As a vehicle in its own right, there’s some evidence to suggest that the new Ford Ranger, especially in V6 turbodiesel form, actually moves the four-wheel-drive, double-cab game along its evolutionary path.
In this, it’s significant, but if you’re of a certain age, you might also notice a few hidden little nods to Ford’s past.
In fact, there are enough reminders of Australian Ford to make us think that perhaps the designers were quite proud that the design was Australian.
Some of the retro references are pretty obvious, some not so much, and one last one we’ll add is really speculative on our part, but if you’re old enough to remember Bathurst in black and white, the Ranger’s little retro easter eggs might bring a smile to your face.
What CarsGuide Contributor Byron Mathioudakis saw correctly on his first taster of the new Ranger, the interior door handles are very reminiscent of an XY Falcon-era Australian Ford (early 1970s).
The lever located behind the armrest is not only a nod to those beloved Ford models, but also a pretty effective move from an ergonomic point of view. The best of both worlds.
The new Ranger’s temperature gauge, something you’d normally only look at if it suggested the engine was too hot, is another source of retro feel.
The vertical design of the gauge suggests earlier Fords, such as late-model Escorts and Cortinas, but there’s also a visual link to earlier F150 trucks.
Even the gauge needle with its stepped tip reminds us of the pinched needle tips on the Aussie XC Falcon.
Now take a look at the interior air vents.
The geometric array of the vents reminds veterans of the similar honeycomb-style rear garnish on the rear of an XA or XB GT Falcon hardtop.
The pattern isn’t identical, but it’s close enough to remind this madman of a model that’s still a really nice Ford.
Going back to America, the horizontal grille bar that bisects the headlights is very reminiscent of the indicator lights on the original Ford Bronco; a signal that has also been followed in the new Bronco.
In fact, the Ranger’s entire front end treatment suggests Ford’s legendary Louisville series of full-size trucks, and that’s probably no accident.
And finally, a rather ambiguous one: To most people, the embossed diamond pattern on the Ranger’s door trim probably suggests the grille pattern of a Falcon FG.
But if you look back, the pattern is nearly identical to what appeared on the running boards of the iconic Model T, a car now over a century old.
Yes, it’s a long shot, but for those who love their Fords, the jump into a feel-good space won’t be too big. And that’s exactly how Ford wants us to feel.
Playing the retro card is often an admission by the manufacturer that the actual product is less than stellar and needs a helping hand to open our hearts and wallets.
But in the case of the new Ranger, the little retro touches are just charming little additions to a vehicle that probably didn’t need them. Which of course makes them even more wonderful.
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