1997 Ford Ranger: Ultimate Ranger Rehash

    20 Years Later, This Midsized Ford Is Still Going Strong

    Ali MansourPhotographer, Writer

    If you’ve been a longtime subscriber to 4-Wheel & Off-Road, this 1997 Ford Ranger may look familiar, so don’t worry that your memory is playing tricks on you. It was once a project vehicle that first hit the pages of the magazine in 2007. I originally built it when I was feature editor. Over the decade, this regular-cab shortbed has seen quite a few adventures. In fact, it has been rolled and rehashed a few times since it last graced these pages in 2012.

    After it was sold to the current owner, Kelly Baucom, the Ranger went back under the knife at Low Range 4x4. There the 1-ton axles and massive 39.5-inch-tall Pit Bull Rockers would find their way under the battered sheetmetal that lines the truck. We were fortunate enough to catch up with Baucom as he was testing out a new shock upgrade on the truck. We were able to check out the evolution of the build and everything that’s been done since it left the magazine spotlight.

    Specifications

    1997 Ford Ranger
    >Drivetrain
    Engine: 3.0L Ford V-6
    Transmission: 5-speed manual
    Transfer Case: Atlas II, 5.0:1
    Front Axle: High-pinion Dana 60, Detroit Locker, Warn hubs, 5.38 gears
    Rear Axle: GM 14-bolt, Detroit Locker, 5.38 gears
    >Suspension
    Springs & Such: Custom 3-link with track bar front with 3-inch-lift Rusty’s Off-Road TJ coils, Skyjacker 6-inch-lift leaf springs, and Bilstein 5100 shocks
    Tires & Wheels: 39.5x16.5R17 Pitt Bull Rockers 17x9 ATX Slab beadlocks
    Steering: PSC Motorsports hydraulic assist
    Other Stuff: 15-gallon RCI fuel cell, custom exo-cage and bumpers, Rough Country LED lights, Optima YellowTop battery, Safari Snorkel, Smittybilt XRC 9,000 winch, Trail-Gear sliders, Tom Wood’s driveshafts, Solid diff covers, Warn hubs