OWNER: Jim Morris
RIDE: '96 Ford Ranger
HOMETOWN: North Huntington, Pennsylvania
Jim Morris' truck takes us straight back to a time when modifying the body of your mini meant more than giving it a shave and a haircut. In fact, his truck congers up memories of truly innovative trucks that took body mods in a completely new direction. Although some of the mods on Jim's mini have been done before, there are a few that have only been attempted a handful of times.
We are particularly fond of the half-swing doors that were custom-built by Zimmerman Automotive in Pennsylvania. Using the stock doors, Zimmerman cut them in half and molded the bottom half of the doors to the rockers and then capped the remaining portion, while giving the short doors new hinges. Cool, huh? The creative folks at Zimmerman also molded the front bumper to the fenders and then molded the fenders to the cowl. These exciting modifications serve to grab your attention and direct it upward towards the roadster top of Jim's ride. The roadster mini-truck is definitely not dead, and it's great to see a clean example of this style. Capitalizing on the coolness of the roadster mini, Zimmerman also capped the top of the doors and threw out the stock windows for the ultimate in smooth, cockpit-style cab design. But with all of this talk of body mods and old-school coolness, we can't forget the frame-draggin' stance and overall appeal of Jim's mini. It looks like the three years it took Jim to complete his mini are paying off in trophies from big shows like the Carlisle All Truck Nat's, where we first laid eyes on his ride. To get the skinny on what went into the construction of this awesome mini, cruise on down to The Lowdown portion of this feature.
Chassis/Suspension Chuck Haulishka hammered the Ranger up front by installing 3-inch dropped I-beams, Firestone 2500 airbags and relocated shocks. He also built custom crossmembers for the transmission and the radius arms so the truck would lay flat. Out back, Chuck installed a Competition Engineering four-link in place of the stock leaf springs and combined it with another pair of Firestone 'bags for maximum suspension adjustability. To make draggin' Jim's mini a safe proposition, Chuck removed the factory fuel tank and installed one from a Mustang between the rear of the framerails. The entire chassis was then sanded, smoothed, and painted to match the outside of the truck.
Wheels/Tires Billet Specialties GT-53 Rims are stuffed square into a set of P205/40R17 low-profile tires.
Body Mods The trend setting body mods include half doors and a completely molded front end. Zimmerman Automotive got the nod to cut and weld the bottom halves of the doors shut and then weld and smooth the entire front end, minus the hood, shut. They also frenched-in the antenna, roadster-chopped the windshield, capped the side window openings of the doors, and molded-in a flush roll pan to the bed. The standard shave job soon followed; the door handles were removed and a cowl-induction hood was installed. A custom roll bar, a hard tonneau cover, and billet side mirrors also dress up the exterior of Jim's ride.
Custom Paint/Graphics Zimmerman Automotive pulled double-duty, performing both the bodywork and the paintjob. Two-tone tribal stripes were laid down, and Amber gold pearl and silver blue pearl paints were used to achieve the stunning paint scheme.
Interior Jim, along with good friend Chris Dempsey, built the clean and simple interior. They started by shaving the A/C vents form the dash and continued onward by building the one-off center console. The doors received the same custom flavor with tweed inserts, and then the seats were re-covered in light-gray tweed as well. Simpson seatbelts lend an air of raciness to the interior and provide the utmost in safety.
Engine/Drivetrain The 2.3L four-cylinder powerplant received a K&N Short Ram air intake, a Borla After-Cat exhaust system, and a relocated battery. The engine compartment was then dressed up by polishing the intake manifold and building custom paneling.
Audio System Keeping with the simple and clean approach, Jim installed a Kenwood CD head unit along with a Rockford Fosgate Punch 50 amplifier. MB Quart mids and highs are mounted in the doors and swallow every last bit of power the Fosgate amp provides and reproduce the music from the head unit beautifully.
Owner's Quote "This truck took a lot of time and stress to build. I'd like to thank my family and friends for all of their help."