Owner: David Caldwell
Ride: 1995 Ford Ranger
Hometown: Knoxville, TN
When it comes to custom vehicle projects, the phrase "No project is ever complete" seems to be a running theme. That phrase holds a ton of truth for David Caldwell's 1995 Ranger that you see here.
Most people would be happy with one feature here in the pages of Mini Truckin' and move on to the next project, but not David. If the name sounds familiar, it's because this truck was featured a couple years ago with a completely different paintjob, interior, wheels, motor, and more. This truck has been a family project from day one and brings together three generations of the Caldwell family. It allowed for plenty of garage time with the family, which not only gets a feature truck up and running fairly quickly, but builds bonds that keeps families together through thick and thin.
Once the previous feature was shot and hit the newsstands, it was time to bask in the glow of Mini Truckin' stardom. This only lasted for a short while as the excitement quickly turned into the drive to rip it all apart and try for an even bigger and better feature, going for cover quality. Knowing that he couldn't just change the paint or interior and score another layout, David had the truck completely stripped down and a few factory parts hauled off to the junkyard. Because the truck was already 'bagged and body-dropped and all the suspension was still up to par, none of the chassis had to be touched, other than some new layers of paint and some polishing. The chassis is always a huge part of the build, so this go-around was going to be much easier-or so they thought.
The first thing that was addressed was the stock interior. David knew with taking the truck to the next level, stock guts just wouldn't cut it so the dash was traded in for a classic dash out of a 1956 Ford F-100 and was sectioned 4 inches to fit between the doors. It was also reworked and fitted with Dakota Digital cool blue gauges to make the old-school dash a little more modern. A custom front-to-back fiberglass console was constructed, and is now home to the Pioneer head unit and the gauges and controls for the air suspension. The back of the console flows into a custom sub enclosure and amp rack holding two Alphasonik 10-inch woofers and a Kicker amplifier. For riding comfort, the stock Ranger seats were scrapped for bucket seats out of a Pontiac Sunfire that were then rewrapped with dark gray vinyl and light gray suede. To complete the interior package, the headliner got a layer of the light gray suede while the floor is now home to new black carpet.
With the interior done it was time to take out the factory V-6 and make room for the built Ford Racing 306 V-8, which not only looks better but performs and sounds like a full-custom truck is supposed to. Swapping to such a massive powerhouse isn't as easy as it might seem. Even though they managed to save some time by not redoing the suspension, Murphy 's Law had to make sure that all the saved time was lost with added gremlins to the motor. Running issues kept the build crew busy trying to work out all the bugs, and as soon as one was fixed another one would pop up. Eventually they were able to get it up and running like it was supposed to, and it was onto the next stage of the build.
Now that the truck was running and the interior was finished, it was time for one final teardown to make the paint changes that would be one of the largest transformations to the truck. After a few phone calls were exchanged and a deal was worked out, David took the truck shell up to Mike Speck at SPECKtackular Kustom Graphics in Versailles, Kentucky. Mike laid out a custom silver and blue design and got it almost complete, but it wasn't exactly what David or Mike had envisioned so it was stripped back down and a new and better design was chosen. This new gray and silver two-tone design incorporated some old-school silver leaf and pinstriping, which flowed perfectly with the old-school interior. Speaking of interior, Mike also carried the two-tone theme throughout the interior by painting the dash, console, and sub enclosure to match. With the paint dry and buffed to that show-winning shine, the truck was picked up and taken back home where it was completely reassembled and prepared for its second photo shoot way up on a mountain road in Kentucky just before sunrise to show off the beauty that this truck now holds. For the complete specs on this new and improved version of David's Ranger, check out the Lowdown.