For $6,500, Do You Think This 1974 Ford Courier Will Deliver?

Illustration for article titled For $6,500, Do You Think This 1974 Ford Courier Will Deliver?
Nice Price Or No DiceIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe candidate is a little different. It's not from Craigslist or eBay, or even that weird KiJiJi. Instead, it's a little Ford that I found at my local Cars & Coffee last Saturday. Let's see if this Courier is worth going to the show.

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If you were to consider the opposite ends of the automotive coolness spectrum, you would most likely find Lotus populating one side - the cool end - and Kia holding down the fort at the other, far-less cool end. That's just the way things work out. What however would happen if you were to create some sort of unholy matrimony of these two incompatible brands?

Well, it's been tried, and yesterday's example - a 1998 Kia Vigato - came away with an 88% Crack Pipe loss, owing to it being far to pricy for being a Kia, no matter how much of a lotus position it attempted.

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Yesterday's ride was pretty pretentious. I mean, it was for a car company whose bread and butter has long been building cars for people who think Hyundais are too fancy. In contrast, today's Ford is about as unpretentious a vehicle as you could ever want to find.

Illustration for article titled For $6,500, Do You Think This 1974 Ford Courier Will Deliver?

I just so happened to find this 1974 Ford Courier for sale at my neighborhood Cars & Coffee. Now, people generally gather at this sunrise event to share their cars, some car-conversation, and to enjoy an invigorating cup of joe from the Starbucks at the end of the parking lot. A few as well come to show off the cars that they have for sale. No one is obnoxious about it, and in fact this particular little pickup was parked near the back, out of the limelight.

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The '70s were the heyday of the mini-truck, as prices for gas climbed and its availably plummeted. Toyota and Datsun pretty much led the pack, while both Chevy, with its Isuzu-sourced LUV, and Ford, tapping Mazda for the Courier, chose the wait and see approach to the genre's staying power.

Illustration for article titled For $6,500, Do You Think This 1974 Ford Courier Will Deliver?
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This one seems to have perseverance. It's described as being all-original, and at first glance that appears to be the case. The drivetrain is all Mazda, comprised of a sensible 74-bhp SOHC 1.8-litre four and 4-speed manual gearbox. There's nothing fancy about it, and this one only has 114,000 on that hardware.

Aesthetically, the truck is in pretty nice shape as well, and includes its original plain-jane wheels, dressed up a bit with some whitewall tires. There's no bumper in the back, which may make the truck a little less useful, but it absence does enhance the looks. The body has some minor nicks and dings here and there, but nothing serious, and there's no rust apparent anywhere.

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Illustration for article titled For $6,500, Do You Think This 1974 Ford Courier Will Deliver?

On to the interior, and that's where things get a little less original. From the factory, the Courier, in base form, came with a bench seat molded with a central divot to allow for the shifter to reach second and fourth.

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Here, that bench has been replaced by a set of funky-looking semi-buckets, with integral seat belt mounts and individual cup holders. I've seen these someplace before, but can't quite place them. They don't look bad at all, and in fact neither does the rest of the cabin. Their mystery origin bothers me, however. Perhaps you'll know.

Illustration for article titled For $6,500, Do You Think This 1974 Ford Courier Will Deliver?
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The window sign notes that the truck is fun to drive and, being a '74, falls outside of even California's strict emissions testing requirements. It also says that the asking price for this basic and old-school set of wheels is $6,500. That's fully $3,500 above what the truck intro'd for when new. Of course three-grand in 1974 dollars is about fifteen-large today, so perhaps it's a bargain.

Illustration for article titled For $6,500, Do You Think This 1974 Ford Courier Will Deliver?
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What do you think about this Courier for $6,500? Is that a price that should have someone carrying it off soon? Or, is this a car meet seller that should have just stayed at home?

You decide!

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Help me out with NPOCP. Click here to send a me a fixed-price tip, and remember to include your Kinja handle.

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DISCUSSION

Joe creaked down the steps into the garage and opened Tim's driver's side door. He set his Thermos of coffee on the passenger seat and slid into the driver's side. Now Tim creaked, too - his leaf springs hadn't been fresh since the first Bush presidency. "Morning," Joe said.

Joe buzzed up the garage door. It was a beautiful fall day and the sun was shining. He poured a cup of coffee from the Thermos. It momentarily steamed Tim's windshield. Joe cranked Tim's little four-cylinder to life and they set off, slowly. Tim's left blinker flicked on and off merrily as they cruised down the suburban boulevards of Sacramento.

Joe winced as he put the clutch in for a four-way stop, then had to stifle a little yelp of pain as he let it out. "Joe..." Tim's voice was stern.
"Dammit, Tim. I'm not getting a damn Buick."
"I know, Joe. But I need to go to someone with younger knees, someone who isn't hurting himself on my clutch."
"It's' time, isn't it."
"It is."

"Today's the last day?"

"Today's the last day."


It would be a beautiful day — picking up a bushel of apples, stopping at the VFW to tell stories, and enjoying the plentiful sunshine of Fall in California. And it was wonderful. It was almost over, and they were about to turn back onto Maple Street, when Tim said "Turn right here. I've got a surprise for you." Joe obliged. He hadn't been down this way in a while — the Olsens had painted their house. It looked nice. They pulled up to a stop sign. "Hang on," Tim said.
A pale blue LUV truck pulled up next to them. The driver — a tattooed woman with an infectious smile — smiled at Joe. Confused, he smiled back. "Consider it a going away present," Tim said. And at that moment, a border collie, which had been curled comfortably in the bed of the blue truck, leapt over into the yellow Ford. The blue truck drove away. "This is Missy," Tim said. "She'll take good care of you."

[EDIT: This is fiction. Please don't drive with a dog in the bed of your pickup truck. It's really unsafe. I was actually concerned about the fictional border collie's safety, but decided that she'd ridden in the cab most of the way and only gotten into the back at the last minute.