Ranger (automobile)

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Not to be confused with Ford Ranger or Edsel Ranger.
General Motors Ranger

The Ranger was a General Motors car brand which lasted from 1968 to 1978. Used in three main markets, the original automobile was marketed as "South Africa's Own Car" and was built in Port Elizabeth from 1968 to 1973. The European model range was sold in two main markets, Belgium and Switzerland. It was produced by General Motors Continental SA from 1970 to 1978 in Antwerp, Belgium. General Motors Suisse SA in Biel-Bienne, Switzerland, also produced Rangers from 1970 until that factory's closure in August 1975.[citation needed] A few Rangers were also sold in Netherlands, perhaps to overcome some lingering resistance to German brands.

The cars built in this period were a mixture of parts from other General Motors products and featured a body shell similar to the Opel Rekord with internal parts from various large Vauxhalls and Holdens, although the European Rangers had very little to differentiate them from Opels. However, as the second generation cars became even closer to models marketed by Chevrolet in South Africa and Opel in Europe, it was decided that this kind of brand was irrelevant and thus the marque was discontinued. A 1972 Belgian road test of the Ranger 2500 even begins by calling the existence of the Ranger brand hard to explain.[1] The Ranger B was only built in Antwerp, and only sold in Europe.[2]

South Africa[edit]

South Africa received the Ranger A only, introduced in the summer of 1968.[3] The South African Rangers had a stylized springbok logo. The Opel Rekord D was sold in South Africa as the Chevrolet 2500/3800/4100.

It was based on the European Opel Rekord, with a Chevrolet engine and the grille and headlights of the Vauxhall Victor. The brand was discontinued after only a few years.

Lineup[edit]

  • 1.9 L (4-cylinder engine) 4-door saloon[citation needed]
  • 2.1 L (4-cylinder engine) 2/4-door saloon
  • 2.1 L (4-cylinder engine) 3/5-door station wagon
  • 2.1 L (4-cylinder engine) 2-door coupé
  • 2.5 L (4-cylinder engine) 4-door saloon
  • 2.5 L (4-cylinder engine) 5-door station wagon
  • 2.5 L (4-cylinder engine) 2-door coupé
  • 2.5 L (4-cylinder engine) SS 153 coupé (from 1971)[3]

Europe[edit]

The existence of the Ranger brand was a result of General Motors continuing a policy of theirs in the United States, with a number of brands competing directly with each other. General Motors Continental and GM Suisse had hitherto attempted to compete with Opel in their respective markets by selling Vauxhalls, but dealers were complaining as Vauxhall products were becoming less and less competitive vis-à-vis their Opel cousins.[1] To flesh out the range and help their dealers in the marketplace, General Motors Suisse responded with the Rekord-based Ranger in February 1970.[4] Belgium received their Ranger versions in November 1970, with an additional 1700 model at the bottom of the lineup. Other alternatives had also been considered, including the Brazilian Chevrolet Opala and Australia's Holden Torana. Unlike the Chevrolet-engined South African Ranger, Belgian Rangers all received Opel engines.[1]

The Ranger A, like its South African counterpart, had a Vauxhall-style grille. Sold by dealers alongside Vauxhalls, the lineup was carefully limited so as not to compete directly with Vauxhall's four-door only Victor, and thus the smaller-engined Ranger As were usually only available as two-doors. At Geneva 1971, General Motors Continental and General Motors Suisse presented the new Ranger B alongside its Opel Rekord D twin. Aside from some minor trim differences, including twin headlights and a grille with a crossbar, as well as different taillights and a rear license plate mounted higher than on the Rekord. The Ranger B used a "humped" bonnet, similar to but different from the one used on Rekord D diesels. In early 1974, the twin-carb 2500 GTS was replaced by the 140 PS (103 kW) 2800 GTS, only available as a coupé.[5]

The Swiss plant received most of its parts from Germany, utilizing up to 15 percent local material (tires, upholstery, glass, etcetera) to save on import tariffs. Some parts were brought in from England and South Africa as well, however.[6] As Swiss wages increased the plant, with its small numbers, became unprofitable and it was closed in the middle of 1975.[7] The Belgian Rangers continued to be available, in an ever-shrinking lineup, until 1978 when the new Opel Rekord (E) appeared.[8]

Belgian lineup[edit]

