel.
- From 1965-1981 Ranger was a styling package on the Ford F-Series trucks as well as the Bronco.
Body Styles / Generations
The Ranger saw five different body styles from 1983 until it stopped production in North America in 2011 Those different body styles or what we called generations were:
- 1983-1988 – First Generation
- 1989-1992 – Second Generation
- 1993-1997 – Third Generation
- 1998-2003 – Fourth Generation
- 2004-2011 – Fifth Generation
Unique Ford Ranger Models
During the Rangers lifespan it has seen several unique models such as:
- Ford Ranger GT
- Ford Ranger Tremor (audio package)
- Ford Ranger Tremor (offroad package)
- Ford Ranger FX4
- Ford Ranger Thunderbolt
- Ford Ranger Edge
- Ford Ranger Splash (1993-1997)
- Ford Ranger Splash (2022-2023)
- Ford Ranger High Rider STX
- Ford Ranger EV (1998-2002)
Ford Ranger Lifestyle
The Ford Ranger has been a reliable workhorse for businesses, custom show trucks, farm vehicles, overlanding and adventure vehicles, and off-road champions.
End of North America Production 2011
The last Ford Ranger pickup truck built in North America rolled off the Twin Cities assembly line on December 16th, 2011 and found it’s home with Orkin Pest Control which had been buying Ford Rangers since 1983.
The Ford Ranger Returns To North America For 2019
In January 2018 Ford brought the Ranger back to North America and began production at the Michigan Assembly plant as a 2019 model year. This would become the Sixth Generation of the Ford Ranger here in the United States.
(2019 Ford Ranger)
The Ford Ranger Will Receive A Restyle For 2024
This Ranger may be new to North America, but this Ranger was designed and engineered by Ford of Australia and produced over there since 2011 as the Ford Ranger (T6). That Ranger received a redesign for 2023. The North American Ford Ranger is receiving a redesign that will be produced as a 2024 model. Below is a photo of one of the new Ranger’s being tested.
(2024 Ford Ranger)
Ford Ranger 40th Anniversary Celebration
(August 4-6, 2023)
This year the 40th anniversary of the Ford Ranger will be celebrated at the Truck Nationals in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Check out:
We’ll be there, will you?
Click the photos to enlarge.