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Mazda B-Series

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A series of compact pickup trucks produced by Mazda.  The trucks' names are a B followed by a four-digit number.  The first two numbers are determined by engine displacement, the second two are zeroes.  The truck line is collectively referred to as "B-Series."

The second through fifth generations of the B-Series are essentially rebadged Ford Couriers or Ford Rangers with occasional trim changes.

Specific B-Series models include the B1500, B2300, B2500, B2600, and B4000.

Awards and acknowledgements include:
A Value Car Book 2000 (by Jack Gillis) Best Bet in the Compact PU category.


History

The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's Mazda B-Series page on 18 October 2017, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

The Mazda B-Series is a pickup truck that was first manufactured in 1961 by Mazda. Since the launch of the B-Series, Mazda has used the engine displacement to determine each model's name; the B1500 had a 1.5 L engine and the B2600 had a 2.6 L engine. In Japan, the name Mazda Proceed was used for the compact pickup. Other names used for this line include Mazda Bravo (Australia), Mazda Bounty (New Zealand), Mazda Magnum/Thunder/Fighter (Thailand), and Mazda Drifter (South Africa).

Mazda's partnership with Ford resulted in both companies selling this vehicle under different names; Ford called its version the Ford Courier, and later the Ford Ranger. The Mazda B-Series and Ford Ranger models sold in North America were developed by Ford, whereas models sold elsewhere under the same badge were engineered by Mazda.

First generation (1961–1965)

The Mazda B-Series pickup truck was introduced in Japan in August 1961 as the B1500 (BUA61). This model was the only Japanese market model to be badged under the B-Series naming scheme, i.e. B1500. The BUD61 (second generation) that followed was the first model of the long-running "Proceed" series sold in Japan. It had a 1,484 cc OHV water-cooled engine with wet sleeve cylinders which produced 44 kW (59 hp; 60 PS), and a one-ton payload. This model also had a torsion bar front/leaf spring rear suspension, which was advanced for its time, giving it a relatively smooth ride. The B1500 was remodeled between late 1962 and September 1963; it received a new chassis code, BUB61. The BUB61 was more spacious; its cabin was extended by 80 mm (3.1 in) and it had a stretched body and wheelbase. The BUB61 had a new, upside-down, trapezoidal grille instead of the earlier full-width unit, with thirteen bars rather than nine, turn signals on the fenders, and more chrome trim—including a decor strip on the side.

In addition to the standard two-door "styleside" pickup truck body, a double-cab truck and a similar double-cab version called the "pickup", which had a fully integrated coupé utility body rather than the separate bed of the truck versions were produced. The "pickup" model was based on the light van; it had a two-door van model with a fold-down tailgate and an electrically powered window, which was rare in the Japanese market at the time. The light van (BUAVD) was introduced in September 1962, and two double-cab models followed shortly after. These three models were built on the shorter wheelbase chassis; when the longer chassis was introduced it was not deemed worthwhile to create new bodywork. These models were produced for only a few months. The B1500 was sleeker and considerably more powerful than its competitors in the Japanese market, but it was considerably more expensive and it failed to sell in the expected quantities.

Second generation (1965–1977)

The 1966 B1500/Proceed presented in October 1965 used the same 1,484 cc OHV I4 engine as its predecessor, with minor changes to the cylinder head and valves and the use of a downdraft carburetor instead of the sidedraft unit used on the models sold between 1961 and 1965. The UA engine now produced 53 kW (71 hp; 72 PS) at 5200 rpm. The chassis was now called the "BUD61"; it was longer than its predecessor and received new bodywork of a squarer design, and four headlights. In January 1971, a 1600 cc model with the chassis code BNA61 was introduced. This had 70 kW (94 hp; 95 PS) SAE in global markets; US brochures did not specify its power output and European importers claimed 55 kW (74 hp; 75 PS) DIN. In Japan, a minimum 74 kW (99 hp; 101 PS) (SAE gross) was claimed; the model was advertised in Japan as the "GT-Truck".

In March 1972, the Proceed 1300, with a smaller 1.3-liter engine, was released and remained available in Japan until 1975. It had 64 kW (86 hp; 87 PS) in SAE gross but was advertised as a GT-truck. The B1500 was the first Japanese pickup truck to be assembled in New Zealand from CKD kits. Assembly started in 1967 at Steel's Motor Assemblies, which also built the Toyota Corona and later became Toyota New Zealand's Christchurch plant after a government order for 672 units. The model remained in local assembly at various plants for several generations.

The B-Series was introduced to the United States with the 1972 B1600. In 1974, the similar rotary-powered Rotary Pickup was released in the US. The engine was enlarged to 1.8-liters for 1975's B1800, a model that had been available to Canadian customers since around 1970. It was known in the Japanese market as the "Proceed", where it was also sold as the Ford Courier. Its strong sales in the US market—mostly with Ford badging—relieved Mazda's pressing cash flow troubles in the period following the 1970s energy crisis.

