In the early 80’s Ford was going to put the 2.3L Turbo engine from the Thunderbird Turbo Coupe into a regular cab short bed Ranger. I was working at Roush Industries at the time and was assigned to this program. We had a half dozen development trucks and we were progressing through the testing required to put this into production.
It was scheduled for the 1985 model year. Since the Ranger was several hundred pounds lighter than the Thunderbird, these trucks were a riot to drive! And our development trucks had no indication that they were anything other than stock 4 banger trucks. They just hauled!
There was a new test under development at the time. Ford called it snow packing. If one were to drive in a severe blizzard the engine compartment could get filled with snow and cause problems. So Ford was developing a test to objectively determine how a vehicle would perform in those conditions.
Snow packing as you put it was a big problem on my 89 Ranger, when going though drifts it would pack the engine compartment so full it would push the hood up. I fixed this buy making a plastic a skid plate from the front bumper to the sway bar mounts and have it stick back almost to the front axle, it completely eliminated any snow pushing up into the engine compartment and it also now goes over instead of though drifts.
Why couldn't we have had the 2.3 turbo Ranger instead of the anemic 2.9 V-6 "Ranger GT" of the same time period?..........or better yet a real Ranger GT with the same drivetrain of the 5.0 Mustang GT?
Why not, Mopar was stuffing 318s and 360s in Dakotas.