The Ford Ranger is one of the coolest off-road platforms to build on thanks to the immense aftermarket support that these trucks have. You can take a stock unassuming Ford Ranger of pretty much any year and transform it into a Mega Mud Truck, Sand Dune speedster, Desert Racer, Rock Crawling rig and everything in between.
While these trucks might not be everybody’s cup of tea, they can sure be morphed into the ultimate off-road rig that can take a beating in the dirt and keep on asking for more. We decided to scour our website for some of the coolest Ford Rangers that we wouldn’t mind owning to bring you a compilation list in no particular order of the Top 10 Ford Rangers on the Four Wheeler Network. Check them all out and be sure to click on their titles to see more of these specimens of off-road masterpieces.
We thought this 1983 Ford Ranger with a 5.0-liter V-8 engine with EFI was just a gnarly looking trail rig that looks like it could crawl through the toughest obstacles imaginable without breaking a sweat. You’ll notice that the custom trail bed was built entirely out of wood. How awesome is that? It’s not often you see a real world rig that was built on a budget while putting off-road performance at the forefront.
This 2006 Ford Ranger definitely stood out to us and it wasn’t just because of it’s bright yellow paint but more so the fact that it features a Dixon Brothers Long Travel front suspension with fully functioning four-wheel-drive. Blazing through the desert at high speeds is incredibly fun, but being able to crawl and flex your way through a Jeep trail can give you major bragging rights with the seven-slat grille enthusiasts.
There’s just something cool about a giant Mega Mud truck. While this 1995 Ford Ranger might not be outfitted with a pair of Rockwell axles, it does have some serious 1 ton running gear underneath withstand the abuse of the massive 49-inch BKT Tractor Tires. Power was not left on the back burner however as this Ranger mud rig is ready to put the hurt on any thick bog thanks to its 393 CID Windsor stroker V-8 engine. This is one Ranger that will definitely make you green with envy.
If it appears that this 1992 Ford Ranger is a straight up race truck, that’s because it is. You just can’t go wrong with a Twin I-beam Ford Ranger that was built to not only blast through the desert at high speeds but also do it while putting a hurt on the competition. This particular Ford Ranger features H&M Motorsports equal length I-beams up front and Henslee Motorsports trailing arms out back that cycle 29 inches of wheel travel. As if the massive amounts of wheel travel weren’t enough, the Ranger scoots through the dirt with a 400 hp LS-1 Chevy V-8 engine mated to a built Turbo 400 automatic tranny.
This is one of our personal favorite Ford Rangers and has been for many years. This particular 1989 Ford Ranger was built by Addictive Desert Designs (ADD) and features modified Twin Traction Beams up front that cycle 20 inches of useable wheel travel while the rear soaks up the G-outs with 32 inches of wheel travel and all while being able to do it in four-wheel-drive. One of the details that we really like about this Ranger is the fact that they started off with an older body cab and when they upgraded to fiberglass, the factory front headlights made their way back on. It’s definitely a unique build and all we can do is drool over this work of Go-Fast masterpiece.
When you think about building an off-road rig, you might not consider that you will likely end up having to drive it to and from the trail. That is why we couldn’t help but admire this 1997 Ford Ranger that you see here that was built by Desolate Motorsports for daily driving and weekend chase duties for off-road races. What’s a chase truck, well, in the simplest terms – it’s a truck used to carry spare parts, tools, fuel and anything else needed to keep a race truck going throughout long grueling off-road races. Sure you can build a truck with gobs of wheel travel and a big harry screaming motor under the hood but none of that would necessarily help if it can’t help support a race truck’s efforts. This Ranger features a McNeil Long Travel Twin Traction Beam front suspension and can crawl through tight technical trails to get out to remote pit locations with a whole host of tools, spare parts and even a fuel can with a dedicated mount in the bed.
We’re suckers for old body style Ford Rangers and this 1986 Ford Ranger has just the right amount of over the top race spec parts with a big inch 427 small block Ford kicking out 575 HP under the hood and best of all, it runs on pump gas. While the owner of this truck says he built it to chase Trophy Trucks, we’ve got a feeling he’s got enough suspension and power underneath to run with the big dogs. Of course one of the coolest things about this truck is the sexy sleek lines that give it that classic race truck look. Sure it’s not the La Victoria Ford Ranger (One of the first A-arm Trophy Trucks) that Robby Gordon raced back in the days but it can sure move in a hurry and soak up some gnarly bumps without much issue.
It’s not every day you see a leaf sprung Ford Ranger that can chew through a section of whoops faster than even some linked trucks can but that’s just what you get with this awesome 1989 Ford Ranger that was built by Pete Albano who learned some of his best fabrication skills from the famed Geiser brothers who are known for building some of the fastest Trophy Trucks on the planet. Pete knew that going fast wasn’t just about having a big thumping motor, he knew that you had to have a precise shock setup with proper geometry and tuning to get through sections of whoops faster than the competition. Not surprising, Pete learned a lot about shock tuning so when it came time to build his ultimate desert rig, he left nothing on the workbench and built the Ranger to soak up anything he could throw at it.
How wild can you go when building a two-wheel-drive Ford Ranger? The answer is pretty wild if you’re a dedicated father and son team like Bill Smith and Chuck Virzi who built themselves one heck of a prerunner Ford Ranger that can haul the mail through the dirt while staying balanced in mid-air after flying off of whoops at high speeds. The father and son team were able to achieve this thanks to a nearly mid-mounted engine setup that left plenty of room for the custom A-arm front suspension that cycles 20 inches of wheel travel. If that wasn’t enough, the brilliant blue paint makes this thing stand out like a mirage in the desert.
We couldn’t possible have a Top 10 Ford Rangers story on our website without mentioning one of the coolest projects we’ve ever had at Four Wheeler Magazine. Project RangeRunner started out life as a 2002 Ford Ranger FX4 but quickly morphed into an off-road beast that could eat up the whoops at high speeds or slow down the pace and crawl and flex its way through trails with ease. This truck saw some great power gains thanks to a supercharger that bumped the stout 4.0L V-6 up to 257-HP. A Dixon Brothers Racing long travel suspension system featuring Bilstein 9100 remote reservoir shocks at all four corners helped smooth out any bumps while playing in the dirt.