Third generation (PE/UC/UD; 1977–1985)

The model's third generation was introduced in April 1977 as the PE chassis for the Proceed 1600. The Japanese model had a claimed 71 kW (95 hp; 97 PS) and a top speed of 140 km/h (87 mph). The new model was more comfortable than the previous; it had a woodgrain dashboard and other luxuries. Outside Japan it was sold as the B1600 and later as the B1800, which was originally sold only in North America. In the US for the 1980 model year, it was sold as the B2000, which used a 2.0-liter F/MA engine, replacing the B1800. The diesel 2.2-liter B2200 was sold from 1981 with the chassis code UD. In the US, the 1984 B2000 continued to be sold through 1985; the next generation only appeared as a "1986". The 2.0-liter version was called PE2M6/M7 until 1981—"6" for the short wheelbase, "7" for the long bed—after which it had the chassis code UC. In Japan, this truck was discontinued in October 1979 because commercial customers preferred vans over the less space-efficient, bonneted trucks.

The B2000 was also available in a long-bed version with a longer wheelbase and rear overhang, which was given the model name Sundowner in some markets—a reference to nomadic Australian herders who would make camp wherever they were at sundown. The regular model code UC11 was changed to UC21 when it was fitted with a long bed. The chassis coding system used for the US market in 1981 when a standardized VIN code was introduced. This change led to a second coding system, complicating the identification and grouping of these trucks. The B-Series was redesigned for 1983 and was replaced in January 1985. By this time, 1.8 million Mazda B-series trucks had been built since 1961.

In Australia and New Zealand, the Courier was a compact pick-up built for Ford by Mazda in Japan. It was first offered on the Australian market in 1979. Both Mazda and Ford versions for New Zealand were assembled locally. Gulf Auto Restorations in New Zealand also built a run of double-cab Ford Couriers in 1979, long before Mazda themselves developed such a model.

Fourth generation (UF; 1985–1998)

A new Proceed/B-Series (UF) was introduced in January 1985; it was produced until June 1999. A five-speed manual transmission was the primary choice in most markets, with options of a four-speed automatic transmission option and part-time four wheel drive. The 2.6-liter, Mitsubishi-powered B2600 was introduced in 1986. 1987 saw the Mazda inline-four engine enlarged to 2.2-liters in the B2200; the smaller engine was phased out of the North American markets after that year. In 1988, the Mitsubishi engine was replaced with a new family of Mazda powerplants. This generation also returned to the Japanese market as the "Proceed", where it was marketed mostly as a "lifestyle" truck.

From 1991, an SUV/RV version of this generation was manufactured and sold as the Proceed Marvie; this was sold as the Ford Raider in Australia. The Proceed Marvie had a UV chassis code. A similar version of the vehicle was developed in Thailand, where it was sold as a version of the Mazda B-series. In 1988, the larger Mitsubishi carbureted engine was replaced with Mazda's more powerful, 2.6-liter, four-cylinder, fuel-injected engine. The new model was named B2600i—"i" for injection. Both Mazda B-series and the Ford Courier versions were assembled from CKD kits in New Zealand. The New Zealand lineup started with the 2.2 diesel with 47 kW (64 PS), with the petrol 2.2 offering 77 kW (105 PS) and the fuel injected 2.6 92 kW (125 PS).

In South Africa, South African Motor Corporation (SAMCOR)—now Ford SA—fitted the B-Series with the 3.0- and later the 3.4-liter Ford Essex V6 as a range-topping engine option. The Essex engine was produced at Ford's Struandale engine plant in Port Elizabeth. In Zimbabwe, the B-series was assembled at the Willowvale Mazda Motor Industry plant in Willowvale, Harare where it was fitted with the 1.6 and 1.8-liter engines.

Fifth generation (UN; 1998–2006)

In the 1998 model year, Mazda renewed its B-Series for international markets. Production at the AutoAlliance Thailand plant began in May 1998. It has the chassis code "UN". This model was also sold as the Ford Ranger in Europe and Asia and as the Ford Courier in Australia and New Zealand. Production also began that year at the Ford Motor Company Philippines plant. CKD versions were also assembled in South Africa and Ecuador.

The truck was sold in more than 130 countries under a variety of names. It was called the Fighter and Ranger in Southeast Asia—except in Singapore where it was called the Proceed—the Mazda Bounty and Ford Courier in New Zealand, the Mazda Bravo in Australia, and the Mazda Drifter in South Africa. The B2600/B2200s sold in Venezuela and nearby Latin American countries were assembled in Colombia by Compañía Colombiana Automotriz S.A. (CCA). They had a 2.6-liter inline-four engine, four-wheel-drive model and an entry level model with a 2.2-liter inline-four with rear-wheel-drive. In 2002, a "Freestyle" model with rear suicide doors became available on this platform. The rest of the range was revised in 2002 and 2004. These models are unrelated to the Mazda B-series and Ford Ranger models in North America.


Documents

DateDocument Name & DetailsDocuments
November 1998Remote, Redesigned Air Bag Special Study
1998 Mazda pickup
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

PDF
- 409KB - 9 pages


Article Index

DateArticleAuthor/Source
5 November 2012From The Volkswagen Amarok To Mazda B Series - How You Can Get The Latest Pickup Truck RegularlyMack Goodwin
9 April 2013Dream Cars: Mazda BX-7Bill Crittenden




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