1986 Ford Ranger - Pushin' Pebbles

Flat On The Tarmac

Mike Finnegan
Oct 1, 2009
Photographers: Lance Martz
Photo 2/10   |   Owner: Chad JohnsonHometown: Moorsville, North CarolinaRide: '86 Ford RangerClub: Pebble Pushers
Where do we begin with this one? Of course we can all appreciate the stance of Chad Johnson's '86 Ford Ranger. Staring at the rockers as they squish bugs on the asphalt makes us tingly all over. You don't have to be a Ford fanatic to dig that this truck tucks the lugnuts on all four of the Niche Shock rims. The body mods are also nothing to laugh at; Chad's mini flosses a radiused hood and a cowl that has been molded to the front fenders and A-pillars. When you realize none of the front sheetmetal can ever be unbolted again, the mod becomes a bit more hard-core and not just good-looking. The standard shave and haircut is also present to back up more unique mods, such as saving the stock front bumper and welding the bolt holes shut. A Street Beat sliding ragtop has also been cut into the roof of Chad's truck, a move that lets the sunshine in with the most style possible. Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of Chad's mini is the powerplant. Very few minis are as highly modified as Chad's and flex a V-8 motor. We've seen maybe a handful of minis that are this custom and this powerful, a trend we hope will continue in the future. The 5.0L motor that was robbed out of a Mustang and backed up with a C-4 tranny puts more power than any of us deserve at Chad's disposal.
The seven years that Chad has dedicated to his favorite hobby has paid dividends because in just two years, he and his friends have built a modern mini-truck that kicks ass in every sense of the word.
Photo 3/10   |   1986 Ford Ranger hood
The Lowdown
Chassis/Suspension Str8 Twizted Customs of Kannapolis, North Carolina, laid Chad's mini flat by first installing a set of 2-inch dropped I-beams in the front suspension. Then a pair of Firestone 2500 airbags were installed in place of the stock springs and were mated to custom 'bag mounts under the framerails.
Wheels/Tires Chad chose 18x8-inch Niche Shocks to bolt onto his truck and then stuffed them inside of 215/35ZR18 ultra-skinny tires. Of course, we only get to see half of each rim, thanks to the famous Ranger tuckage.
Body Mods Chad and the guys from Str8 Twizted performed huge mods, such as a molded cowl and A-pillars and also radiused hood corners that set off the extensive shave job. The list of shaved items is long and includes the front turn signals, side markers, door handles, fuel filler door, tailgate, and taillights. If you look close enough, you'll notice the bumper bolts have been shaved and the grille shell has been outfitted with billet. The rear of the bed has been skinned with the body lines retained, and 6-inch LEDs have replaced the stock taillights.
Photo 4/10   |   1986 Ford Ranger sun Roof
Custom Paint/Graphics PPG's own mix of '00 Honda Civic SI Blue covers all of this badass Ranger.

Interior The boring and square stock dash in Chad's Ranger was removed and replaced with a dash from a '94-model truck. Also, the stock seating was upgraded to a pair of '96-model Honda Civic Del Sol bucket seats. The dash was painted to match the outside of the truck, and the seats and remaining interior parts were covered in gray tweed. A flamed steering wheel and door handles add flash to the midlevel of the cockpit, while billet window cranks add sparkle to the lower echelon.
Engine/Drivetrain Ford's venerable 5.0L motor and C-4 automatic transmission was robbed from a '90 Mustang and transplanted into Chad's Ranger. Headman headers made the installation easier, and a 3-inch Flowmaster exhaust system was fabricated afterward. The bling-bling comes from chrome Milodon valve covers and a flamed billet air cleaner. A Griffin aluminum radiator looks right at home in front of the badass small-block and does an excellent job of cooling the powerful beast.
Audio System A Kenwood head unit directs signals to a Soundstream four-channel amplifier. A pair of 12-inch subs provide the bump, while component speakers mounted in the doors reproduce the upper frequencies.
Owner's Quote "This is a project that will never be done. I'd like to thank my wife Laura, Str8 Twizted Customz, Bubba, Kenneth, Rob, and my club Pebble Pushers. PB for Life."



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