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1989 Ford Ranger - Out Of Control

Riding The Downward Spiral

John Mata Jr.
Oct 28, 2013
Photographers: John Mata Jr.
Eric gave himself $8,000 to build a trustworthy ‘bagged driver out of the slowly decaying truck he had owned for the last 15 years. It had been involved in a few accidents over the years, and it was repaired and thrown right back into the mix every time. It wasn’t until the motor surrendered with 240,000 clicks on the odometer that the truck’s future became uncertain. It was parked and cast aside. The year was 2003.
Four years later in the fall, a new beginning presented itself. After Eric had established himself in the adult world, he unearthed his old truck out of storage with hopes of breathing new life into it. It was to be built simply yet had to be bombproof. “Seeing as how I don’t own a trailer or a truck capable of pulling a trailer, the truck would have to be mechanically sound”, Eric adds. So with 8G’s burning a hole in his pocket, the stock 2.9L engine and 7.5-inch rearend were quick to be rebuilt. As soon as the Ranger was back moving under its own power, it was immediately parked again for frame and suspension work. This where the beginning of the end starts.
"I lost control of the budget, but the truck kept getting cooler."
“The plan was simple—’bag it on the I-beams, construct a simple four-link, and end up with a no-frills driver. After experiencing oil pan and firewall clearance problems due to the I-beams, a Toyota front clip for the front was the best solution for keeping it driver-friendly. When it came to the rear setup, I gave my friend Sammy full creative reign on the design.” The barebones blueprint was scrapped fast, and that 8 thousand bucks? It was starting to look like a drop in the bucket instead of the project’s budget cap. “I lost control of the budget, but the truck kept getting cooler.”
The truck Eric was given at the age of 15 was quickly becoming unrecognizable, and he began reminiscing back to the modifications he was spending money on back then, “Even though I wanted an import car, I wasn’t going to argue with my parents when they gave me the truck. After all, a vehicle equals freedom when you’re that age. I spent the next few years saving my minimum wage paychecks to buy stereo equipment, window tint, and wheels in an attempt to have a decent ride.” Things have certainly progressed for him since the days of shopping for amps and comparing tint grades—probably a little too much on certain days when the shop tabs kept rising. “After what has been five long years of a lot of work by myself and a lot of talented people, I did the final detail and reassembly work and called it “done” last year at 4A.M. of September 15—the morning of the first show as a complete truck.” At least there’s a safe place to land and cruise at the bottom of the spiral.
Photo 2/11   |   Bagged 1989 Ford Ranger Rear Three Quarter
The Lowdown
1989 Ford Ranger
Eric Luttmer • Rowlett, TX • Negative Camber
Rolling Attire
Wheels: 20x7 Coy’s C5 (front) / 20x8½ (rear)
Tires: 225/25/20 Toyo Extensa HP (front)/245/35/20 (rear)
Chassis Modifications
Suspension (front): ’93 Toyota clip, 2-inch drop spindles, Slam Specialties RE-7 ’bags
Suspension (rear): Triangulated satchel four-link, Slam Specialties RE-7 ’bags on upper bars
Control Arms: Modified stock
Shocks: Monroe Monro-Matic-Plus
Compressor(s): Dual Viair 480
Air/Hydro Accessories: Nine-gallon tank, billet AVS switchbox, stainless air lines
Frame Mods: Tubular “baby backhalf” from notch back
Misc.: 15-gallon RCI fuel cell, stainless fuel lines
Performed By: Sammy Livingston at Slammy’s Garage, paint by owner
Body Modifications
Shaved: Fuel door, stake pockets, fender emblems, tailgate handle, antenna, cargo lamp
Body Mods: Sheetmetal bed floor and wheel tubs, shaved and smoothed front bumper, moved up to fit body lines, custom tailgate
Bolt-ons: Sir Michael’s roll pan
Misc.: Hinged bed access door with Poplar wood and polished strips, Raptor Liner
Performed By: Owner and Stewart “Hammer Hands” Warden
Brand & Colors: BASF Glasurit ’55 Ford White Suede, Infiniti Barcelona Red, Lexus Tungsten Silver Metallic
Performed By: Owner
Seats: Stock ’85 Ford Ranger bench wrapped in Scarlet red tuck ‘n’ roll vinyl
Dash: ’64 Chevy Corvair van (Corvan) dash painted Barcelona red with matte clear finish, handmade lower dash
Gauges: Auto Meter
Misc.: Scarlet red row style headliner, ’63 Ford Falcon armrests, tuck ‘n’ roll door panels, Classic Auto Air aftermarket heat and A/C unit, chrome Ididit steering column, Billet Specialties “Classic” steering wheel
Performed By: Upholstery by Andy Firchau or Xtreme Upholstery, paint by owner
Head Unit: Kenwood Excelon KDC-995 in glove box
Mids & Highs: Kenwood Excelon
Subwoofers: Two RE Audio 10-inch
Amplifiers: Arc Audio for subs, Kenwood Excelon for mids & highs
Misc.: Custom fiberglass amp rack and sub boxes, Q Logic kick panels
Performed By: Owner
Engine: Ford 2.9L V-6
Intake: Modified Spectre Performance
Header/Exhaust: JBA ceramic-coated headers, Magnaflow cat and exhaust
Transmission: Ford A4LD Auto
Rearend Type: Ford 7½-inch with 3.73 gears
Detail Work: Sheetmetal engine cover
Misc.: Modified Lokar shifter for Ford C4 trans
Performed By: Bob Ellison and Brandon Ellison of ABC Automotive, sheetmetal work by owner
Special Thanks From Owner
“Thanks to everyone who has taken time to help, without their support, this truck wouldn’t be where it’s at today. Brandon Ellison, Bob Ellison, Sammy Livingston, John Oates, Stewart Warden, and Andy Firchau—you guys worked your fingers to the bone to help me build my dream, I’ll be forever thankful. Thank you to my girlfriend Jillian who was always supportive, and thanks to everyone who has offered compliments or criticism that fueled the fight to finish this truck.”



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