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A 1994 Ford Ranger For Racin' and Pre-runnin' - Masterpiece in Metal

Posted in Features on June 1, 2015
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Photographers: Boyd Jaynes

From the times of Manny Esquerra to present day, the Ford Ranger has proved itself to be one of the most enduring platforms in off road racing. From full-blown racers, like Keith Smith’s 1994 model presented here, to untold pre runners around the world, the Ranger is hugely popular thanks to its being tough, capable and easy to modify.

Smith, of SDR Racing of Hermosa Beach, CA., wanted to have a killer race truck for a season or two, and then use it to pre run the various racecourses that he’ll find himself on. Those roles are two areas where the Ranger excels.

The 1994 Ranger chassis was initially started by NewLine Products in Anaheim, CA., which is the sister shop to SI Motorsports of Santa Fe Springs, CA. After having the interior cage built and original Ranger frame modified at Newline, the project sat for several years and went through several owners. When looking to upgrade and have a new race truck built, SDR racing saw the potential in the project and purchased the chassis that had been acquired by SI Motorsports.

SI Motorsports then started where NewLine left off and completed the rest of the chassis, shocks mounts, motor mounts, front and rear suspension, and everything in between. Prior to assembly, every part on the truck including the entire chassis was either electroless nickel-plated or powdercoated by PSC in Chino, CA to save on prep time and unnecessary wear on parts.

The front end utilizes SI Motorsports equal length I-Beams/ Radius arms that features equal length steering. To those, as set of SI Motorsports Billet king pin spindles were attached and a King Shocks 3.0 coilover and one 3.5 6-tube bypass shock were installed.

The rear suspension utilizes an SI Motorsports bolt on 4- Link, to which a Currie custom fabricated 4130 housing, modified by SI, is bolted. A Currie custom 10-inch third member with 5:14 gears is what’s mounted to the housing.

King is again the shock brand of choice with King Shocks 3.0 coilover and 3.5 7-tube bypass shocks found per wheel. Speaking of per wheel, the brakes on all four corners are identical CNC 630 4-piston per caliper units, all of which are pumped with a Brembo master cylinder.

The Currie 4130 housing was modified by SI Motorsports to work with their bolt in 4-Link rear suspension system. CNC 4-piston calipers put the squeeze on the rotors.

Again, identical on all four corners are the Ultra 17-inch Beadlock wheels that have been shod with Toyo 37x13.50x17 Open Country tires. Suspension travel is a respectable 20-inches in the front with a solid 25-inches in the rear.

The stock steel cab has been enhanced with a fiberglass front clip and rear fenders. LA Wraps of Torrance, CA. did the “paint job.”

Rigid Industries LED front and rear light bars are used to light the way. There’s only the one bar on the front push cage, but we’re sure that a few more Rigid units will be in place before long.

A look from the front shows the SI Motorsports I-beams and the Rigid LED light bar.

No one would ever think that the interior of a Ranger is spacious, and it seems that the Sparco race seats, along with the full cage, takes up most of the room. The other large interior item is a custom-built aluminum dash by Curt Beam of CRB Alumifab that is truly a work of art. Housing dual Racepak instrument panels, along with the Lowrance GPS unit and Winters shifter, it’s actually sculpted to give extra knee clearance for the occupants; a good thing when bouncing around the dez. CRB also built the aluminum radiator protection shroud, door panels and window covers. The beautiful dash also houses the communications system, which consists of a PCI Intercom and Kenwood Race Radio as well as a switch panel, all of which was wired by BDR. The Mastercraft race harnesses keep a hold of the occupants while the driver holds onto a MOMO steering wheel and works the custom 4130 SI Motorsports brake pedal assembly. The fresh air system comes from PCI.

The one area where the Ford purist will howl is with Smith’s choice of powerplant: yep, it’s a GM LS3. A 2014 edition, it displaces 420 cubic inches and is fed with a F.A.S.T LSX-R fuel injection system. Dual UMP Air cleaners that are part of the custom cold air intake system built by SI Motorsports provides the clean air while a set of custom Stainless Steel headers and exhaust was fabricated by Mike Davis.

Putting out 610 horsepower, the GM LS3 is fed clean air with duel UMP cleaners that are housed in a custom SI Motorsports air intake system.

The GM LS3 was built by Redline Performance of Anaheim, CA., and produces a dyno proven 610 horses. To keep the water cool, a Ron Davis radiator is used and Fluidyne takes care of the hot oil. A huge Fuel Safe fuel cell (with a Kevlar bladder) takes up most of the room in the area where the bed would be, but provided plenty of fuel. That fuel is moved thanks to the Aeromotive pumps and filters.

A full race-ready Culhane Turbo 400 transmission puts the power to the rearend, which is done via a Drivelines Incorporated driveshaft. The trans is cooled with another Fluidyne unit.

What was begun by NewLine Products and finished off by SI Motorsports, has turned into one of the finest Rangers that you’ll find, and we’re sure that the SDR Racing family got what they were looking for. This is a meticulously built race truck that will last for seasons to come and, hopefully for SDR, championship after championship.

Curt Beam of CRB Alumifab produced the beautiful aluminum dash, into which he placed the Winters shifter, dual Racepak instrument panels, the Lowrance GPS unit, the PCI Kenwood comm system and assorted switches.

Manufacturer: Ford
Wheelbase: 127-Inches
Overall Length: 17-Inches
Overall Height: 72-Inches
Track Width: 86-Inches

Manufacturer: GM LS3
Displacement: 420ci
Builder: Redline Performance
Horsepower: 610
Induction: F.A.S.T Fuel Injection
Air Filter: Dual UMP With Custom SI Motorsports CO Intake System
Exhaust: Mike Davis Custom
Cooling: Ron Davis Radiator
Wiring: BDR
Transmission: Culhane Turbo 400 Race
Rear End: Currie Custom Fabricated 4130

Front Suspension: SI Motorsports Equal Length I-Beams / Radius arms
Rear Suspension: SI Motorsports Bolt-On 4-Link
Shocks/Front: King 3.0 Coilover and 3.5 6-Tube Bypass
Shocks/Rear: King 3.0 Coilover and 3.5 7-Tube Bypass

Wheel Travel:
Front: 20-Inches
Rear: 25-Inches

Front: CNC 630 4-Piston Calipers / Brembo Master Cylinders
Rear: CNC 630 4-Piston Calipers / Brembo Master Cylinders.

Wheels: Ultra 17-Inch Beadlocks
Tires: Toyo 37x13.50x17 Open Country MT Race

Bodywork: Steel Cab With Fiberglass Front Clip And Rear Fenders
Paint/Graphics: LA Wraps

Rigid Industries LED Front And Rear Light Bars

Seats: Sparco
Harnesses: Mastercraft
Steering Wheel: Momo
Dash: Racepak
Shifter: Winters
GPS: Lowrance
Radio/Intercom: PCI Intercom and Kenwood Race Radio.
Fresh Air System: PCI Race Air

The LA Wraps flat black treatment looks great while the Rigid Industries LED light bar gives all behind a good look at the Ranger.
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