Curbside Find: 1976 Ford Courier – As Tough As A Toyota?

It’s a fair question as to whether these Mazda-built Couriers were as tough as the Toyota pickup back in the day, but this one seems up to the task of hauling that pint-sized Tacoma in its bed.

We’ve done a full CC on these before, but the short (bed) story is of course that Ford wanted in on the booming mini-pickup market that was pioneered by Datsun here and eventually dominated by Toyota. The result was a Mazda B-Series pickup federalized and sold by Ford with its name proudly on the tailgate starting in 1972. The Courier name had been previously used by Ford for its sedan deliveries, so that was a logical choice.

Under the hood there was of course Mazda’s familiar “large” (UB/NA/VC/MA) SOHC four, in 1.8 L form for the Courier. That was eventually increased to the 2.0L version in the next generation, which also offered the Ford 2.3 Lima (“Pinto”) engine as an option. The Mazda four was a tough number, and its relatively long stroke gave it useful low-end grunt, but just not a lot on the high end.

Mazda’s slick-shifting manual was 4-speed standard, and a 5-speed became optional in 1976. A three-speed automatic was also on tap, but these trucks rather called for a stick.

This is a very clean survivor whose hauling days are likely well over unlike a number of similar vintage Toyotas that are still beasts of burdens. So maybe the question has been answered?


Related CC reading:

Curbside Classic: 1976 Ford Courier – The Second Toughest Old Mini-Pickup?

CC Capsule: 1973 Ford Courier – Far From F’d

CC Capsule: Ford Courier – A Survivor of The Lesser Pickup Epoch