During the 1970s the United States found itself in an event that would go down in history as the Oil Crisis. This left consumers across the country with a hankering for light trucks from Japan such as the Datsun 521 and Toyota Hilux. Ford took notice, and in 1983, they unveiled the iconic Ford Ranger.
A Rich History
In 1983 this Medium Metallic Blue beauty rolled off of Ford’s Louisville Kentucky assembly plant. We don’t know who the original owner was, but around 1999 it made it’s way to Rich, who has owned it for the past two decades! Several people here at VIP have known Rich for years and can recall great memories of this Ranger. One person said “I never knew a time it didn’t have bullets and a Buck-knife on the dashboard.” Our plan is to restore this truck to its glory days and get it back on the road to honor the legacy of Rich. With the help of his family, we tracked down the current owner of the truck and bought it off them. Now it sits in our shop ready for its new lease on life.
Some Interesting Accessories
It came with a bed full of goodies. Treasures like beer cans, plastic bags, a single .22 LR bullet, and most notably, a spare Ford Cologne 2.8L V6. The last owner thought the original engine seized up, which explains the extra engine in the bed. Upon closer inspection, we found that the extra engine has a crack.
Turns out the original motor wasn’t seized after all. A new starter and battery cable brought her back to life (a terrible life, but life nonetheless). It runs terribly and the carburetor is basically junk. It’s going to require an overhaul of the fuel system as well as some brake work.
A Decent Interior
The interior is in relatively decent shape considering its age. The bench seat is intact except for a cut on the driver’s cushion. We’re not sure what direction we’ll be heading on this.
Lift Kit / Wheels & Tires
She’s sporting a 4-inch lift kit and 33-inch Desert Hawk mud tires. We’re planning to replace the lift with a 4-inch system from Rough Country. They include brand new leaf springs in the package. We’re also hoping to squeeze brand new 35’s on it.
It came with some nice 15-inch American Racing 767 wheels. We know we’ll be swapping out the wheels at some point, but we’re not sure with what. We’re hoping to use community input to help us decide.
There will be some bodywork required. The inside of the bed is pretty beat up after years of abuse. We’re planning to remove the dents and use a spray-in bed-liner to clean it up. There’s sizable rust damage on the driver side of the bed and the tailgate applique has some heavy dings in it. The lower part of the passenger door also has a rust issue, but we’re not sure if it will be fixable.
When it comes to American light trucks, the Ford Ranger has no doubt cemented itself as one of the greats. Since it’s debut in 1983 over seven million Rangers have been sold making it not only one of the best selling trucks, but one of the best selling vehicles ever. We’re looking forward to getting this truck back on the road while adding some new accessories to make even better than before.