2002 Ford Ranger - Rocker-Wreckin' Ranger
Draggin' Body & Turnin' Heads
Surfing the pavement in a rocker-laying show truck takes skill and touch. Simply hammering on the switches and laying the frame down on Mother Earth while cruising at freeway speeds is not as easy as it sounds. Carl Arft of Imlay City, Michigan, has the art of road surfing down pat with his tube chassis-equipped, body-dropped '02 Ford Ranger. Not only can Carl's truck drag with the best of them, but it's also a phenomenal show truck under the hood, between the doors, and especially inside the bed. We say bed, but Carl's hollowed-out Ranger box is full of custom tube work that's drenched in bright-red powdercoating and surrounded by chromed and polished suspension goods. In short, there is no bed floor in this Blue Oval mini: The bulkhead, bedsides, and tailgate simply provide the sheetmetal walls that surround the triple-sick chassis fabrication and detail work. Of course, the shaved and bright-red-liquid-smothered exterior doesn't hurt either, but we'll get to that.
To get the project rolling on a lower level, Carl drove the truck into his shop, PMA Motorsports, in Imlay City and pulled the front clip, bed, and cab off the frame to perform the chassis work. Carl runs PMA alongside his father, Paul Arft. The father-and-son team spends their 9-5 doing suspension work, body drops, and custom bodywork. Needless to say, Carl and Paul had no problem slicing into the Ranger with a vengeance and going sick with the welder to create the full-throttle, crazy chassis. The rear framerails, from the cab back, were whacked, and 1-3/4-inch round tubing was assembled and fabricated into one of the trickest back halves around. A PMA custom, triangulated four-link keeps the rearend in check, while Air Lift Extreme sleeve airbags and Rancho 9000 shocks provide ride control and maximum slam effects. Under the Blue Oval's nose lies a Checkered Racing Mustang II front clip laid flat out on the tarmac courtesy of Air Lift Extreme 2B6 air bellows. Getting air to and from the Air Lift 'bags are eight 1/2-inch SMC valves fed oxygen by two chromed Air Lift 450 compressors. Reserve air is hidden in two 5-gallon Air Lift tanks to keep plenty of body-dragging ammo on tap for Carl's switch-thrashing sessions. Air flows to the 'bags through polished 1/2-inch hard line from Exotic Automation. To get the truck's rocker panels level with the Michigan asphalt, Carl and Paul body dropped the domestic mini 2-1/2 inches and capped off the maximum slam with 18x7-inch Intro Twisted Vista billets mounted on Kumho P225/40ZR18 rubber. To increase drivability and to bring the street rod-styled billets and low-pro skins to a halt, Wilwood disc brakes were planted at all four corners.
With the suspension complete, Carl and Paul dove head first into the bodywork. Gone from the factory metal skin are the door handles, tailgate handle, emblems, stake pocket openings, cab seams, and third brake light. The cowl panel was shaved clean to blend in with the seamless hood, and a custom roll pan was fabricated to sanitize things out back. Once the metal artwork was complete and the body was perfectly straight, Paul carted the truck over to Gentiles Collision and jumped behind the paint gun himself to lay down the DuPont Vermillion Red basecoat. Custom-airbrushed skulls, laid down by Kustom Haus, accentuate the lower lines and with the vibrant, retina-burning red paint scheme and off-the-hook stance nailed, the truck was trailered back to PMA Motorsports where Paul and Carl worked on updating the interior style.
The threads in Carl's Ranger are perhaps the mildest part of the truck's custom attitude, but sometimes less is more. A pair of '02 Dodge Neon bucket seats replaced the factory seating, and Carl and Paul built a custom center console topped in red liquid to hold two Sony Xplod 8-inch subwoofers. Powering the beat is a Sony Xplod 1,000-watt amplifier. Delivering tunes to the system is a Sony Xplod head unit while a Sony PlayStation 2 and Power Acoustics 7.2-inch LCD screen provide visual entertainment. To finish off the inside spice, a BAD billet steering wheel tops the column.
Carl and Paul Arft have crafted one smooth custom Ranger that radiates class. Carl would like to thank his father for his time and effort in creating this sensational rocker-dragger. Carl also sends a shout out to Air Lift, QC Coatings, Exotic Automation, Elite Coatings, Jas Steel, Gentiles Collision, Shelby Auto Trim, and to all his friends who helped along the way. The truck is dedicated to Carl's good friend Mark Brinker who passed away before it was completed. If you see Carl's truck at a show near you this summer, take a few pointers from Carl on how to pull trophies and shower sparks with the best of them.