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1997 Ford Ranger Splash - Mr. Trump

Ryan Donaldson’s “Red Ranger” Makes the Big Leagues

Mike Alexander
Sep 24, 2014
Photographers: Brian Goude
When building your very first full-custom mini-truck you might not always get it right the first time around. But for Ryan "Mr. Trump" Donaldson from Alberta, Canada, he knew he wanted to take his time and build the perfect cruiser that he could be proud of. He also knew he wanted to be a bit different than all "the other S-10s out there" so he opted to go with the more difficult mini platform, the Ford Ranger, in order to set himself apart in the Canadian mini-truck scene.
Where Ryan is from you don't see a lot of laid-out Rangers, mostly for the simple fact that their I-beam suspension isn't the easiest thing to work on and get slammed to the ground without some serious fab work. Wanting to tackle this chore himself with the help of some close buds, he ordered a Suicidedoors.com 'bag cup kit, AIM dropped I-beams, and the rest of the air suspension odds and ends, and went to town. Doing so, Ryan learned a very important lesson along the way. "Cheaper is definitely not better. Do it right once, and you'll save not just countless amounts of coin, but also a butt-load of time and headache."
Photo 2/7   |   1997 Ford Ranger Splash Rear View
We've all learned this lesson at one time or another, but Ryan had to learn it for himself by trial and error. It took him a few times to get the air suspension dialed in, and he even shared a story that some of us can relate to quite well. He was coming home from the Sittin' Pretti show, which was about 16 hours away from him, when he blew out a brake line in a massive downpour. And if that wasn't bad enough, he was in the middle of the British Columbia mountains with zero cell phone reception … good times. At that point he was pretty much ready to just write the truck off and start walking, but luckily he was able to get things sorted and get the truck home.
Working out the bugs as he went, Ryan spent about six years or so dialing in his build to get it to the stages you see here. What was the best part of his experience, even though he had many hardships along the way? "The friends I have made throughout the build and in the truck scene are what makes it all worth it." We couldn't agree more! No matter the trials and tribulations we face when trying to turn our vision into reality, it's really the people around us who make it all worth it. In the end, sure we really dig our badass custom creations, but it wouldn't be worth a thing if we didn't have good friends to enjoy them with!
Like many of our projects, Ryan's started off as just a daily truck that he wanted to have some fun with, and it eventually snowballed into a full project build from the ground up. After getting things about where he wanted them, he had Phoenix Collision give her a clean shave and a fresh two-tone paint scheme to finish her off just right. The build turned out just as planned, except not quite, as it took a bit longer, cost a bit more, and gave Ryan a bit more heartache than anticipated. And from that, true character and friendships were built.
Photo 6/7   |   1997 Ford Ranger Splash Engine
Photo 7/7   |   1997 Ford Ranger Splash Plate

Inside the Build
Year/Make/Model: 1997 Ford Ranger Splash
Owner and City/State: Ryan Donaldson; Alberta, Canada
Engine
Type: 3.0 V-6, K&N Intake, custom plug wires, detailed and painted engine bay, tucked and hidden wiring
Body
Mods: Shaved door handles, mirrors, cowl, third brake light, door locks, tailgate handle, gas door, bedrails, roof seams, antenna, step sides, emblems, badges, smooth firewall, billet grille, euro taillights, smoothed and chromed front and rear bumpers, one-off aluminum tonneau cover, performed by owner and Phoenix Collision
Paint: DuPont Cardinal Red top with Subaru Milky White bottom and Nissan Smoke Gray pinstripe to hide the body line, true two-tone through doorjambs back of cab and bed performed Phoenix Collision
Interior/Stereo: 2004 Rav 4 seats wrapped in two-tone leather with red piping, painted red accents, air gauges mounted in passenger airbag compartment, ACC custom carpet gray performed by owner and Greg Zacharko, Pioneer head unit, Rockford Fosgate 6-inch door and dash speakers
Chassis
Front Suspension: Suicidedoors.com front 'bag kit, Slam Specialties airbags, 4x4 sway bar endlinks, AIM dropped I-beams, Belltech drop shocks, Air Zenith compressors, ?-inch SMC valves with ½-inch airline and 6-gallon air tank
Rear Suspension: 'Bag over axle, four-link with Pete & Jake's Panhard bar, Slam Specialties airbags, Belltech drop shocks
Wheels & Tires
Wheels: 18-inch Enkei Lm1
Tires: Cordovan Sonar, 225/40R18
Special Thanks: Thanks to David Scade, Greg Zacharko, Jeff Courchene from the shop, Mark and Dennis from Phoenix Collision, Shawn Altermott from Sittin' Pretti, Brian Goude from Grinder TV, and, of course, my club, Freaks of Nature, for all of their support.

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