Although we reported earlier this year that the soon-to-be-discontinued Ford Ranger would end production by Dec. 22, more recent reports from Ford have the final production date at the end of this week (Dec. 16) or the following Monday.
The Twin Cities Assembly Plant in St. Paul, Minn., has a storied 86-year history, producing such U.S. sales favorites as the Model T, Country Squire and, finally, the last small pickup truck Ford would produce for sale in the U.S. The plant employs more than 800 workers and has built over 7 million Rangers, with no plans to design, engineer and sell a replacement model here, though a new Ranger is sold overseas.
The 1983 Ford Ranger, which started production 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 pickup that could work hard, get good gas mileage and compete against small Japanese trucks from Datsun and Toyota and against the U.S.-built Chevrolet and GMC S-Series pickups from GM.
Reports are that the last Ranger has already been sold to one of the largest, consistent purchasers of the pickup (in fact, we're told they may have also bought the very first Ford Ranger), Orkin Pest Control.