Further testament to Ford's desire for improved fuel efficiency appeared in 1984 when the Ranger-based Bronco II sport-utility vehicle was added to the lineup. Both the Ranger and Bronco II carried styling cues that linked them to their F-Series and Bronco big brothers, which was probably both helpful and intentional.
Another bit of noteworthy news for 1984 came not in the form of a change or addition, but of a loss. The Ford F-100, a model name that had been around since 1953, was discontinued (as was the E-100 van), probably because its gross vehicle weight (GVW) fell below the threshold that would have allowed it to get by on the less-stringent emission standards that applied to heavier-duty trucks.
But this was more of a historical loss than a sales one, as the slightly beefier F-150, which had been introduced in 1975, absorbed those buyers -- as evidenced by the fact it would soon become the nation's best-selling full-size pickup, and soon after the best-selling vehicle of any type.
Ford entered the compact-SUV arena with the 1984 Bronco II. Introduced early in the 1983 calendar year, it closely followed the Chevrolet S-10 Blazer and GMC Jimmy to market in what was essentially a new segment -- and was closely followed by the Jeep Cherokee. All were designed in response to the 1979 gas crisis, which is why these direct competitors went on sale at about the same time.
Bronco II was based on the compact Ranger pickup, introduced the previous year. All models came with four-wheel drive and a 2.8-liter (171-cubic inch) V-6. Compared to its big Bronco brother, the Bronco II was shorter by 10 inches in wheelbase and 19 inches in overall length, and -- most significantly -- lighter by more than 800 lbs. A sporty XLS package added tri-color tape stripes and wheelwell "spats."
After siring its SUV stablemate, Ranger was given a rest for 1984, and saw no significant changes. Note the similarities between the Ranger and Bronco II, particularly from the cab forward.
This alternate look at a 1984 XLS Ford Ranger reveals its similarities to the previous model year.
The full-size Bronco remained in a rut, as it once again didn't see any significant changes -- and hadn't since 1980. It retained its removable rear roof section, which allowed the back seat and cargo area to be uncovered.
Because the Ford F-100's GVW rating put it below the threshold that allowed heavier pickups to get by with meeting "looser" truck emission standards, the model was unceremoniously dropped for 1984 -- after 30 years on the market. With that, the F-150 became Ford's base full-size pickup truck. Options included Explorer special-value packages that provided numerous uplevel features at a discounted price.
Ford debuted the fuel-injected truck engine in 1985. Find out how on the next page.
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