My mom once told me that I had an old "sole" (ya mom, you spelled it wrong). Yet, she was not referring to my shoes, but rather my fascination with antique cars and such. I knew I wanted to aim for a classier, vintage feel. The start of the transformation began in the back with the Bruce Horkey's wood bed kit. From there I felt the need to rob an '80s style Ranger tailgate of its beautiful embossed FORD logo and mate it with mine. Sticking with the older theme, a 1950 Ford Shoebox was also robbed of its dashboard and for the moment, roughed into the interior and matched with an Ididit steering column topped by a '40s style 15-inch Ford replica steering wheel. About the same time the interior was torn apart, in comes a screaming yellow '88 mustang GT to become the donor for the Ranger's new heartbeat, a V8 302. This however is right where the story stops for awhile and gets a little unsettling.
Two Years Later: After fighting a hurricane's hell and high water and being moved from rental to rental, the truck still sat untouched with so many dreams left to be accomplished and no motivation in sight. About this time of uncertainty, I decided to get in touch with Eric Saliba at The Little Shop of Horrors. I e-mailed him a long sappy story and kindly asked for his services. In June of 2008, knee-deep being the only way to be, the lady and I packed our bags and headed north to Lawrenceburg Tennessee. Greeted with open arms, I knew these were the hands that would soon carefully craft the remainder of the canvas you see on these pages. So I left some money and parts behind and let them get to work. It started with finishing the complicated parts of the dash and building a set of metal upper door panels to complete what I started years prior. Knowing I wanted to try and push the envelope a little, Eric and I discussed the need for a full sheetmetal engine bay. I left him with a side trim piece off of an old Ford truck hood and told him to use it somehow in the engine compartment. Weeks later, the crew at the Little Shop more than outdid themselves with a functioning work of art. Next, a Harley-Davidson gas cap was flushed into the driver-side bedrail. Seeing the bed finally come together, Eric shaved the tailgate handle in an untraditional way. By making a smooth access panel for the inside of the tailgate, he then machined a knurled knob that would function as the handle, but spin instead of lift. Next on the list of metalwork was the wiper cowl where more holes were actually added in place to rid the truck of the stock components and create a subtle yet different look. Lastly, before the truck got put into a Volvo green basecoat, a front bumper was crafted to help complete the front fascia. By taking a 2002 upper half and a1997 lower half off two separate Rangers, Little Shop was able to mate the two and give the appearance of a near, but far from stock look.
So, where does it go from here? Well, first I have to put in a few extra hours at work so I can pay my bill at the Little Shop! Hopefully from here it will be going to many more shows, creating many more awesome times, while meeting tons more righteous dudes and dudettes. I'll be setting my goals extra high and settle for not much less than selling the house to bring this Ranger to the world as a finished project - come Hell or High Water.