1986 Ford Ranger still getting jobs done

Farm Forum

It was 27 years ago that an Indiana farmer decided to purchase basic transportation. After much shopping he settled on a 1986 Ford Ranger pickup truck. Even though the Ranger was a low-end model, he wanted it to last, so he gave it an application of rust-proofing.

The Ranger was equipped with a 2.3-liter fuel injected four-cylinder engine that delivered 79 horsepower. Also available were two other engines, a 2.0-liter carbureted four-cylinder engine that produced 73 horsepower and a 2.9-liter fuel-injected V-6 engine producing 104 horsepower.

Year after year the farmer parked his Ford under cover six months of the Indiana winter when he went to sunny Florida. That’s the reason why after two-and-a-half decades the truck had been driven just 40,000 miles.

The son-in-law inherited the truck when the farmer died and eventually sold the Ford to its current owner, Cliff Green, whose daily driver was a full-size pickup that never seemed able to pass a gasoline station. The two men discussed the Ranger truck by telephone and Green bought it sight unseen. A transportation company was hired to haul the Ranger to his home in Virginia. At 4:00 in the morning the truck arrived and — except for the early hour — Green was pleased with his purchase. The Ranger had not a spot of rust thanks to the fact the original owner had it treated by the rust-preventive people.

This low-end 1986 Ranger is equipped with an AM radio, power steering, power brakes and an automatic transmission with a floor-mounted shift lever.

The truck left the factory with a long bed and a short cab. Because of that cab/bed combination the truck has room for the larger 17-gallon gasoline tank. The door to the filler pipe is on the left side.

The speedometer tops out at 80 miles per hour. The “55” on the speedometer is highlighted to alert the driver of his “excessive” speed. The Ranger rolls along on 14-inch black wall tires with the spare tire tucked under the bed and is accessed from the rear.

Incorporated in the lenses of the taillights are a pair of backup lights. Somewhere in the past the tailgate was repainted which covered the original white F-O-R-D letters Green observes.

On the floor of the cab is a black rubber mat. Beside the never-used ashtray in the dashboard is an equally unused cigarette lighter.

Over the drive shaft hump on the floor, beside the gear shift lever, is the homemade cupholder Green built and installed because the Ford didn’t have one. What the truck does have, which pleases Green, are the large west coast style outside mirrors. There are no blind spots on this truck.

In order to make certain that his truck was in perfect working condition, Green replaced the valve cover gasket, all the hoses, the thermostat as well as all four shock absorbers.

His like-new truck consistently delivers 26 mpg on his frequent trips about town and to the garden center. He doesn’t mind that as the low-end Ranger model that the bumpers are painted instead of plated with chrome.

“It’s my grocery getter,” Green says proudly of the truck that fulfills all his truck needs.

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