Try to imagine this scenario. It's ten days before a huge show, in this case it's the Indy Truck Bash, and all those mental sketches you've been drafting must come to life--ASAP! Not only does the body fabrication and paint need to be completed, but the execution of each cut, weld, and spray must be dead-on excellent to have a chance to gain positive recognition, let alone a feature spread in Truckin'. It's hard enough to imagine the extreme stress and probable heart attack that would result from such a situation but Dave Duchnowski, from Parma, Ohio, took on this fantastic feat and actually survived to tell the tale. Surprisingly enough, the process didn't kill him, but to this day he's probably suffering with some sort of posttraumatic syndrome associated with all those 20-hour days he spent while preparing his '97 Ford Ranger for prime time. Once Dave finally convinced himself that he was going to dive into the deep end of the pool with this build there was nothing else for him to do but to close his eyes, plug his nose, and take the plunge!
The first order of business for Dave was to fabricate a chassis capable of some serious truck-to-ground slamming action. The 2x4-inch box tube frame was fabricated and all the necessary goods to complete the radical roller were gathered. DJM beams, custom radius arms, and ContiTech 2,600 pound `bags get the front end low and a Pete and Jake's parallel four-link evens out the rear. Everything was smoothed and painted--clean enough to eat a medium rare, 12-oz Porterhouse off of. A set of 18x7-inch Neeper Haaz wheels have been bolted onto the hubs for a striking , yet understated appearance.
Underneath the custom hood, lies an engine bay likely to be found on a high-dollar hot rod. The fenders, radiator cover, and firewall have been smoothed and painted and the six-cylinder, 4.0L powerplant has received a chrome, custom cold-air intake and BBK throttle-body. A set of Hedman ceramic headers and Flowmaster exhaust also helps with the Ranger's respiratory system.
As impressive as the chassis and engine compartment are, this Ford's real claim to fame is the amazing bodywork, which Dave, along with Barry from Autobody Specialists, in Cleveland, Ohio, so interestingly molded. The truck received a 4-inch body drop and custom wheelwells and they also raised the bedwalls to comply with the change in altitude. The guys crafted a matching set of scallop-style front fender vents and taillights to further separate the truck from the crowd. The doors have been given the suicide treatment, the antenna has been frenched, and the tailgate now opens with a side-swing motion. The Matrix GM yellow paint sets the tone of the truck perfectly given its original and mold-shattering attitude.
With one look inside of the cab, it's apparent that Dave definitely has a deep-rooted appreciation for clean, custom styling. The smoothed and painted fiberglass dash and custom center console are all awesome spectacles and the bald floor is a truly unique touch. The revitalized '67 Ford Mustang fastback seats now sport fresh black leather and grey suede--a nice offset to the lively paint. The B.A.D. steering wheel sits front and center toward the driver seat and radiates a bit more attitude to the already loud and proud interior. A Pioneer head unit is the main hub, which connects the two Audiobahn 600-watt amps, two 10-inch subs, and 6-inch mids to Dave's fingertips.
Although an estimated total of 6,000 hours have gone into building the Ranger, the final push to get everything bolted together was a major test of David's willpower and faith. With his truck and his sanity safely intact, there is nothing else left to do but celebrate the achievement and possibly contemplate the next project vehicle. Don't worry David, we won't be knocking on your door for another ten days--you have plenty of time to cook up something equally spectacular! A special thank you goes out to David's patient girlfriend, his parents, and all of his friends that helped turn his vision into a tangible reality.