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Custom Ford Ranger Truck - Hard-Chargin' Ranger

A Supercharged Ford With An Attitude

Harley Camilleri
Oct 1, 2004
Photographers: Sean P. Holman
Photo 2/2   |   custom Ford Ranger side View
When a manufacturer doesn't make something you want, you have to make it yourself. In the case of a truck, that may sound like an extremely daunting task to accomplish. Well, that all depends on what you are trying to complete. In the case of our blue steed here, it was a simple matter of making a mini out of a fullsize.
Jonathan Garcia of Cerritos, California, decided Ford left a hole in the Ranger line by not creating a downsized Lightning. If you are familiar with the Ford truck lineup, then you know the factory-lowered Lightning's main attribute is its killer supercharged motor pushing some serious ponies. So how about the mini version? It started with a trip to Explorer Express in Richmond, California.
Explorer Express is the manufacturer of the kit that propels Ford's 4.0L V-6 to new levels of power. An Eaton Roots-type blower sits squarely on top of the intake to shove an additional 6 psi of atmosphere down all six cylinders. Attached to the side of the huffer is one of Explorer Express' high-flow intakes. Minus any other performance modifications, the X-Charger is good for 75 additional horsepower at the rear wheels. Moving all compressed gas away from the heated cylinders is the duty of a 2-1/2-inch Bassani stainless after-cat exhaust. When this pony is sitting still, you can catch a glimpse of the dual-tipped exhaust exiting just in front of the rear wheel on the passenger side.
The Lightning F-150 has some stylish body reworking from the manufacturer, and we like how tastefully Jonathan applied the theme to his chariot. Beginning with the bug-catching side, a custom lower valance was bolted into place beneath the front bumper. Helping to light the twisty canyon roads are PIAA driving lights. FMS Automotive supplied the stainless mesh inserts in both the main grille and lower valance. Widening up the look of this Ranger are front and rear fender flares, as well as a body kit applied under the doors and bed. Bringing up the rear is dutifully handled by a one-off roll pan that replaces the bulky factory tailgater repeller. For added measure, a SnugTop tonneau encloses the bed. The only thing anyone is going to see if they mess with this Ranger are the carbon-look APC taillights.
Sticking all that power to the ground takes a few tricks in the wheel and suspension department. FMS Automotive was once again called upon to deliver the goods. Eibach precision coils were placed between the front control arms. Keeping the bumps under control at speed are Belltech nitrogen-filled dampers. For impressive handling, a Western Chassis shackle kit lowers the rear, while Belltech fills shock duties at the rear as well.
With all this suspension, it takes a special set of wheels and tires to handle the cornering loads created. Putting rubber to the road are P255/40R19 Yokohama AVS Sport front tires and P285/40R19 rears. All that rubber is holding air around a set of special-order Japanese race wheels. Performance Dealer Options ordered up some 19-inch Professor SP1 Speed Star Racing wheels for Jonathan. The wheels measure 19x9 inches in front, and the 19x10-inch rears are colored in what's known as Ebony Silver. They definitely lend a racing look to this mini marvel.
Factory outerwear was forgone for some custom coloring. Kelly & Son of Bellflower, California, mixed up some PPG products to layer the mini Lightning in some bright hues. Covering the entire body is a medium-blue paint with tribal-style graphics in white, gray, and light-blue. The scheme gives the truck the appearance of flying even while standing still. Internally, the supercharged Ranger sports a leather seat upgrade thanks to Elite Automotive Interiors of Corona, California. Elite mixed some black over gray to tie into the factory interior. Black leather was added to the door panels as well. Also on the door panels are some black-marble effects on the plastic. A coating process known as hydrofilm was taken care of by Forrest Automotive in Elkhart, Indiana. Clean and simple is the name of the game here.
With the help of some qualified aftermarket suppliers, Jonathan was able to fulfill his goal of producing a mini Lightning. In the case of this blown Ranger, a ride into the sunset is just the ticket for our faithful hero.
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