While selling in smaller numbers than the mini trucks from Datsun and Toyota during the 1970s the Mazda B-series still made an impact on the North American market. Admittedly some of that effect was from its Ford Courier sibling with its F-series inspired styling. As with most Seventies compact trucks the survivors in stock condition are rare which made seeing this all original B1800 even more of a treat.
Ford’s Courier version was pretty much identical at this time except for the grill which had a scaled down F-100 look to it. In later years Ford would start using some of its own parts in place of the Mazda bits like the engine sourced from the Pinto after the 1977 refresh. The Courier was imported as a cab chassis (without a box) to combat the “Chicken Tax” on light trucks.
Mechanically these are pretty standard mini-truck fare with a ladder frame suspended by coil spring independent suspension at the front and a leaf sprung live axle at the rear. The engine is an overhead cam four cylinder as used in many other Mazda vehicles of the day. They didn’t have the legendary reliability of the Toyota but they lasted quite well even with a bit of a smoking problem at higher mileages (valve steam seals usually). This particular one has a 1.8L version code named VC. A long stroke design it delivered 74hp @ 5,000 rpms and 92 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500 rpms. A four speed manual was the only gearbox on offer until a modest refresh in 1977. If you were willing to drive really slow the B1800 had an impressive 1,400 lb load capacity.
Even back in the 1970s Mazda tried to play on their sporty reputation with a Sport version of the pickup. Sadly it consisted of carpeting, a center console, grab handles and some chrome rub strips down the side of the body. Mazda would make up for this a few years later with the properly sporty and somewhat impractical rotary engined REPU mini truck.
Our example today is not a Sport equipped truck and thus has exactly the basics you absolutely need and nothing more. Speedometer, fuel and temperature gauges as well as a basic heater. AM radio, glove-box and cigarette lighter is what you have in the way of luxury.
This little B-series pickup has been in the same family since new and recently emerged from long term storage. It has some nicks and such in the original paint but is a fantastic time capsule from an era when pickup trucks could be small and basic.