Exclusive Content
Original Shows, Motorsports and Live Events
Due to the EU’s Global Data Protection Regulation, our website is currently unavailable to visitors from most European countries. We apologize for this inconvenience and encourage you to visit www.motortrend.com for the latest on new cars, car reviews and news, concept cars and auto show coverage, awards and much more.MOTORTREND.COM

1989 Ford Ranger - The Dropout

A Failure No More

John Mata Jr.
Aug 25, 2014
Photographers: John Mata Jr.
So many things go unfinished in our everyday lives. The garage never seems to finish cleaning itself. That mountain of leaves can wait until next weekend to be raked, right? And that book you started reading that has way more words than pictures? Who has time for all that? We all have empty boxes on our checklists that are just begging to be X’d off, but getting around to them takes a little more time and effort than others.
Building a truck is a lot like tackling the mundane chores and honey do’s that pop up just about every day. Equal parts planning and work go into completing the job, but chances are, the only nagging you’ll hear when working on your truck will be coming from your own mouth begging your pals to come over to help. (P.S. You’ll still most likely hear wifey shouting from the house to get all the crap in the yard cleaned up—mind you, this is a real-life comparison, not a daydream). Luckily for a guy like Aaron Combs, he handled his big plans of having a quickly built show truck derailing from the tracks rather well, and his old lady has been right behind him to help finish his 1989 Ford Ranger—only pushing lightly, of course.  “Actually, the day before she had our son, we were at the body shop discussing price and paint options,” says Aaron. “What a way to spend your last child-free night, huh?”
Photo 2/8   |   1989 Ford Ranger Rear
Aaron recalls when he first took possession of the truck. It was 2009, and the truck had already been underneath someone else’s knife for 9 years. “This guy Beau and his dad first lowered and hooked up the hydraulics back in 2000, and in 2004 Jake Burton of Trendsetters Customs bodydropped it and swapped the engine. It had sat around for a while before I took it in, but I had plans to get it done fast to take to shows.” Needless to say, the truck didn’t make it too far too quickly while in Aaron’s hands. The new motor was overheating more times than it should’ve and eventually called it quits, which ultimately led to a 2-year stall on the build. There the truck sat—far from finished and dropped from being a worthy show contender. This checkmark couldn’t be made just yet.
The next couple of years became the real proving ground for Aaron. He got to work on a new engine and spent time on the truck’s details. A rush job just wasn’t in this Ranger’s cards, and once he realized that, the easier the last few phases of the build became. “This truck gave me so many problems at first, but after it was all taken care of, the real fun started. We can take it out to shows now just like I had intended.” Not too bad for a build that has essentially spanned the course of nearly 14 years. And to seal the deal on this one, we asked Aaron for any words of advice or insight to help others with their own project, and he replied simply, “Hydraulic fluid does not come out of clothes.” He’s a man of great character, and very few words, ladies and gentlemen.
“This truck gave me so many problems at first, but after it was all taken care of, the real fun started. We can take it out to shows now just like I had intended.” —Aaron Combs
Photo 6/8   |   1989 Ford Ranger Side View

Inside the Build
Year/Make/Model: 1989 Ford Ranger
Owner and City/State: Aaron Combs / Canton, Ohio
Type: 1989 Lincoln Town Car 302
Induction: Chrome
Exhaust: Shorty Hedman Hedders
Built By: Al Burger
Transmission: C4
Front Suspension: 3-inch drop I-beams, 8-inch hydraulic cylinders, 5-inch mini coil
Rear Suspension: Four-link, 8-inch hydraulic cylinders, 5-inch mini coil, two chrome CCE pumps
Wheels & Tires
Wheels: 18x8-inch B.A.D. Mauler
Tires: 215/35R18 Nitto