ONWER: Austen Seaholm
RIDE: '03 Ford Ranger Edge
HOMETOWN: Anaheim, California
About a year and a half ago, Austen Seaholm was entered in the 2003 Vans Triple Crown Skateboarding Championship. The Triple Crown became a crowning achievement in his career when he wound up winning the whole thing. Along with the title of that competition, Austen won the pink slip to a brand-new white Ford Ranger Edge, courtesy of Ford Motor Corporation. Since he was already friends with Rob Maggi, the ex-owner of Master Image Customs (MIC), and had spent a lot of time skating with Rob's Team MIC, it only seemed right that Rob would take the truck into the shop and begin transforming it into a prime example of a custom Ranger.
While Austen was busy skating all over the United States and abroad, the crew at Master Image Customs was busy making plenty of changes and creating a completely different truck from the one Austen had entrusted them with. First, the Ranger was body-dropped 3-1/2 inches, effectively laying the rockers flat on the ground. Once finished laying the truck firmly out on the ground, the MIC crew set about getting a new suspension installed that would allow the truck to be lifted off the ground and travel again under its own power. This was achieved by installing MIC hydraulics front and rear to provide plenty of clearance.
To make the truck look as good as possible when laid out, Lexani Sterling 18- and 20-inch chrome wheels were tucked into brand-new Nitto NT555 low-profile tires. At this point, there wasn't a cleaner stock-bodied Ranger to be seen anywhere, but the work was just beginning.
Next, the truck was sent to Doug Starbuck, where it was fully shaved and readied for paint. While Doug had the truck, the door handles were shaved. Along with those, the gas filler door and tailgate handle were shaved, and the tailgate was molded shut. A Sir Michaels tailgate skin, custom tail/brake lights, and a custom third brake light were added. The truck was then sent to Steve Van Demon for a new yellow-and-green paintjob, with blue, red, and burgundy dry-brush pinstriping and plenty of evil-looking skulls floating on the green lower body areas of the Ford.
The MIC crew picked the truck up from ACP for the next round of work and was amazed by the changes that had been made. Keep in mind that at this point, Austen had been busy skating professionally and had no idea what had been done to his prize truck. He simply trusted that MIC would build one of the cleanest Rangers around. Obviously, it was a trust that was well placed in the crew at Master Image Customs.
The Ranger was then sent to Eric's Auto Upholstery in Placentia, California, where the stock seat covers were pulled off and made to look totally different by using light-gray, blue, yellow, and green vinyl. The guys didn't stop with the seats, though, and reworked the headliner, incorporating the same colors above the seats and down the back wall of the truck. Skulls with daggers clenched in their teeth were embroidered in the headrests, and custom-built panels were added to dress up the bed interior.
There are no custom tunes installed in the Ranger, but that's something planned for the truck now that Austen has a little spare time on his hands. He's just returned from Australia, where he did really well in competition, although he didn't win another truck this time around. We asked him if he planned to take his truck to any Southern California shows this season to represent MIC and all the hard work this shop and others had done to his trophy truck. The good news is that he does indeed plan to attend a few local shows and help spread the custom disease to others.