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Perfect for Chores: 1979 Ford Courier Pickup

In the 1970s, a new vehicle category opened up – the compact pickup. Lightweight with small motors, these were economical to run but still had enough carrying capacity for that load of bark dust. Toyota and Datsun dominated the market, prompting Ford to pair up with Mazda to make the Ford Courier. Manufactured from 1972 to the 1980s with several changes along the way, the Courier sold well. Here on eBay is a very original 1979 Ford Courier short-bed pickup for sale, bid to $6,000. The truck is located in Yucaipa, California. Mileage reads 56,193 and although the seller doesn’t document that number, I could believe the odo has not turned over. This truck is incredibly clean.

The interior gives little to complain about – only that the dash was cut for a radio speaker. The AM radio works great. Even the sun visors – often swelled from sun damage – are in fine shape, as is the headliner. The truck comes with its owner’s manual, a shop manual, and two keys. The fan runs and the heat is hot. The glass is clean and original.

The motor is a 2.3-liter four-cylinder motor, with a four-speed transmission. The seller says it starts immediately, doesn’t smoke, and doesn’t rattle. The engine bay would sparkle with a couple of hours worth of cleaning. The truck has an aftermarket temperature gauge and an electric fan installed (gets real hot down there in California). The truck has a new-ish battery, and all lights work, inside and out.

The underside is dry and nearly rust-free. The seller indicates there is no rust in the usual spots – drip rails, sills, bottoms of doors, floors. The truck has its original Bridgestone bias ply spare with a jack. At some point in the past, a Surestep bumper was installed on the rear.  The exterior paint is in great shape given this truck’s age, with a few nicks and scratches but a still-bright finish.  (Of course, the bed shows more wear.) Yellow can be a tough color, too – very likely to fade. Someone has obviously cared for this truck, and it should provide many more years of service if given the same attention in the future. Who couldn’t use a handy little truck like this for light hauling?


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    These are nice little trucks. Had the Mazda version as a shop truck and except for being slow as molasses did everything we asked out of it.

    Like 6
  2. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    I’d put these in the “throwaway– trucks” category; something like a Pinto would be in the “throwaway–cars” category. There were more Pintos built, so we do see a few of them which survived. But seeing one of these seems to be quite rare. Because most were actually ‘worked’? Or, rust got them?

    Anyhow, nice truck which would be something unique yet useful.

    Like 6
  3. angliagt angliagt Member

    Years ago,while looking for a small truck,I test drove a used Mazda.
    I didn’t care for the way it drove.Ended up buying a nice ’79 Toyota.

    Like 4
  4. Raymond Bennett

    I had a Mazda b2000 you couldn’t kill that engine …the body of course rusted out like no tomorrow but you couldn’t kill that little truck.

    Like 7
    • JustPassinThru

      This one’s got the 2.3. I don’t know it for a fact, but I seem to recall, back in the day, that with the reworking of the Mazda/Courier pickup, the Ford-badged models had the Lima 2.3 as the optional engine. The engine photo here, backs that up.

      The 2.3 and derivatives had a long life with Ford, but in the early years, were not long-lived. I had several Pintos – two with the 2.0 and two with the 2.3. The Cologne 2.0 was a jewel – you couldn’t kill it. The Lima engines tended to start using oil at about 60,000 miles, even with proper care. And they were more sluggish – the increased weight was not offset by increased power.

      They may, or may not, have addressed that situation by 1979. If someone wants a Courier, this is probably as good as it gets; but just for work or to knock around…I’d take a pass.

      Like 2
    • man ' war

      Yup, I used to drive my 86 B2000 CabPlus, 5spd, with a ticking sound, and it was very dependable. More than likely, it was the valve seals since it smoked upon initial start-up then went away mainly in cold weather. I did clutch work and a front brake job on it only to trade it for an 86 Nissan 720 Kingcab, 5spd, 4×4 even though the Nissan had way more rust on the bed compared to the B2000.

  5. Troy

    Knowing that in late 2019 early 2020 top dollar for one in this condition was $2900- $3500 I have difficulty getting to $6,000 for it. I hope the winning bidder enjoys it

    Like 4
  6. Hanford

    Is it hard to change the timing belt?

    Like 2
    • chrlsful

      no, cover off – an open gear w/a composite belt. U can C it as a bump @ the top/frnt there.

  7. Wes

    Original bias ply tires? 43 years on the same tires?? Wow, I would have thought that was all but impossible! I wouldn’t drive it 5 feet, even to get to the tire store, until I changed those suckers!!!

    Like 2
    • Jimbosidecar

      I believe he says the spare tire is the original bias ply spare. I don’t think he says all the tires are original

      Like 1
  8. Lothar... of the Hill People

    Wow, what a nice, little time capsule.
    There was an old guy I worked with back in the late 80’s, probably long gone now, that had one of these as his daily driver / work truck. It was already pretty rusty then but I believe it served him well. His was brown so the rust didn’t stand out from a distance. Brown is perhaps a good paint choice in Wisconsin if you are going to drive a rust bucket on salt-covered roads.
    Finds like this, and that nice Datsun p/u from a day or two ago, are examples of why I look at BarnFinds every day.

    Like 9
  9. Scott L.

    I believe the 2.3 came with a special grille badge.

  10. bone

    In New England, all these import trucks rusted quickly, but the Mazda trucks all ended up with rotted frames The water that dripped between the cab and bed always rotted them clean through

    Like 1
  11. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    Mini trucks have a good sized following, but not value. I bought a 76 Chevy LUV to restore a few months back, it don’t take long to get more into one than it’s worth. One in the condition this little Courier is in is a good Value as there’s seemingly nothing much to do to it. If you like mini trucks this one looks to be a good choice. Up in 7-points, Texas a few years back a fellow had 2 of them with U-haul boxes on the back for sale.

    God Bless America

    Like 2
  12. Christopher Gentry

    In the late 80s Dad bought a red very base model 81 courier from his employer for 100 bucks. Very used and abused , but it ALWAYS fired up and drove. It served as his daily and the family back up “car ” for several years. I’ve wanted one for at least 20 years. Just don’t see em. I just asked him what happened to it , other than rusting away , I was in my mid 20s and pretty self absorbed at the time , but seems one day it was there and then … It wasn’t. He said he couldn’t remember , guess he sold it , have it away. But he just doesn’t remember. Guess that sums these up.

    Like 1
  13. Roy Marson

    Back in 1975, Chev. LUV trucks sold like hot cakes here in Ca. For $2500 bucks I got a great truck with a 4 speed. Never a problem for 100K miles until it blew a head gasket. A Red Neck mechanic friend had a 1981 totaled Toyota Corolla with auto trans. He did a transplant and my____Luvota was born. Great truck.

    Like 2
  14. chrlsful

    saw it, thought “I’ll take it if its the perkins diesel!” but now I C the Lima, I say “Dat’s da ONE.”
    Swap the later Ranger’s head w/D shaped ports and have some power. This would then B perfect for my daily needs and 1 ton haul (it was rated a lill higher than the other era minis). May B even try’n find the 3 speed auto…
    8^ 0

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