Tommy Pearson is very methodical when it comes to building a truck. On top of that, the man is patient. It took him eight years to get his Ranger to this level, and he spent most of that time studying the scene, closely examining the builds of others, and preparing a blueprint that would finally evolve into a truck worthy of praise.
It was in 1999 when Tommy first took notice of customized trucks. He had already purchased his Ranger and started doing little mods here and there, but nothing too extreme. A friend of his was in the middle of building an S-10 and was planning to show it one weekend, so Tommy decided to tag along. “The show was Low Roller’s End of Summer Bash. After seeing all those trucks on the floor and all in one place, I was instantly hooked,” says Tommy of his first real exposure to the world of custom minitrucks.
While at the show, Tommy noticed a clean, maroon, extended-cab Ranger that was parked with a club called Down and Dirty, and he admits that truck was his real inspiration: “At the time, this truck was over the top. I told myself someday I would be able to park next to this guy and have the owner compliment my work.” So Tommy locked his Ranger in the garage for the first real modification the truck was going to see: a traditional bodydrop. “After we were done, things went downhill fast. There were some issues with the head on the stock 2.3L hitting the firewall, so the engine had to be taken out.” At this point, there was really no sense in dropping the mild engine back in, and Tommy knew just where to look for another one. “My uncle had a bunch of V-8s lying around, but he suggested I take a 383 Chevy stroker that was in one of his beat-up old trucks.”
With a beastly powerplant locked down, Tommy and his pal with the S-10, John Shepherd, built an equally badass chassis to complement. The money Tommy had set aside to finish out the truck quickly evaporated, and once the frame was completed, the bodywork that was started wasn’t completed. Luckily, a friend referred him to Greg Neiman, a body and paint professional by trade, who finished straightening out the Ranger and applied the paint too. That assistance reenergized the build, and after some interior work and a few periods of downtime, Tommy had himself a truck he could proudly park next to any show star. "The truck’s real coming out party was at the End of Summer Bash, the same show that got me started. I really didn’t expect to win any awards since my class was deep with amazing trucks, but I ended up leaving tied for First Place and the Best of Show truck trophy. I had heard people say this before, but I was truly speechless."
1994 Ford Ranger
20x8.5 Center Line Archers
245/35ZR20 Nitto NT555
Rebuilt Toyota clip, Slam Specialties RE7 ’bags
Ford 9-inch with 3.50 gears, 31-spline Currie axles, and mini spool
Factory Toyota uppers and lowers
Custom square-tube air-tank chassis, over 60 feet of round tubing, fully painted
Factory Toyota crossed-drilled and slotted rotors up front; out back factory Ford drums
Owner and John Shepherd
Handles, cowl, cab seams, third brakelight, tailgate, roll pan seams, back of cab, front of bed, top of bedsides, and gas door
Traditional 3 1/4 inches
Rockers on cab and bed fully smoothed, firewall smoothed and moved back 3 inches, wheeltubs molded to core support and firewall, and Grant Kustoms roll pan welded smooth
2-1/2-inch LMC Truck cowl hood, ’00 Ranger tails
Owner, John Shepherd, and Greg Nieman
Brand & Colors:
DuPont Saphirschwarz BMW Black, DuPont Silver Grey, House of Kolor Passion Pearl and Red (flames)
’88 Mazda B2200 bench
Auto Meter American Platinum
All factory plastic and floor covered in black tweed, black suede headliner, Billet Specialties window cranks, pedals, and steering wheel, Lokar shifter, one-off center console with billet cupholders and ’bag switches, LMC Truck rear view mirror
383 Chevy stroker with 11:1 compression
Edelbrock Dual Quad Air-Gap with 500-cfm Edelbrock carbs topped with a Billet Specialties oval air cleaner and K&N filter
Header/exhaust: FlowTech full-length tube headers with 3-inch flange, 3-inch Super 44 FlowMasters
Chevy Turbo 350 with a 2800 B&M stall converter, clutches, and plates, and a TCI manual valve body
Ford 9-inch narrowed 3 inches with 3.50 gears, 31-spline Currie axles, and mini spool
March Performance serpentine pulley and brackets, Lokar throttle and trans cables, MSD Pro Billet distributor with 8.5mm MSD wires, MSD 6A digital ignition control box with Blaster coil, all hardware mounted with ARP bolts
Base of air cleaner was re-milled and cut down to fit under the hood, Pete Jackson gear drive, ported and polished double hump heads, SRP forged pistons and crank
Owner and Joe Vermillion
Special Thanks From Owner
"I would like to thank my family, especially my grandparents and my mom and dad, my uncle Joe for giving me the engine and teaching me how to install it, John Shepherd, Greg Nieman for all of his work, all my friends who helped, and last but not least my fiancée Lucy for the support, and the cutest little girl ever, Daddy loves you, Magz!"