Owner: Joey Dello Russo
Ride: 2006 Ford Ranger
Hometown: Mansfield, TX
Selecting a specific model truck based on its scarcity in the custom scene is truly a bold move. Full-custom Rangers aren't really seen all too often, and that is mostly due to the more complicated suspension setup as opposed to say something in the S-series family. Some guys hack their Blue Ovals because there was already one parked in their driveway-a valid reason for sure. Then there are the characters like Joey Dello Russo who seek out and accept the challenge based on the adversity that lies ahead and the promise of rarity that waits at the end of the road.
"I went with the Ranger because they were few and far between. I bought it fresh off the showroom floor and had it 'bagged by a local shop with the temp tags still on," says Joey, excited to retell the story from the very beginning. "After enduring the painful years of college, I wanted to finally get going on a truck of my own."
Even though he considered himself to be in a rocky love/hate relationship with the Ranger, he can definitely say that it was worth the days filled with headaches and worry. Having been the owner of another Ranger that was 'bagged before he bought it, Joey was more in tune this time around since he saw each modification and their intricacies evolve from scratch. "I knew this wasn't going to be a one-month project. This had to be done right with patience to get the truck how I wanted."
Joey took the Ranger to a local shop to have them 'bag it, but when they were done the results were far from what he expected. Joey sought out someone who could really extend the boundaries of his build. This is where Keith Sawyer and the Nfamus crew stepped in and changed the game. Initially, the frame was Z'd, but after further talks and consideration, Joey asked for a one-off back half since Keith had a set of custom Ranger framerails sitting in the shop that were leftover from Tyler Scallorn's past MT cover truck ("Rockered Ranger"; Feb. '08). "A couple days after we agreed on the work to be done, Keith sent me a photo of my truck's original framerails lying in the middle of his shop."
With the Ranger finally low enough for Joey's liking, Daniel from Lucid Paint sprayed the exposed portion of the back half, and after Joey saved a few more pennies, he hired Lucid again to treat the exterior with a subtly styled two-tone paint scheme. Some bodywork had to be redone before the truck was painted since the previous craftsmanship wasn't up to par, but it was a small bump in the road compared to what Joey was facing at square one.
Surprisingly enough though, Joey stayed within the budget he allotted for the build. "I started with the 'bags, a sheetmetal bed, had Infamus do their thing, shaved the handles, stake pockets, and then finished up with paint and the interior. I set up this order because I thought it was the best way to build the truck I wanted without having to redo any steps."
Even though a few steps did have to be retraced, Joey ended up with a clean, classic Ranger that would stand out in any crowd. For more info on Joey's Ford, check out the Lowdown.
Wheels: 20x9.5 Foose Nitrous Black
Tires: 225/35/20 Nitto
Suspension (front): ContiTech 2600 'bags, modified frame to clear 'bag, stock lower A-arm reworked to hold 'bags
Suspension (rear): Triangulated four-link with 'bag on bar, ContiTech 2600 'bags
Control Arms: DJM uppers
Shocks: Nitro drop shocks
Compressor(s): Two Viair 380s
Frame Mods: New rear framerails with flat plate and tubing welded into place, Z'd the front crossmember to lay frame flat on the ground, new tranny crossmember, custom back half
Misc.: EAI switch box, Viair pressure switch, KP Component gauges
Performed By: Nfamus Air Suspension
Shaved: Door handles, stake pockets, antenna, tailgate handle
Body Mods: Sheetmetal bed
Bolt-ons: LOW Ford emblem,
Performed By: Owner, Keith at Nfamus, and Daniel at Lucid Paint
Brand & Colors: PPG Vibrant Series Aqua Pearl and stock Ford black
Misc.: Simple two-tone paintjob on body and back half
Performed By: Lucid Paint
Seats: Stock seats cut to remove the center factory seat, wrapped in black ultra leather and gray suede
Dash: Trim pieces sanded smoothed and painted aqua to match exterior
Misc.: Gun shift knob on standard shifter, custom sheetmetal center console
Performed By: Chad Mahone and Custom Auto Trim
Head Unit: Alpine CDA 9857
Mids & Highs: Cadence ZRS-57 front and rear
Performed By: Owner
Engine: Stock 2.3L
Header/exhaust: Borla muffler
Performed By: Owner
Special Thanks From Owner
"I would like to say a huge thanks to my girlfriend, Felicity, who stuck with me from the beginning of my interest in minitrucks. Keith Sawyer and the guys from Nfamus Air Suspension, Daniel Wheeler of Lucid Paint, Chad Malone for helping with the interior as well as Custom Auto Trim, and a big thanks to my family and my friends on DFWminis."