At first glance you're probably ask yourself where the hell all the rust is at on this Ranger. Look a little closer. You'll see it. Actually, you won't see a spot of rust on this ultra spic and span truck. The metal oxidation you're looking at in the bed, under the hood, and throughout the cab is airbrushed—all of it. Pretty snazzy, right? We think so, and the story behind it is actually kind of funny.
Ronnie Wells tore his truck down two years ago after we featured it here but back then it was rocking marbleized blue paint, which was actually pretty cool. Being a body and paint guy by trade for the last nine years, Ronnie was looking to achieve super straight metal for the deepest, shiniest results possible. But he was also after pulling off realistic rust detailing at the same time. Sounds a bit oxymoronic, but without excellent bodywork, both goals would be impossible to execute to the degree Ronnie demanded. "I stripped the truck down to raw steel by using aircraft stripper (had to do this to get rid of the gobs of extremely thick marble paint). I dug out all the body filler and started over. And as far as the airbrush work, I wanted to something I haven't seen before—a nasty looking illusion of decayed metal." It's almost unheard of to spend so much time (roughly 300 hours in bed work alone) to get the look of a perfectly weathered surface.
Since the whole point of the breaking the truck down to its core was to give the truck a new essence, Ronnie switched up a few more things as well. "I thought why not put in the Cadillac tails that I always wanted. The factory lights were tossed and we made a custom rear skin and taillight fillers. I've always been a fan of color matched wheels, so I just had to use this opportunity to incorporate a new set of billets." The overall intent was to modernize this square body Ranger while maintaining its old school appeal, and in that aspect, Ronnie says that the results have far surpassed what he first envisioned.
We love to see rebuilds of trucks that we've featured in the past for many reasons. Once a vehicle changes owners, it's natural for the new master to change up a few things and call it his own. But seeing an original owner/builder deconstruct a perfectly good show truck in the name of making it better than before is something that always captures our attention. There's an element of renewed vision toward a specific make and model that's undeniably interesting, and box style Ranger fans must be green with envy (pun intended) after witnessing this Ford's metamorphosis.
“I dug out all the body filler and started over.”
1992 Ford Ranger
Ronnie Wells • New Marshall, OH
Wheels: 18x7 Bonspeed Laguna
Tires: 215/35/18 Nankang
Suspension (front): Custom tubular brackets on DJM I-beams, Slam Specialties SS-7 ’bags
Suspension (rear): Custom three-link, Slam Specialties SS-7 ’bags
Compressor(s): York 210 engine-driven
Air/Hydro Accessories: 7-gallon tank, ½-inch lines
Frame Mods: Frame notched for tie rods, custom tubular rear bridge, tubular drag bar
Misc.: Frame painted black, suspension components painted green to match
Performed By: Kirt Graves
Shaved: Antenna, emblems, mirrors, door handles, cab light, taillights, gas door
Bodydrop: 3½ traditional
Body Mods: Frenched license plate, custom hood bubble, full custom rear skin and taillight filler made with an English wheel, sheetmetal bed floor with radiused corners
Bolt-ons: Chrome Ford Explorer grille, clear marker and corner lights
Misc.: ’89 Cadillac tails
Performed By: Owner, Dave Bonin of Bonified Customs, Kirt Graves
Brand & Colors: PPG custom metallic green
Misc.: Realistic rust airbrushing by Tad “Fat Daddy Tadpole” Gallaugher
Performed By: Owner
Seats: Chevy Cavalier wrapped in grey tweed and green vinyl
Dash: Tweed and vinyl
Misc.: Custom center console, painted fiberglass speaker box
Head Unit: Pioneer
Mids & Highs: 6½-inch Memphis Audio
Subwoofers: 10-inch Memphis Audio
Amplifiers: 250-watt Street Edge
Performed By: Brad Hibbs
Engine: Stock 2.3L
Detail Work: Airbrushed firewall, wheel tubs, under hood, and battery cover
Misc.: Kinetik HC 2000 cell
Performed By: Owner, Kirt Graves, Tad "Fat Daddy Tadpole" Gallaugher
Special Thanks From Owner
"Thanks to my grandma Yvonne for purchasing the truck for me back in 2000, my fiancé Sonya, Dave Bonin, Brad Hibbs, Kirt Graves, Tad Gallaugher, Brandon Burrell, Jimmy Neeld, my little brother TJ, Rick Thompson, Tony Thompson from PPG, Dennis Buttrick, Dick’s Automotive, Kinetik, Bonspeed wheels, and thanks to the Lord for blessing me with everyone who have helped me along the way and for keeping me safe while traveling to shows."