In 1961, the Japanese automaker Mazda introduced a pickup truck called the Mazda B-Series. The compact pickup trucks introduced by Mazda bear the Proceed name, while the larger series of trucks is known as Mazda Titan. The B-Series was sold under different names in different markets such as in Australia it was marketed as Mazda Bravo; in New Zealand as Mazda Bounty; Mazda Magnum/Thunder/ Fighter names used in Thailand; and in South Africa it was known as Mazda Drifter.
Ford also sold a badge-engineered version of B-Series as Ford Courier and in later years as Ford Ranger under the joint venture between Mazda and Ford. It is worth noting that the versions of B-Series and Ranger marketed in North America are not related to ones sold in other markets. North American versions are built by Ford, while the models offered in other markets are supplied by Mazda.
First Generation (1961–1965)
In August 1961, Mazda launched the B-Series bonnet truck under the B1500 name, where 1500 refers to the engine displacement. It was launched with a payload of one ton. The successor of B1500, the BUD61launched in the Japanese domestic market under ‘Proceed’ name. The engine was a 1484 cc OHV water-cooled type equipped with wet sleeve cylinders producing 59 hp (44 kW). As for suspension, it used the torsion bar at front while the rear received leaf spring suspension.
This truck paved the way for many modern day trucks.
Second Generation (1965–1971)
The second generation B-Series truck was launched in 1965 as B1500/Proceed with a chassis code of BUD61. It also used the similar 1484 cc OHV I4 engine but with slight modifications in the cylinder head and valves. The previously used sidedraft unit was replaced by the downdraft carburetor. These modifications boosted the engine power to 73 hp (54 kW). This generation model also featured four headlights. It was discontinued in 1971 when a similar looking B1600 replaced it.
Third Generation (1971–1979)
In 1972, the third generation B-Series was launched as B1600. A rotary-powered Rotary Pickup added in the lineup in 1974. The second generation was initially launched with a 1.6-L engine which was later upgraded to 1.8-L engine in 1975 for the B1800. In Japanese market, it was available as Proceed, but it was also marketed by Ford as Ford Courier.
Three different engine options were there: the models produced between 1972 and 1976 came with 1.6-L (1,586 cc) NA I4; a 1.8-L (1,796 cc) VB I4 engine was used in the models from 1975 to 1979; and 1.3-L (654 cc x 2) 13B was available in models between 1974 to 1977.
Fourth Generation (1978–1985)
The fourth generation B-Series B2000 was launched in 1978 in Japanese market, while it was introduced in United States in 1980. It was powered by a 2.0-L F/MA engine. Later in 1982, the 2.2-L diesel engine was released with the launch of B2200.
A long bed version of B2000 was also introduced under the Sundowner nameplate. The name ‘Sundowner’ was derived from the history of nomadic Australian herders who supposed to install camps at the place where they were at the time of sundown.
A compact pickup version, the Courier was offered in New Zealand and Australia (1979) and was assembled in Japan by Mazda for Ford.
Fifth Generation (1985–1998)
The fifth generation B-Series appeared in 1985 and remained in production up till 1998. It was available with standard 4-speed automatic transmission, while a 5-speed manual transmission was made available in 1989. Mazda also offered a part-time all-wheel drive as an option for this generation. In 1986, Mazda introduced a 2.6-L Mitsubishi-powered B2600 variant which was later substituted with the new Mazda powerplants in 1988. Mazda also introduced the SUV/RV variants under Proceed Marvie name in 1991, also marketed as Ford Raider in Australian and New Zealand market.
Sixth Generation (1998–2006)
The sixth and the last generation of B-Series truck appear in 1998. It was redesigned for export markets. The sixth generation B-Series also assembled in Thailand where production started in May 1998 at the AutoAlliance plant. In Europe and Asia, it was also marketed as Ford Ranger, while in Australia and New Zealand, it was also offered as Ford Courier. It was also assembled in Philippines. Its CKD variants are manufactured in Ecuador and South Africa as well.