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Under the Influence

Posted in Features on July 24, 2002 Comment (0)
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Under the Influence
Contributors: Skip Baker

One look at Buddy Range's '89 Ford F-350 and it becomes clear that he is under the influence of someone or something. In his progressed state, he is under the spell of both man and machine. His condition began the same way all infectious conditions begin, with a few precursor symptoms. In Buddy's case, it was the addition of a few aftermarket bolt-on accessories to his truck. Next thing he knew he had met someone named Matt Heady and he began to transform his 150,000-mile, strong daily driver work truck into a lean, mean, trail-conquering machine.

The first thing he did with his buildup was to remove the factory Ford 351ci V-8 with a five-speed manual transmission and replace it with a 460ci Ford big-block with a modified Ford C6 transmission. Before he could even begin to think of bolting the '69 429ci block, which was bored 0.030 over, blueprinted, and balanced by Peak Performance Engines of Fenton, Missouri, he had to locate engine mounts from another 460ci-equipped Ford.

While he was searching for the mounts, the crew at Peak Performance Engines installed a Lunati camshaft, Eagle connecting rods, and TRW forged pistons wrapped with Speed Pro rings, all of which help to create the 11.5:1 compression ratio. The top end of the engine was treated to a set of ported and polished aluminum Cobra Jet heads and a Victor Jr. intake manifold.

Delivering fuel to the 1,030-cfm Barry Grant carburetor is a high-volume fuel pump and custom-built aluminum fuel cell. Ignition duties are provided by an MSD Ignition system with an MSD billet distributor and Blaster coil. The spent exhaust gases are routed through a custom-made pair of Jet-Hot-coated aluminum headers to a 4-inch collector muffler.

A custom-modified Ford C6 transmission built by Matt Heady of Cedar Hill, Missouri, was paired to Buddy's V-8. With a total of six direct clutches, a hard wrap band with a Super Servo, with a billet apply arm and a manual valvebody with trans brake, let's just say that the word bulletproof comes to mind.

Assisting with shifting chores is a Trans King reverse-pattern shift-improvement kit and a Cheetah reverse-gate shifter. The Dynamic 4,000-stall torque converter finalizes the power delivery to the Ford 10.25-inch rearend with 4.10 gearing, which was taken from a '90 F-350. The transfer of power to the front Dana 60 with 4.10 gears from the same '90 F-350 donor rig is routed through an aluminum Borg-Warner transfer case which was also massaged by Matt Heady. The driveshafts for front and rear were fabricated from chrome-moly tubing and completed with Spicer U-joints. To prevent axle wrap, a pair of modified L&L ladder bars was put into place.

Since the truck had a 150,000 miles on the suspension, Buddy felt as though it was time for an overdue improvement. He installed a 6-inch Trail Master suspension lift with triple Skyjacker shocks up front and rear Skyjacker kicker shocks. To assist with steering duties, dual Trail Master steering stabilizers were installed. Mounted to the truck are massive Mickey Thompson Baja Belted tires wrapped around 16.5x14-inch Weld Racing Road Hawk wheels.

With the intention of driving his rig another 150,000 miles, Buddy held no punches when it came to the truck's interior. Immediately, the factory Ford seats were removed and replaced with heated power seats from a '99 Dodge Ram which were re-covered in black leather and personalized with Ford racing logos on both headrests by Stan McCoy of Fenton, Missouri. Providing him with a minute-by-minute account of his engine's vital statistics are a full complement of Auto Meter's liquid-filled units.

Completing his truck and literally giving it an updated look, Buddy said farewell to the '89 sheetmetal and replaced everything right down to the grille, the front and rear bumpers, and the headlights with items from a '95 model-year F-350. According to Buddy, all of the pieces just bolted right into place with little or no modifications having to be made. Once everything was in its place, Stan McCoy of Paint With Attitude of Fenton, Missouri, applied the stunning black and white shredded checkered racing flag paint scheme.

With the truck completed, Buddy doesn't seem to be under the influence as much. Could it be that what was influencing him has gone or has it just gone into remission until the next time he gets an idea to be creative? As the good doctors say, "We'll just have to wait and see what happens."

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