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1994 Ford Ranger- Flare & Finesse

6th Time is the Charm

Sep 18, 2015
Photographers: Brian Goude
Keith Wadlington has been involved with the mini truck scene for a few years now, but his love for the sport goes back to when he was just a youngster of seven or eight. The bug had hit him hard, as an imprint of what was cool became forever lodged in his brain and it never left. Through high school, some of his buddies had branched out to full size trucks, lowriders, and even a few imports, but Keith never strayed from his passion.
Photo 2/12   |   1994 Ford Ranger Moonroof
As Wadlington entered the Navy post high school, he got a Mini Truckin tattoo on his forearm to be a constant reminder of where his heart was. So when he got out of the service, his first order of business was to find a truck. What he did find was a slightly ratty '94 Ranger that had already been 'bagged and body dropped, but he didn't stop there. The quest to make that truck perfect had started by redoing all the 'bags and air lines so he could at least feel good about driving it around.
Since becoming part of Local Finesse in Tucson, Arizona and contributing to some of the other club members' builds, Wadlington's truck had begun to take shape. Searching for that perfect combination, his truck went through five complete builds, each time stepping up the build quality and taking more risks, before he could settle on what his idea of complete perfection would actually look like. With this build, Keith was going with a full show stopper that would cause people to stop and get lost noticing all the details.
Photo 3/12   |   1994 Ford Ranger Hrbb Steeering Wheel
The setting for this 2.5-year odyssey was his two-car garage as he personally had a hand in every inch of the truck. Wadlington stripped the Ranger down to a bare frame and reworked every aspect to finally be up to his standards, drawing up the plans for countless parts in CAD during downtime at his 9-5, to then be custom machined and installed on nights and weekends. He created his own wiring harness, completely upgraded the suspension and air system, swapped the engine out for a stroked 331 originally from an '88 Mustang, performed all the body work with the help of his club mates, ferried all his custom made parts to be chromed, and personally installed every nut, washer and bolt in this intense and purposeful transformation.
His attention to detail even had him hanging around interior shops to learn their secrets, only to take them back to his garage to do and do over until every corner, every radius, every tuck was absolutely perfect. Some might call this attention to detail bordering on OCD, but when it leads to an outcome like this, it's hard to argue to argue with that level of obsession. Keith even put over 100 hours of work into the front bumper to get the perfect look!
Photo 4/12   |   1994 Ford Ranger Custom Gauge Cluster
"Mini trucks are in my blood and they always will be." He says "My next build is going to be a shoe-box Ford, but it will be done up all mini style. I gotta stay true to my roots!" Finally finished and ready for its time in the sun, Wadlington plans on attending all the major shows in the next year. So when you see it sitting unassuming on the grass at Forbidden Fantasy, Lone Star Throwdown, or Scrapin the Coast, take a notepad and just start jotting down all the places you can notice Keith's handiwork, but be ready for a lengthy list.
Inside the Build
Year/Make/Model: 1994 Ford Ranger Flare Side
Owner and City/State: Keith Wadlington, Tucson, AZ
Club Affiliation: Local Finesse
Front Suspension: 1/4-inch steel plate boxed frame, chrome plated spindles, Dominator 2500 'bags, 3/8-inch lines all around, AccuAir SwitchSpeed controller
Rear Suspension: Bridge notch, custom built radius arms with Heim joints and hardware, triangulated 4-link, 'bag over axle, Dominator 2600 'bags, chromed brackets, link bars and hardware, full frame painted with SEM Hot Rod Black Acrylic Urethane, relocated custom 26- gallon fuel tank
Shocks: chrome plated Sensa Trac shocks front and rear.
Brakes: Braided stainless steel lines
Photo 8/12   |   1994 Ford Ranger 331ci Engine
Engine: 331ci stroked Ford 5.0L, balanced and blueprinted, '93 Mustang Cobra GT 40 heads, Keith Black 4.030 pistons, Comp Cams, MSD Street Fire plugs, chromed Mallory canister style coils, Mallory Billet Unilite distributor, Holley Ultra HP 650 Carburetor, chrome plated dual plane low rise intake, chromed Advance Adapters headers, custom 2.25-inch exhaust with deleted cats,
Transmission: Ford C4, B&M shift kit, performance valve body, upgraded clutch, and billet servo
Driveshaft: Custom built by Tucson Driveline and Balance,
Rearend: Ford 4.88, Richmond ring and pinion, shortened 7 inches, chromed diff cover
Photo 9/12   |   1994 Ford Ranger Hood Mural
Body: 3.5-inch body drop, suicide doors, sliding rag top, custom front bumper, '96 Ranger grille with vertical sections removed, shaved fender emblems, hood lines, cowl mirrors door handles third brake light, gas door, tail lights, sill plates, door jambs, firewall all shaved, smoothed back cab wall, shaved and molded bed rails, Grant Customs rollpan, tailgate skin, AVS 7-inch taillights, sheet metal bed with radiused corners, fenders capped to firewall ends, sheet metal core support, double axle trailer fenders used as front wheel wells, Volkswagen Light Brown Metalic LC8Y painted by Al's Customs Tuscon, Arizona, all bodywork performed by owner in two car garage
Photo 10/12   |   1994 Ford Ranger Hot Rods By Boyd Tri Five Wheel
Interior: One-off HRBB steering wheel by Chris Coddington,'94 Mazda MX3 front seats covered in black Ultraleather, black Silverknit Porsche carpet, painted fiberglass and black Ultraleather headliner, Seat Stitched by Hi-Speed in Tucson, Arizona, all other interior work performed by owner
Stereo: Custom fiberglass sub enclosure built into the center console with an 8-inch Rockford Fosgate P1, 5.25-inch Rockford Fosgate T2 components in doors with custom grilles, three Rockford Fosgate P300s, Bluetooth receiver to Kicker 03KQ30 Equalizer,
Wheels & Tires:
Wheels: 18x10, Hot Rods by Boyd Tri Fives
Tires: 215/35R18 Federal UHP
Special Thanks: I want to thank all the boys in Local Finesse for all their help and hard work, and to my wife Melinda for thinking our garage didn't exist for over two years.
Photo 11/12   |   1994 Ford Ranger Custom Front Bumper
Photo 12/12   |   1994 Ford Ranger Avs Taillight