1998 Ford Ranger Splash- Tuckin’ Eh
Canadian Born With a Northern Splash
As any mini-trucker can swear, a daily driver never ends up a daily driver. Matt Kennedy of Windsor, Ontario, grew up in a Ford family. In fact, his father works for Ford Motor Company as an electrician and has since the year Matt was born. “As long as I can remember, we have been a Ford family, “Matt says. “We have never owned anything other than Ford.” Matt worked two paper routes and saved enough money, so that by the time he was 13, he was able to purchase his first Ford truck: a 1986 Ford Ranger. Although he was short on the final amount, his family stepped in and helped the teenaged Matt out. He eventually worked off that debt and was forever grateful for the generosity.
Though Matt spent years working on his Ford, legally he couldn’t get behind the wheel and drive until he turned 16. When he was finally allowed to drive, it turned out all the work he had been performing on the Ford made it hard to drive. So he set his sights on a different daily driver. The same group of Matt’s mentors, who had found the first Ford, was once again enlisted to find something newer that he could drive while working on the ’86. They found a ’98 Ford Ranger Splash, and Matt jumped on the opportunity to own the newer mini-truck.
With mini-trucking in his blood, it was only a matter of time before the new truck began to get preferential treatment. “While doing my engine swap on the ’86, I started realizing the prize I had in the ’98,” Matt says. That’s when everything took a turn for the better. The ’86 was parted out to fund the build of the newer Splash. Based on his past and current builds, Matt joined Acrophobia, and his leadership helped him to become the rep for the Canadian chapter. One look at the build list below shows that every inch of the truck has been gone through, from the V-8 swap to the back-halfed frame and air ride.
Matt owes a lot of thanks to the people who helped and guided him along the way. A special thanks to Gary Donkers and Cory Hussey for their help and inspiration, Edmond Godin for everything on the truck, his parents for their support over the years, his entire Acrophobia family, and most importantly, his wife Melissa for her love, understanding, and making meals for himself and Ed during those late nights in the garage. Tuckin’ Eh has come a long way to go but based on his talents and core support crew, the sky is the limit.
Inside the buildYear/Make/Model: 1998 Ford Ranger Splash
Owner and City/State: Matt Kennedy; Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Club Affiliation Acrophobia
Chassis: Stock floor body-drop tube chassis, Z’d 3 inches
Front Suspension: DJM upper control arms, modified Chassis Tech lower control arms, Slam Specialties SS7 ’bags
Rear Suspension: Homemade triangulated four-link, Slam Specialties SS6 ’bags on lower bars
Shocks: Monroe shocks
Engine: Ford 302 Windsor small-block, Ford Racing E303 cam, GT40 heads, Weiand Street Warrior intake, Shorty headers
Transmission: TCI automotive C4 sizzler and stall convertor
Rearend: Ford 8.8 with Traction-Lok
Body/Paint: Ford Toreador Red, fiberglass Cobra-style hood, projector headlights, 4x4 chrome front bumper with Splash valance, shaved tailgate, rollpan, ’08 taillights and third brake light, handmade sheet-metal bedfloor, firewall, engine compartment and cab floor
Interior: Sectioned and stretched ’65 F100 dashboard, Billet Specialties steering wheel, ididit steering column
Wheels & Tires:
Wheels: 19x8; Niche F16
Tires: 225/35ZR19; Cooper Zeon