A Detail For Sunday: 2017 Ford Ranger

Have you noticed the overuse of the word “professional”? 

2017 Ford Ranger

It’s applied to high-spec products where there is little obvious reason why a “professional” might want or need anything different than everyone else. Apple sell a tablet labelled “Pro”. We have one at home. It works like my ‘phone except it can’t make calls. Chevrolet or GMC trucks may presently 

Screen shot: Ford Denmark

or have once advertised themselves as “professional grade”. Alarm bells ring when I see the word. And they ring loudly when they are attached to lifestyle products. The reason I’m suspicious is because I expect a professional anything to be deadly serious. There should be no frills.

A white van with black bumpers and a wrecked, trash-covered dashboard is my idea of a professional utility vehicle. The 406 I drive is professional: the car works well and satisfies the need for physical comfort and no more. A vise-grips wrench is professional. It turns bolts and doesn’t break. So, where does this Ranger come in to the picture?

Vintage US styling and Japanese text – founded in the UK in 1985.

The offending word appears nowhere on the vehicle yet a careful examination of the bumper and bonnet suggests that it appeals to owners to whom the word “Professional” has a certain attraction. The vehicle’s styling is as convincing as the word “authentic” on a t-shirt (So-Cal Beach Sports Apparel – Authentic – Since 1958).

For a period utility trucks appealed to people who weren’t tradesmen. The robust or crude finish suggested authenticity in a way Land Rover Defenders once did: “This vehicle is so rough I can only be driving it because I have to”.

Exactly when manufacturers noticed non-tradesmen wanted their utility vehicles the game was up for utility vehicles and we have this item with its fragile multi-part bumper with a plastic faux guard plate. The bumper has a painted bumper carved into too – that’s the metallic grey shape under the grille.

On the bonnet we have a puzzle for students of Akner-Koler.

If we assume the primary surface is the simplest arc across the bonnet then which is the secondary? There appears to be a bulge with a bulge on it  which is also emphasised by cuts into the … sorry. A verbal analysis would be as confusing as the three-dimensional solipsism shown above. The gist of this is that the Ranger has been styled to look functional and tough instead of being actually functional and tough. That means it is “Professional!” rather than professional.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

5 thoughts on “A Detail For Sunday: 2017 Ford Ranger”

  1. Are all these black plastic bulges because bull bars — which said “I’m a pro” — are now banned?

  2. Tough, perhaps. Professional, no.

    Intimidating is more like it. There are many intimidating and would-be intimidating vehicles on US roads.

    1. And in Europe too.
      Who hasn’t been tailgated by an X-3 in the outside lane in Britain while doing an already illegal 85-ish to mop up all those middle-laners at 67 (indicated 72 I suppose)?

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