"Take your time, and screw what everyone else thinks," comments Robert Southerland about the insight he's taken away from the experience of building his first full-custom vehicle. "I've always loved minitrucks, even before I could drive, but then I lost track of things for a few years."
Robert isn't club affiliated, and with the exception of a little help from his buddies, he single-handedly cut into his factory-fashioned 11-year-old truck with only one goal in mind—to make it look like the image he crafted of it in his brain. Simple enough, right? Well, the sentiment is spot on, but physically accomplishing that task proved to be the tough part. "I lowered the truck three different times before 'bagging it. I shaved the body and rocked it in primer for a while before performing more bodywork. The interior came along, followed by little odds and ends to clean it up, and lastly, I Z'd the frame 2 ¼ inches, which should've been one of the first steps. I wish I would've stock-floor bodydropped it too, but I'm still not done with it."
By now, you should get the impression that Robert is a regular dude who wanted something more for his Ford. Not having a deep bankroll or a list of sponsors meant he had to dig deep in his gut and wallet to get what he wanted. "I don't plan to stop with this truck. I want to haul the family in it and hit as many shows as I can."
Take your time, and screw what everyone else thinks "
Owner: Robert Southerland
Ride: 1999 Ford Ranger
Hometown: Council Bluffs, IA
18x8 Center Line Edge Millennium Series
225/45/18 Riken Raptor
Suicidedoors 'bag cups, Air Lift Dominator 2,500 'bags
Suicidedoors triangulated four-link with Air Lift Dominator 2,500 'bags on bars
Two Viair 380s, one York 210 EDC
3/8-inch SMC valves
Z'd 2 1/4 inches, boxed from the cab back
15-gallon Jegs aluminum fuel cell
Door handles, gas door, cab seams, third brakelight, fenders, mud flap holes, cowl and wipers, antenna, firewall
Frenched license plate, framehorns raised 1 inch and sectioned 1 1/2 inches
Handmade billet steps, '06 Ranger taillights
Bed caps smoothed and painted, bed floor raised 6 inches
Brand & Colors:
PPG Deltron Bright Atlantic Blue
Jesus Tirado, owner
Shaved, smooth, and painted
White Ford Explorer Sport Trac
Door panels painted, handmade 1/2-inch tube center console
Mids & Highs:
Kicker 5-1/2-inch components
Kicker 10-inch Solo-Baric L7
Engine: Stock 2.5L
Intake: Handmade SS with K&N filter
Header/exhaust: Dumped before axle
Misc.: Two DieHard cells, trailer fenders under hood
Performed By: Owner
Special Thanks From Owner
"Thanks to my wife Rachel and daughters Olivia and Sophia. I love you guys! Jeremy Roseland for an extra hand or opinion when I needed it, everyone else who lent a hand, Jesus Tirado, and to all the guys who are building crazy trucks at home in small garages while working regular jobs and taking care of their families."