The 2.3L Lima engine is a derivative of the old Pinto engine, its an overhead cam motor which has its design roots back in the days of the German built Capri.
The 2.3L HSC is a newer design pushrod motor which does share a few parts with both the 5.8L V8 and a few design ques from the 4.9L straight 6 in the full size trucks. It was a good reliable motor mechanically, and later versions which used SFI pretty much answered any of the reliability issues. Most of it's problems were servicability related due to the front wheel drive configuration in that car. The 2.3L was indeed used in a rear wheel drive application in the very early Aerostar vans, (1985-87), which I suppose if you found one and used it's transmission, it could be made to work in a Ranger.
The later 2.5L HSC was also the same base engine with a slight increase in displacement.
I have heard of Mustangs as well that had the 2.3L HSC back then, but have not yet ran across one here. It may have only been done with certain export models or as a limited production experiment. Some early parts books listed it as an option but like I said, I've never laid eyes on one personally.
Fit is a relative term, you can put any engine in any car if you care to do the work and of course can cut and weld. Its all a matter of what you think 'fits'.