Welcome to Little Car in the Big City, where I highlight fascinating cars I found walking around a town that is known for being bigger than everything else, but where every car is fighting to stand out: New York, New York.
As New York still shakes off the winter, most of the classics that are still on the streets are there for a reason. That reason being dolla dolla bills y'all. Can't get any if you aren't making any, which means that there are a lot of old pickups still plying the streets, putting in work.
Like this awesome little Ford Courier.
Pickups of the 1970s had honest, utilitarian style, and the olive drab paintjob on this Courier is so emblematic of that. And while that gigantic Ford emblem on the back is emblematic of, well, Ford, what it should be emblematic of is a different company altogether.
The first generation of the Ford Courier pickup (we're ignoring the early sedan delivery version of the 1950s, for our purposes) was actually built in Japan by Hiroshima-based Mazda on contract for Ford, in response to the huge response small Japanese pickups were getting on the West Coast for the time.
Because hey, if you can't beat em, join em. Or something.
Over in Japan it was known as the Mazda Proceed, which is a very forward nameplate, and over here Mazda sold it as the B-Series. And weirdly enough, for a time it was also the basis for the world's only rotary-powered pickup truck, which in a conniption fit of sheer creativity was named the Mazda Rotary Pickup.
But back to the Courier. When it was introduced in 1971, it came with a tiny speck of an engine, a 1.8 liter four cylinder putting out just 74 horsepower and 95 pound-feet of torque. But that didn't matter much, as the whole truck weighs basically nothing, and it came with a four-speed manual as standard.
Which basically makes it one of the most fun little pickups you could possibly buy, and one of the best trucks you could have for inner-city duty. It's light, nimble, and made of basically just sheet metal. And that's always pretty neat.