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Custom Built 2000 Ford Ranger - The Contender

Posted in Features on February 1, 2001
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Photographers: Randall Jachmann

Ever since they could remember, 25-year-old Kevin Davis and his 27-year-old brother Steve Davis - both from Glendora, California - had wanted to drive off-road race vehicles. This year, the dynamic duo was finally able to live out the fantasy of driving a SCORE truck. With sponsorship secured by Superior Communications of Covina, California, they started to build the ultimate Class 7S racer.

The 2000 Ford Ranger was specially built and designed by Lothringer Engineering in San Dimas, California, for the team. Beginning with the truck's interior, the crew at Lothringer gutted and removed all of the sheetmetal so that the 4,130 chrome-moly tubing frame and rollcage could be fabricated. Attached to the rear frame is a 30-gallon Fuel-Safe fuel cell, which holds only 76 Racing fuel for those long races through the desert. The front suspension is a custom-designed and built I-beam system, complete with extended-length radius arms from Camburg Engineering of Huntington Beach, California. The rear suspension features a full-floating Ford 9-inch rearend with 40-spline Sway-A-Way axles and a 6.50:1 ratio differential that was custom-built by Precision Differential, using a Strange modular housing. It is attached to the frame by a 14-pack full race leaf spring setup by Deaver Springs in Santa Ana, California. To minimize the bumps on harsh courses and to provide a smooth and controlled ride, triple bypass 3-inch King Racing shocks with external reservoirs wrapped with Eibach coilover springs grace each corner. The suspension is good for providing 12 inches of front wheel travel and 18 inches to the rear.

With the suspension and frame complete, it was time to focus on the truck's heart and soul - its engine. With one phone call to engine builder extraordinaire, Kevin Robburts, a powerplant that would rival all others was built: a 2.8L, 275hp Ford V-6 with a compression ratio of 11.5:1. Of course, the custom ground Comp-Cam and Offy manifold with a C&J Holley 390-cfm double-pumper carburetor bolted atop doesn't hurt things either. A K&N Filtercharger setup also assists with the engine's performance. Mated to the V-6 is a race-bred C4 Ford automatic transmission built by Steve Benson, using a race-grade torque converter from The Converter Shop in Chino, California. The driveshafts were fabricated with durability and performance in mind and built by J.E. Reel in Pomona, California. Igniting the powerplant is the job of an MSD ignition system and dual Airborne sealed lead acid off-road batteries.

Commissioned to stopping this Class 7S racer are custom-machined and fabricated CNC brake calipers, which grab hold of the 13-inch CNC rotors. The truck's rolling stock consists of a set of 15x7 Mickey Thompson wheels with bead locks to which 35x11.50R15 Mickey Thompson Baja belted tires are mounted up front, while for traction, 35x13.50R15 Mickey Thompson Baja Claws are mounted in back.

Since the truck is a full-time racer, things can get pretty loud and dirty inside the cab. Knowing this, Kevin and Steve installed a Parker Pumper air system to help keep the cockpit a little cleaner and breathable while blasting across the sand. For communication, a PCI race radio with an integrated intercom system was called upon. Obligated with guiding the team from one checkpoint to another is a high-end Low-range GPS system, which is complete with computer display and plotting. Keeping the occupants seated comfortably for those long races are PRP racing seats with five-point Crow harnesses. All interior aluminum work was performed by Lothringer Engineering. To monitor the performance of the engine and the tranny, liquid-filled Auto Meter gauges are positioned in the dash. For added protection to both the occupants and the truck itself, a Phoenix onboard fire suppression system is always standing guard. Situated neatly between the two seats is a legendary Art Carr shifter.

Kevin, Steve, and the rest of the team have been putting the Ranger through the mill. Having finished a respectable Third Place at the Primm 300 the first time they raced the truck this year, and claiming Second at this year's Barstow 300, it is evident that this team has what it takes to be contenders during future races. We will have to keep an eye out for them. Their ambition can be seen at the MDR series races as well as the Best in the Desert series.

SPECIFICATIONS
Builder : Lothringer Engineering,
San Dimas, CA
Make/model : {{{Ford Ranger}}}/two-wheel drive
Wheelbase : 109 inches
Width   :78 inches
Suspension travel (in) : 12 (front), 18 (rear)
Fuel cell : Fuel-Safe 30-gal capacity
Front suspension : Custom-built I-beams and extended-length
radius arms
Rear suspension : 14-leaf Deaver leaf spring packs
Rearend : Full-floating 9-inch Ford
Shocks : Coilovers, fully adjustable triple bypass
King Shocks
Transmission : Ford C4 automatic
Tires : 35-inch Mickey Thompson tires
Engine : 2.8L small-block Ford V-6, 275 hp @
5,{{{600}}} rpm; 11.5:1 compression; MSD
ignition system
Brakes : CNC calipers; CNC 13-inch rotors
Other : PRP racing seats; Crow five-point harnesses;
low-range GPS system; PCI Race Radio's
intercom system; custom-fabricated
aluminum work; Mickey Thompson wheels
with bead locks; PRP tool bags

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