A Rigid Industries 40-inch LED light bar lights up the night.
35x12.50R17 General Grabbers on 17x8-inch Method Racing Wheels beadlocks provide traction.
Author: Craig Perronne Photos: Icon Media
We will admit that it is all too easy to drool over the insanely high-end luxury prerunners such as Robbie Pierce’s beautiful Jimco Racing creation featured in this month’s Masterpiece In Metal. In reality though, most of us sadly know that short of winning the lottery or being adopted by Steve Menzies (call us Steve!), we will never be able to afford one. Dreams are great, but sorry to burst your bubble, it just isn’t going to happen.
However, there is still plenty of hope for us more-average Joes as a functional and fun prerunner doesn’t have to cost well into six digits. When looking around for a good example of a real world prerunner that someone with a decent job could actually afford, we realized the answer was right in front of our eyes in the form of Brian Binkert’s 1993 Ford Ranger. As the owner of Bink Designs and Bink Photo, Binkert relies on his Ranger to scout many desert courses for the best photo locations, and it also sees plenty of use just for fun.
Brian was initially attracted to the Ford Ranger because they were both cheap to purchase and easy to get travel from. And like many of the builds across the Dirt Sports Nation, his Ranger has gone through many phases. “I originally bought it stock when I was 16 years old. I went though about every stage you can possibly go through with it, from a basic lift kit, to a long-travel suspension to four-linking it with a full cage. It has basically been a project since I was 16,” notes the 31-year-old Binkert.
To turn it into its latest inception, Binkert decided to rebuild the Ranger with the intent of making it more comfortable. “I wanted a more luxury-style prerunner, but within a budget,” explains Brian. “I wanted comfort when I am down prerunning in Mexico trying to find spots for the best photos, and to add some amenities that weren’t originally part of the truck.”
While he was at it, Binkert went through a lot of the truck and refreshed or rebuilt those components that needed some love. “I beat it up pretty good. The rear housing was bent, so we straightened it. We rebuilt and replated the shocks,” says Binkert. For this month’s InStudio, we take a closer look at Binkert’s real-world prerunner in its latest form.
To update the look of the Ford Ranger in the front, Binkert turned to FiberwerX’s Ford Ranger-to-Raptor one-piece conversion that completely replaces the hood and fenders. Anzo projector headlights and a factory Raptor grill complete the radical transformation. To match the front, Ranger-to-Raptor TT bedsides from FiberwerX were grafted into position along with Anzo Raptor taillights in the rear. The FiberwerX fiberglass fits any 1993-2012 Ford Ranger, and once in place received a custom paint job using a scheme designed by Bink Designs.
Larger F-150 rotors and stock Ranger calipers are used to bring the prerunner to a complete stop.
The venerable I-Beam front suspension was built by FX Fabrication with 1-ton kingpin full-length beams and extended radius arms. A Fox Racing Shox 16-inch stroke coilover and 2.5 16-inch stroke double-bypass shock help achieve the 21 inches of wheel travel. Also from Fox is the hydraulic bump stop that minimizes the harshness of bottoming out. Like all Ford I-Beam front suspensions, it is bombproof and has survived constant beatings over the years.
The tidy aluminum work that encapsulates the rear was performed by Alumi Craft, while all the powder coating was done by Powder
The rear of the Ranger was completely back-halved, and 1.5-inch 4130 chromoly tubing runs throughout the whole truck -- including the cage. With the stock rear frame out of the way, FX Fabrication went to work creating a four-link with massive trailing arms that cycles 30 inches of wheel travel. Fox Racing Shox 16-inch stroke coilovers and 18-stroke 3.0 triple bypass shocks control the movement. A Desert Specialties 300M anti-roll bar keeps body roll to a minimum, helping the Ranger in the corners.
Wilwood four-piston calipers and 12-inch rotors supply stopping power in the rear.
After years of abuse, the original Ford 9-inch Currie housing was bent. As part of the rebuild process, it was straightened and filled with fresh 5.14 gears and a spool. Stout 40-spline Strange axles add additional strength to the rearend which is fed power by a C4 three-speed automatic transmission. Further up the drivetrain is a mostly stock 4.0L V6 that breathes better with the help of an AEM air filter and Magnaflow headers and exhaust.
Twin spare General Grabbers give peace of mind.
A custom FiberwerX carbon fiber dash houses a Racepak display and Lowrance GPS unit
With one of the main goals of the Ranger’s refresh being to make it more comfortable, El Cajon Auto Trim fitted additional soundproofing along with an upholstered headliner, which makes hearing the custom Kicker sound system much easier. Advanced Audio installed the Alpine head unit along with the custom door panels and speaker boxes. Providing both comfort and safety are MasterCraft Safety Sportsman Race seats fitted with MasterCraft Safety five-point harnesses. A Vintage Air air conditioning unit keeps the occupants cool and happy on toasty Baja preruns.
Vehicle: 1993 Ford Ranger Owner: Brian Binkert Builder:FX Fabrication and Complete Fabrication Purpose: Prerunner to scout photo locations Significance: Proving a nice prerunner doesn’t have to cost a fortune