Would you have the guts to tear into a brand-new truck? Most of us don’t. We buy something used on the cheap, or we wait until the factory warranty is expired before performing major surgery. Then there are guys like Chris Charlie Brown Walker.
"I bought my ’88 Ford Ranger brand new from Fairway Ford, Chris informed. Dick Landfield, owner of Fairway Ford, was also the owner of Enduro Racing and had Dave Ashley and Dan Smith driving for him. Another interesting tidbit is that the day I picked it up from Fairway was the same day Mickey Thompson was murdered."
Two weeks later, the brand-new Ranger went under the knife. The first-stage mods aren’t what you see on these pages. Instead, the truck began to take its present shape after Chris went to the SCORE San Felipe 250 in 1991. "I saw the Plank Motorsports four-link kit down there. It was actually being displayed by Brett King. As soon as I got back from the race, I contacted Plank Motorsports and ordered a kit."
In addition to the Plank four-link, the Charlie Brown Ranger is ’caged from stem to stern, courtesy of the owner himself. Walker built the ’cage using Autofab bushings at the frame. The ’cage also has a bolted juncture at the back of the cab, allowing the cab and bed sections of the ’cage to come apart if needed.
Up front, you’ll find a combination of formidable off-road hardware, and one huge off-road hindrance. The formidable off-road hardware is a set of Threat Motorsports I-beams combined with a pair of Walker/Picone-built radius arms. This front suspension gives 20 inches of front travel to the Ranger. The off-road hindrance is the anemic stock 2.9L V-6. "I’ve never broken anything on this truck, Chris told us. The stock engine is a big part of that. It doesn’t put out much power, so the rest of the drivetrain holds up well."
As this is being written, Chris is knee-deep in a 4.0 SOHC Ford V-6 engine swap using the guts from a rolled Explorer Sport Trac. Even with the power infusion, we’re sure that Chris’s Ranger will still hold up. It’s one of the best-built, most streetable linked-and-’caged Rangers we’ve ever had the pleasure of coming across.
"Good grief!" is a fitting thing to say when you take a look at this Ranger up close. We’d like to add this: You’re a good man, Chris Walker.
Vehicle: 1988 Ford Ranger Supercab
Owner/Hometown: Chris Walker, Yorba Linda, CA
Engine: Ford 2.9L V-6 soon to be replaced with a Ford 4.0L SOHC V-6
Induction: stock EFI
Transmission: Modified A4LD automatic with a gate shifter
Front suspension: Threat Motorsports 5-inches-wider-per-side, equal-length I-beams, Chris Walker/Picone radius arms, Sway-A-Way/RSP tuned coilovers, Fox airbumps, 20 inches of travel
Rear suspension: Plank/S.I./Newline four-link, frame kicked about 6 inches upward for more compression travel, Sway-A-Way/RSP tuned coilovers, Fox airbumps, Speedway engineering 31-spline full-floater Ford 9-inch rearend. 26 inches of travel
Tires: 33x10.50R15 BFG All-Terrain T/A
Wheels/Backspacing: Ultra 15x7
Owner’s Favorites: keeping it street legal, built-in storage space in the bed, hot-rod A/C system, and all the good friends that helped along the way: Dom, Jeff Lothringer, Trent Hauber.