Ranger A (1970-1972)[9]
  • 1.7 L (Opel 17S CIH 4-cylinder engine) 2-door saloon
  • 1.9 L (Opel 19S CIH 4-cylinder engine) 2-door saloon
  • 1.9 L (Opel 19S CIH 4-cylinder engine) 2-door coupé
  • 2.5 L (Opel 25S CIH 6-cylinder engine) 4-door saloon
  • 2.5 L (Opel 25S CIH 6-cylinder engine) 2-door coupé
  • 2.5 L (Opel 25H CIH 6-cylinder engine) 2-door coupé (twin carburetors)
Ranger B, marketed as Ranger II (1972-1978)
  • 1.7 L (Opel 17S CIH 4-cylinder engine, regular petrol) 2-door saloon (1972-1976)
  • 1.7 L (Opel 17S CIH 4-cylinder engine, super petrol) 2-door saloon (1972-1976)
  • 1.7 L (Opel 17S CIH 4-cylinder engine, super petrol) 2-door coupé (1972-1976)
  • 1.9 L (Opel 19S CIH 4-cylinder engine, normal petrol) 2-door saloon (1976-1978)
  • 1.9 L (Opel 19S CIH 4-cylinder engine, normal petrol) 2-door coupé (1976-1978)
  • 1.9 L (Opel 19S CIH 4-cylinder engine, super petrol) 2-door saloon (1972-1978)
  • 1.9 L (Opel 19S CIH 4-cylinder engine, super petrol) 2-door coupé (1972-1978)
  • 2.5 L (Opel 25S CIH 6-cylinder engine) 4-door saloon (1972-1977)
  • 2.5 L (Opel 25S CIH 6-cylinder engine) 2-door coupé (twin carburettors)
  • 2.8 L (Opel 28HL CIH 6-cylinder engine) 2-door coupé GTS(1974-197?)

Swiss lineup[edit]

Ranger A (1970-1972)[3]
  • 1.9 L (Opel 19S CIH 4-cylinder engine) 2-door saloon
  • 1.9 L (Opel 19S CIH 4-cylinder engine) 2-door coupé
  • 2.5 L (Opel 25S CIH 6-cylinder engine) 4-door saloon
  • 2.5 L (Opel 25S CIH 6-cylinder engine) 2-door coupé
  • 2.5 L (Opel 25H CIH 6-cylinder engine) 2-door coupé (twin carburetors)
Ranger B (1972-1975)
  • 1.9 L (Opel 19S CIH 4-cylinder engine) 2-door saloon
  • 1.9 L (Opel 19S CIH 4-cylinder engine) 4-door saloon[citation needed]
  • 1.9 L (Opel 19S CIH 4-cylinder engine) 2-door coupé
  • 2.5 L (Opel 25S CIH 6-cylinder engine) 4-door saloon
  • 2.5 L (Opel 25H CIH 6-cylinder engine) 2-door coupé (twin carburettors)
  • 2.8 L (Opel 28H CIH 6-cylinder engine) 2-door coupé GTS (twin carburettors, from 1974)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Toussaint, Philippe (1972-08-10). "Ranger 2500 (Opel Commodore): Classique, mais volontaire" [Classic, but willful]. Sport Moteur (in French) (Brussels) 10 (297): 14. 
  2. ^ Braunschweig, Robert; et al, eds. (March 14, 1974). Automobil Revue '74 (in German/French) 69. Berne, Switzerland: Hallwag AG. p. 452. ISBN 3-444-660-15-1 Check |isbn= value (help). 
  3. ^ a b c Braunschweig, Robert; et al, eds. (March 11, 1971). Automobil Revue '71 (in German/French) 66. Berne, Switzerland: Hallwag SA. pp. 465–466. 
  4. ^ Automobil Revue '71, pp. 467-468
  5. ^ Automobil Revue '74, p. 453
  6. ^ Braunschweig, Robert; et al, eds. (March 12, 1970). Automobil Revue '70 (in German/French) 65. Berne, Switzerland: Hallwag AG. p. 53. 
  7. ^ Bloomfield, Gerald (1978). The World Automotive Industry. Problems in Modern Geography. Newton Abbot, Devon, UK: David & Charles. p. 201. ISBN 0-7153-7539-3. 
  8. ^ Le Moniteur de l'Automobile (in French) (Brussels, Belgium: Editions Auto-Magazine) 34 (784): 59. 1983-12-15. 
  9. ^ Automobil Revue '71, pp. 466-467
  • Georgano, G.N., Editor (1985). The Complete Encyclopedia of Motorcars 1885 to the present. Guild Publishing.  pp. 512.

External links[edit]

Advertisement for Ranger 1970