It's all burnt up - Steve Simmon's '99 Ford Ranger, that is - like an extraterrestrial hauler streaking through the sky with its front end sheathed in flames. But unlike most UFOs, it didn't land in Roswell. Far from it, this rowdy Ranger's home base is near Texas A&M University, in Bryan, Texas, inside the triangle anchored by Austin, Houston, and Dallas. After three years of hard work from Steve, his wife Sheila, Trey Rutherford, Mike Lapp, and others, all systems were go for this space ranger.
Tangelo Pearl flames from the hue masters at House of Kolor lick the truck's oxford white paintjob as if it were a sweet vanilla ice cream cone. Steve gave his truck classic sport truck styling by shaving the Ford emblems and mud flap holes, and relocating the tailgate handle to the inside of the truck bed. A lockable, fiberglass SnugLid tonneau, Street Scene sport mirrors, a molded roll pan, a Keystone bumper cover, and a Shorty billet antenna contribute to the truck's low-slung ballistic profile. Crystal Clear headlamps and APC Euro taillights cut through the dark of a midnight sky.
Like outer space, Mother Earth can be a harsh mistress, but this Ranger glides right past the cares of this world on Boyd Coddington Timeless 5 wheels, with 17x7-inchers in the front and 18x8-inchers in the rear. Both are wrapped in P215/45R17 and P265/35R18 Kumho tires, respectively. For those times Steve wants to feel the wind beneath his wings, he flips the switches on his Firestone 2500 'bags mounted in the front and F9000 'bags in the rear for a max elevation of 12 inches and a minimum somewhere around the earth's core. Steve built and installed a two-link traction bar for the rear axle with no Panhard. KYB nitrogen-charged shocks ensure a smooth ride.
Under the hood is a stock four-banger with a K&N intake for a little extra mph. That will have to do until Steve decides to finally drop in that 302 he's had his eye on. Barring that throaty rumble he might get from a 5.0L upgrade, he will have to be satisfied with the music of the celestial spheres from his mobile entertainment system. Heading it up is a Clarion DXZ-725 AM/FM/CD player that feeds two MA Audio amplifiers. The first is a 486i 800-watt amplifier that drives the 6.5-inch separates located in the doors and 5x7-inch coaxials in the rear factory locations. A 286i amp pumps 400 watts into the MA Audio 10-inch MA10IL subwoofer located between the Ranger's cut-down stock bucket seats.
Splashes of Tangelo on the dash and doors, a shock of red leather wrapped around the Billet Specialties steering wheel, steely billet A/C knobs, power window, lock switches, and a rearview mirror spike the cab's otherwise charcoal-gray lunar landscape. Tweed adds texture to the seats and headliner.
Steve Simmons is a staunch do-it-yourselfer, but he and his friends couldn't do it all, which is why he leaned on Maxed Out Paint Werx in Tomball, Texas, for the front end flame job, Lapp's Paint & Body in Bryan, for the oxford white finish, and Moonlight Customs in Houston, to lay all the vinyl and tweed. Shout-outs to these guys for an awesome job. That said, Steve is proud of the fact that he and his friends did most of the work on his Burnt Out truck, and that he had the opportunity to skin his own knuckles on his truck for his own ends - not that it's likely to end any time soon. He sees a future for his Ranger that's a few more inches down to earth - a stock floor body drop and 20-inch wheels. Or, maybe he'll do the 302 first. Whatever he decides, he'll keep driving with his car club, Visual Insanity, and traveling the constellation of car shows, such as Texas Heatwave, Showfest, Slamboree, and Midnight Fantasies, and no doubt win a few more trophies along the way.