1997 Ford Ranger
Craig Wills, Ashville
Description: “Launched in 1982 as a replacement for the aging Ford Courier platform, the Ranger made a splashing debut in the mid-size market with its rugged features and handsome lines, both based upon scaled down properties of the full-sized F-series.
“The combination of utility and economy was a huge hit with consumers as the Ranger led the sales of mid-sized trucks in north America from 1987 to 2004.
“Available in two- and four-wheel drive with many possible configurations (short bed, long bed, step side, four-cylinder, six-cylinder, diesel, extended cab, etc), the Ranger served as a platform for an assortment of other vehicles as well, over the years, including the Bronco II and the Explorer, and even today, the Ranger-based vehicles have an avid following of both two- and four-wheel drive enthusiasts.
“This particular specimen is a 1997 Ranger which originally left the Louisville assembly plant with a 4.0L v/6 and automatic transmission. Since then, it has been augmented with a Dana 44 solid front axle featuring a Detroit locker and full-size Ford trailing arms, 63-inch Chevrolet springs and an Auburn electric locker in the rear, 3-inch body lift, 35-inch tires, custom fabricated front bumper, 10K winch and a host of other improvements and accessories.
“While it is rather civilized on the street, this Ranger is a very capable rig and can often be spotted at local events whether it be cruise-ins or else trail rides at Rock Run Recreation area (near Patton) or Doe Valley (near Windber).”