1 Nov 1978
By CHRIS HARRIS
ALTHOUGH Mazda shareholder Ford in America had been marketing a badge-engineered version of the Mazda B-series truck as the Courier since 1972, it wasn’t until November 1978 when Australians saw it.
With a 2865mm wheelbase, the Courier was built in Japan to compete against the likes of the Toyota HiLux one-tonne trucks.
Initially two utility and cab-chassis models were introduced, the base Courier (1000kg payload) with a 59kW/132Nm 1.8-litre carburettor-fed four-cylinder petrol engine mated to a four-speed manual gearbox, or the better-equipped 750kg-payload XLT.
Front disc brakes arrived during 1980, while a 46kW/122Nm 2.2-litre diesel four-cylinder base utility with a 1000kg payload was launched in April ’81.
A Ford Laser-like square headlight grille was implemented in February ’82. In November ’82 a slightly larger, 58kW/138Nm 1.8-litre petrol engine replaced the 59kW unit, and was fitted with a five-speed manual gearbox.