Brahma Conversion: 1978 Ford Courier

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Add this to the column of vehicles I never knew existed: this is a Ford Courier pick-up – a fairly light-duty, 2WD-only truck – with a Jeep suspension and a turbo engine from a Ford Mustang SVO! The suspension upgrades and resulting lifted appearance were apparently part of a 4WD conversion package made possible by aftermarket 4×4 specialists. This example can be found here on craigslist for $1,100.

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When you search for info on the Brahma conversion, not much comes up. Basically, Brahma was one of a few companies that saw potential in these little Couriers, making conversion kits that transformed them into rock-hopping 4x4s as well as diesel and electric models.

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I can’t determine if they simply offered a kit for owners to do the work themselves, or if they used new Couriers and sold them as their own, “improved” versions. The kit consisted of a transfer case and a solid front axle, in this case sourced from a Jeep. Owners were then free to add larger tires and winches at their choosing, as this seller has done.

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The seller doesn’t elaborate on the presence of the SVO motor, which I’m assuming is Mustang-sourced. While that wasn’t part of the original conversion package by Bramha, the 2.3 Turbo swap is a popular upgrade among Courier owners. Overall, I am impressed by the level of customization possible in a rare truck like the Courier, and this looks like a ton of fun to me.

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  1. grant

    I am not surprised to see an oregon plate on this thing.

  2. Jim S

    I had a 78 Courier. Ugliest green you can imagine but I thought it was kinda cool when I was 18. It was actually a pretty tough little truck, they were a Mazda with the Ford name.

  3. MadmanCruiser

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t believe any Jeeps came with six bolt hubs?

    This looks more like a home made 4×4 rather than the aforementioned collaboration. The actual rims on this truck are old Toyota Land Cruiser and Pickup rims as are (I suspect) the axles. Probably a lot stronger than Jeep parts.

    My 2 cents

    • Jeff Staff

      I am honestly not sure on the Jeep-specific hubs. The listing says Jeep and Brahma is known for sourcing Jeep axles for the conversion, but given these things were cobbled together from the start, who knows.

    • Brueske Kay

      Jeep J10 hubs & rotors , 6 lug . Brahma was a “Crate Kit” , customer install thing .

  4. boxdin

    Beginning in 1974 my company got conversion kits to make Datsun 4×4 trucks from Spencer Low in CA. Later on he had kits for LUVs and Couriers too. They used a Dana open knuckle front end 5 lug w 6 to 5 lug adapters for the rear. Throw on a set of Jackman wheels and you’re good to go. Tfer case was divorced so for smooth highway driving you had to go under and line up the ujoints in and out of the Tfer case or it would vibrate like mad.

    • Sparky Pete

      Just picked up a 4×4 conversion Courier last year, and that little T-case vibration tidbit might be THE best nugget of advice I’ve read all year.

  5. Jason Houston

    Looks like an amateur worked this car over. If really done properly, it would make a great 4X4. I’ve had several Ranger 4X4’s and they are hard to find fault with. Even so, the price seems in line. When was the last time you saw a Courier in any condition?

  6. JoeT

    Years ago I worked with someone that had a similar Courier 4×4 conversion. On that truck the company that did the conversion used a front axle with a ration close but not quite the same as the factory rear. The manual recommended specific tire sizes for the front and rear to compensate for the difference.

  7. Leo

    In a perfect world 4×4 the front pinion is one tooth different than the rear ( 4:09 in front / 4:10 in rear for example)

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