As you may know, this year marks our 60th anniversary here at Ziems Ford Corners. In the spirit of celebration, we wanted to take the time to celebrate one of Ford’s milestones. We are honored to share an anniversary with our Blue Oval brethren, and this year marks the 39th anniversary of the Ford Ranger. Born in 1982, the first-ever Ranger rolled off the assembly line of the Louisville Assembly Plant in Kentucky Jan. 18. When the first trucks drove off the assembly line that day, they were driven by their new owners, all Ford employees.
The Ford Ranger didn’t start out as the midsize pickup truck we know and love today. Ford actually experimented with the nameplate for decades before it found its rightful place. The first Ford vehicle to bear the Ranger nameplate was a 1958 sedan, the Edsel Ranger, a vehicle that missed the mark. Then in 1967, Ford got significantly closer with the fifth generation of F-Series Pickup offering a top-of-the-line trim package dubbed the Ranger. In 1970, the popular Ranger trim level was joined by a Ranger XLT.
The First Generation: 1982-1992
The Ranger became its own line instead of a trim option in the ‘80s. The F-150 was showing strong performance, but Ford knew that it needed a smaller pickup in its line-up. At the time, the only truck Ford offered that was smaller was the Ford Courier, a vehicle that was manufactured by Mazda but wore the blue oval with pride. So, Ford axed the Courier and ushered in its first in-house compact pickup: The Ranger. The Ford Ranger set itself apart by offering additional engine choices, and a bed length in six or seven feet. Almost a quarter million Rangers were sold in 1985 alone, but the Ranger’s top-selling years were still to come.
The Second Generation: 1993-1997
The second generation of the Ranger saw a major redesign with a reduced grille size and flared fenders for a more rounded look. This is the time when the Ranger became flush with options, from six-disc CD changers to the sporty “Splash” model. All the options aimed to make the Ranger appealing to a wide range of consumers, and in that quest, it was successful. Between 1993-1995, the Ranger sold more than 300,000 units per year.
The Electric Generation: 1998-2002
Always on the cutting edge, in the earliest of days in the history of EV’s Ford released an electric variant for the Ranger. It had a 65-mile range and could reach 65 miles per hour. At the end of the Ranger EV’s life, Ford elected to cease manufacturing and crush the remaining stock. However, die-hard owners refused to give up their vehicles and it is estimated that several hundred Ranger EVs still exist to this day.
The Third Generation: 1998-2012
This is the generation that saw the Ranger put domestic sales on hold. It’s also the generation that saw the Ranger increase in size and grow closer to a full-size truck than a compact truck.
What had once been one of Ford’s top performers struggled through 2012 as its worst year of all time. It was hard to see just why the once loved Ranger had fallen, and almost as soon as it left the market, customers realized how much they missed Ford’s smallest pickup. During its absence in the United States, however, the Ranger continued to be a top seller in international markets.
The Next Generation: 2019
After a seven-year American hiatus, the Ranger was rereleased in 2019. This fourth-generation Ranger offered light styling revisions for tougher looks with new grilles, an aluminum hood with dual bulges and a frame-mounted steel bumper. When the Ranger returned for the 2019 model year, it did so as the larger, mid-size pickup we know today.
The All-New 2021 Ford Ranger
The 2021 Ford Ranger is built adventure-ready with a high-strength steel frame and frame-mounted steel bumpers. Combine that with a class-exclusive, advanced turbocharged gas engine, and you can rely on your Ranger whether on the road or off. The new model year offers best-in-class torque and payload with a class-exclusive 10-speed SelectShift® transmission. Add the available Tremor off-road package for a commanding presence off-road or select from one of the six other available trim packages to make the Ranger your own. If you’re ready to hit the road for adventure, call or stop by Ziems Ford Corners today and find out for yourself why the Ford Ranger is so well-loved.