• JP Magazine
  • Dirt Sports + Off-Road
  • 4-Wheel & Off-Road
  • Four Wheeler

1990 Ford Ranger XLT - Race Ready Ranger

Posted in Features on September 1, 2001 Comment (0)
Share this
1990 Ford Ranger XLT - Race Ready Ranger

Father and son duo Mark and Keith Growe campaign an affordable '90 Ford Ranger in the SoCal Desert Off-Road Race Series. The two live in sunny Placentia, California, not far from our editorial office. Mark is an engineer at a local corporation, and Keith is a fulltime student at California State University, Fullerton. Mark began his off-road fun way back in 1979 when he attended his first SCORE off-road race as a spectator. Since then, he has owned many vehicles, including everything from fullsize trucks to dune buggies. As a very responsible off-road enthusiast, he has forced a life sentence of off-roading on his son. Nineteen-year-old Keith has had an opportunity not too many people get - to be a driver in a Class 14 race truck. Class 14 is a class in off-road racing designed with strict vehicle restrictions to keep racing affordable and fun. It is sometimes referred to as the Run-What-You-Brung class of off-road racing. One of the main rules is that the truck must be street-legal. Since this is the case, another aspect to their racing team is that the two drive the trustworthy Ranger to and from every event they attend, thus emphasizing the true spirit of fun in the prerunner racing class.

This project began when they purchased the Ranger XLT in the beginning of 2000 for $8,000. They picked the two-wheel-drive Ford after many years of watching the Rangers win in the desert. Its proven reliability made for an affordable, competitive desert race truck. The project began with the rollcage, which was put in by Penhall Fabrication in Costa Mesa, California. This masterpiece was created using the highest-quality TIG-welded 4,130 chrome-moly. The cage extends through the cab to the front and the rear of the truck. Penhall was also responsible for the mounting the front Camburg I-beams and radius arms. Damping is limited by class rules to one shock per wheel, and so they went with a King shock on each corner. Sets of Deaver leaf springs brought the rear suspension right up to the rule limit of 18 inches of total wheel travel.

With the major fabrication complete, the father-son duo worked together to complete their project. The engine was the next component to get beefed up.

Due to the rules and reliability, the 4.0L powerplant was left internally stock. Externally, they added a racing-must K&N air filter. The exhaust system was the next upgrade. They bolted up a set of JBA headers and a Flowmaster exhaust to complete the system. The combination has proved to be consistent and reliable for the new racing duo.

The transmission is a stock four-speed automatic. However, they did outfit it with a large remote cooler to keep the temperature under control during those hot desert days. The biggest problem with these little trucks is handling the oversized tires necessary for off-road racing. This truck is no exception with a set of BFGoodrich P315/75R16 Baja T/As mounted on a set of Center Lines with Champion bead locks. They went with what they knew to be reliable - a reinforced Ford 9-inch with a 4.56 rearend ratio. A set of Baker Motorsports hubs fitted with Ford disc brakes just about completed the driveline. They took the driveshaft to Drive Line Services of Orange County where it was extended to accommodate the new long-travel rear suspension. They fabricated custom skidplates to protect their new investment, and the two were on their way.

Some final racing necessities were added to the soon-to-be racing machine. A forever favorite to many off-road racers, a set of Mastercraft seats and safety nets was fitted into the born-again Ford. They combined a PCI communication system with a GPS, an FM race radio, and a driver-to-co-driver intercom so dad can tell son to slow down as he puts the Ranger into orbit. The 25 gallons of Union 76 racing fuel are safely housed in a Fuel Safe fuel cell. Finally, one comfort-from-home feature this truck has is a full-on 400-watt Sony sound system. I wonder who gets to choose the music?

The father and son duo has proved very successful in their first couple events of 2001. Driving to and from each race, they have finished on the top of the podium at the first two MDR series events. They are appreciative of all of the support they have received and ask that you support the names on the truck. While writing this article, all we could think of was how refreshing it was to see a parent put so much effort into a son's future.

Off-road racing has many lessons of responsibility and success that any person could learn from. It is refreshing to see the future generations of Rick Mears and Ivan Stewarts being developed in our sport. Our hats go off to Mark and Keith. Best of luck to you in continuing your perfect record.

SPECIFICATIONS
Owner/hometown Mark and Keith Growe/Placentia, California
Make/model Ford '{{{90}}} Ranger XLT
Suspension Camburg I-beam (front), radius arm, Deaver spring (rear), King shocks (front & rear)
Wheels/tires 16x8-inch Center Lines with Champion bead locks/BFGoodrich Baja T/As P315/75R16
Seats : Mastercraft
Engine : Stock 4.0L V-6
Transmission Stock four-speed automatic with cooler
Additional features Mastercraft window nets, K&N air filter,Flowmaster exhaust, Howe steering box, Fuel Safe fuel cell, {{{Optima}}} battery, Auto Meter gauges, KC headlights, PCI communications system, Sony stereo, Hi-Lift jack, and a Crow five-point seat harness

Related Articles

Comments

Connect With Us

Newsletter Sign Up

Subscribe to the Magazine

Sponsored Content