28 years after the first Ford Ranger compact pickup rolled off an assembly line in Louisville, Ky., the 7 millionth Ranger was built last month in St. Paul, Minn., according to Automotive News.
The 1983 Ford Ranger -- production started in January 1982 -- was a replacement for the Ford Courier, which was based on the imported Mazda B-Series small truck. Ford wanted a scaled-down, lighter version of its full-size F-Series pickups that could work hard, get good gas mileage and compete head-to-head against small Japanese trucks, like the Datsun and Toyota pickups, and the U.S.-built Chevrolet and GMC S-Series pickups from General Motors.
The first Rangers were sold with a standard 73-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine. An 80-hp 2.3-liter four-cylinder gas or 59-hp 2.2-liter four-cylinder diesel was optional. Transmission choices included a four-speed manual or three-speed automatic gearbox. The front suspension was Ford's Twin-I-Beam setup.
The 1983 Ford Ranger was available in four trim levels: Base, XL, XLS and XLT. The only cab configuration was a two-door regular cab with a choice of a 6-foot or 7-foot cargo box.
Here's a quick comparison of what's changed since the first Ford Ranger went on sale.
[Source: Automotive News (production figure only)]