When Ford brought back the beloved Ranger, the new truck wearing it proved to be far from compact. Today’s Nice Price or No Dice Ranger is a true mini-pickup. Let’s see if its price is a small wonder too.
Porsche-project, Porsche-project, Porsche-project, Woo-woo! I don’t know why that goofiness just hit me, but now I expect you too will have train noises stuck in your head for the next four hours. I am, after all, one who likes to share.
What I do know is that last Friday’s project 1987 Porsche 944 offered multiple paths to regain its roadworthiness: original engine, an LS swap or both engines, with the decision to be made later. Many of you aligned with my thinking that the most logical route was to return the stock four-cylinder to its place of glory and pay the $2,500 cost of buying the car ready for that eventuality. That resulted in a solid 68 percent Nice Price win for the choose-your-adventure Porsche project, and we can hope it helped push a new owner down that path.
Speaking of paths, it’s a given that by nature they are narrow. That’s just what the name implies. If a path were wide, it would be a road. If you look at today’s truck choices, you’ll find that there aren’t all that many that are path-capable. Most are too big for even parking slots, let alone a merry jaunt down a quaint path. Think of all the places that are off-limits to drivers of full-sized pickup trucks. Fortunately, today’s 1997 Ford Ranger XLT offers a solution to this vexing predicament.
Now that’s not to say that this Ranger is so tiny you’d have to step out simply to change your mind. In fact, it’s an extended cab and a long bed, so it knows a thing or two about storage both lockable and open to the whims of the world.
It was this right-sized versatility that made the U.S. Ranger the best-selling truck in its class for nearly two decades. Despite that record of success, when was the last time you actually saw one on the road?
We’re seeing this one right now, and it’s not half-bad looking. The truck presents in Cayman Green over a beige interior, and it rides on factory alloy wheels. It sports a modest 130k on the clock, and while it is listed under the “by owner” section of the San Diego Craigslist, it looks to be offered by a dealer or at the least, a consignment shop. No real issues there, but that seems to explain its last sale, at auction earlier this month. I wonder what became of that bed cap? According to the ad, it has a clean title, so that seemingly wasn’t a junker auction.
The truck has cleaned up well. The bodywork looks straight, as do both front and rear bumpers. A bed liner is a nice inclusion and looks clean and without issue. Also, in my opinion, more trucks should have Yosemite Sam “Back Off” mud flaps.
The interior is tidy enough. The driver’s seat has a small tear on the backrest, and the seat belts look a little frayed. Neither should be a deal-killer or a safety issue, however. The rear of the capacious cabin offers a pair of side-facing seats with accompanying belts. These are intended for short hops only, but do benefit from their proximity to the opening rear window since the back side-glass is fixed. The truck does have a/c, but the windows, locks and mirrors are all manual.
Power for the truck comes from a 112 horsepower edition of Ford’s long-serving 2.3 liter “Pinto” four. That’s backed up by a Mazda-sourced five-speed manual and rear-wheel drive. The ad describes that transmission as “indestructible” which honestly sounds like a challenge that could be easily certified on a test drive. The ad also notes that a recent service has been completed and that the truck has “NO MECHANICAL ISSUES.”
With many of us pining for a simpler era that offered smaller trucks, it feels like this Ranger arrived at just the right time. The question for you, however, is whether it also came with the right price.
The asking price is $3,800, which gets you a very versatile truck in a size that’s just not offered in any new truck these days. What do you think, does that seem like an equitable trade? Or, is $3,800 too large an amount for this small Ranger to charge?
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