1998 Ford Ranger - Long Overdue
Ronnie's Rowdy Ranger
Ronnie Ambrun wanted to build a truck that laid low and turned heads. However, it took him a long time to get there. He started in the sport of building custom trucks five years ago, which is about how long it took him to build up his '98 Ford Ranger. That explains the moniker he's given to his ride, Long Overdue. And with a cost of $17,000 for the aftermarket upgrades, let's hope he doesn't also call it Long Overdrawn. It's certainly not overdone. In fact, it has a good spread of mods from outside to inside to underneath. Let's take a closer look.
Turning on the X-ray vision revealed that the work started from the frame, which was painted and augmented with necessities, such as a bridge notch and airbags. If you toss in a 4-1/2-inch body-drop, all in all, the truck lays about 14 inches from stock, while resting its full weight squarely and firmly on the asphalt. American Racing wheels roll on all four corners of the pickup. Measuring 18x7 inches, these wheels are wrapped in low-profile Nankang Ultra Sport NS-II tires. Billy Ward of Graham, North Carolina, did the work on the suspension and body- drop, while Godfather Customs set up the four-link.
Under the hood, a mildly upgraded four-banger breathes through a powdercoated, cold-air intake and blows out a 2-inch Flowmaster exhaust. The intake is colored to match the candy-red valve cover, and the throttle-body has been polished to a pleasing shine. You might have noticed that there is no longer a battery under the hood, since it has been moved to the cab. Danny Scot in Eden, North Carolina, handled these engine mods.
Vermillion Red and Gunmetal Gray dominate the truck's two-tone paint-scheme, and are split by a lightning-like tribal, in Orion Silver. A '99 chrome Ranger bumper and a roll pan bookend the pickup, while counting between them such upgrades as diamond-back headlamps and carbon-fiber euro-style taillights, horizontal-slat grille inserts, and shaved gas door, cowl, mudflap mounting holes, cargo lamp, tailgate handle, and bed-stake holes. Beneath the Checkmate tonneau, you'll find the compressor and air tanks bolted to the front of the cargo bed that had been sprayed with red bedliner, to match the body and gray carpet. You'll notice the recess for the license plate in the tailgate. Ken Surmon in Thomasville, North Carolina, laid on the paint pigments.
A clean tweed job in red and gray sets the tone for the interior of the Ranger. Everything had been touched, from the gray-tweed seats (sans headrests) with red inserts and equally treated dash and gray- tweed headliner, the 14-inch BAD Gunslinger steering wheel, to the red, fiberglass center console, which was adorned with twin levers that control the suspension. Overall, it's a sleek presentation, Ronnie and Bobby Campbell on the interior, aside from William Chilton, who built the fiberglass components.
Ron discovered that customizing can cause mishaps that result in more than busted knuckles-he whacked himself in the face when pulling off his steering wheel! The result, though, is a good story and a truck that he's proud of. Also, the truck plugged him into a community of enthusiasts, specifically his friends at AcrophobiA, who he considers as his second family. And then there is his real family: his wife and his parents, plus John Jackson, and William Chilton, all of whom he thanks for their help and support in building this Long Overdue Ranger. Aptly named, as it's a clean mini that we would have preferred to see sooner rather than later.