Ford is about a week away from losing one of its more famous nameplates, the Ranger pickup, and the plant where it is built, the Twin Cities in Minnesota. The last Ranger will roll off the line next week, either Dec. 16th or 19th, says Ford spokesman Mike Levine.
The last customer will be one of the most loyal for the small pickup: Orkin, the pest control giant. Orkin has bought thousands of Rangers through the years, so it’s only fitting that the company should get the last one.
It was hardly a lone Ranger. Though the small pickup segment is no longer hot, there are quite a few good competing entries. Drive On was trying out a few of them earlier this week. Nissan is currently promoting its Frontier in TV ads, and other small pickups remaining include Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Canyon and its GMC clone, Suzuki Equator, and Honda Ridgeline, to name a few.
Here’s a history of the Ranger:
1965: Ranger name appears as a styling package for F-Series pickup trucks.
1967: Ranger stops being an option and becomes an upscale series.
1981: Plans for the all-new Ranger pickup are unveiled in Dearborn.
1982: First Ranger rolls off the assembly line in Louisville , Ky.
1998: A more environmentally friendly, electrically powered Ranger is offered. Within its driving range, the electric-powered Ranger performs identically to its internal combustion counterpart.
1999: Ford receives the largest-ever order for an electric vehicle in U.S. history in December 1999, when the United States Postal Service (USPS) orders 500 vehicles based on the electric-powered Ford Ranger compact pickup chassis for use as mail delivery vehicles
2001: The “Rocket Ranger” sets the land speed record for pickups with a recorded speed of 205.208 miles per hour.
Past Ranger trim levels included Ranger S, XLS, Sport, XL Sport, Custom, STX, Splash, XL, XLT, EDGE, FX4 and Tremor.
Ranger lives on in overseas markets, where a new, redesigned one was recently introduced.