The Specialty Equipment Market Association's (SEMA) annual trade show in Las Vegas makes a lot of automotive insiders do things they may not normally do -- such as go to Sin City without drinking beer out of a football mug or allowing themselves to sample each and every rosy-hued, cholesterol-laden crustacean at the infamous buffets. There simply isn't enough time, and time is of the essence when dealing with SEMA. While most manufacturers start the testing and buildup months in advance, Whipple Superchargers of Fresno, California, decided to make it interesting: The company built up a Ford Ranger in just two weeks flat.
The high-speed buildup began in Tustin, California, with the purchase of an '03 Ford Ranger Edge prerunner with the 3.0L engine. Richard Ruiz of PPC Custom's then proceeded to lower and 'bag the 'runner; despite the fact that the wrong parts had been shipped, Ruiz did the work in just two days. Lowering a prerunner is no piece of cake; Ruiz had to fabricate a bracket to raise the upper control arms, then he took out the factory coil springs and replaced them with Shockwaves. Out back, the factory leaf springs were ditched and swapped out for a complete Air Ride Technologies four-link system. The air is provided through 1/4-inch line and has a 3-gallon storage tank.
The interior was ripped out and then hauled over to Classic Soft Trim in Fresno, California, where Dennis Patterson of CST had arranged an install. All the factory covers were removed and replaced with a two-tone black and red leather combo. To complete the interior, the crew threw some red leather in the door inserts.
While the interior was awaiting pickup at Soft Trim, Brien Dunn of Madera, California, sprayed the paint. First, the tailgate handle was shaved, then Street Scene mirrors, a Sir Michaels roll pan, handles, and locks were painted to give the truck a smooth appearance. After the 'runner was sufficiently sprayed, the graphics were laid down. The free-flowing tribal flames were sprayed down in PPG Yellow with Blue pinstriping to contrast with the Red backdrop. A Gaylord tonneau completes the smooth exterior.
Following the paintjob, Richard bolted the seats back in and began installing the Rockford Fosgate stereo components. The sound system includes a head unit with CD, a 500-watt amp, 5x7-inch speakers in the doors and rear panels, and an 8-inch sub. Up front, the 'runner rides atop Boyd Coddington 19x8s swathed in Nitto NT555 225/36R19s; out back are BC 19x10s with Nitto 275/35R20s. A Whipple blower provides 8 pounds of boost, and a CGS exhaust system evacuates spent gas, providing a nice throaty tone.
When the vehicle was complete, it was thrown on a trailer and driven into Vegas for the SEMA show. After a chaotic 14-day buildup and an endless ride into the desert, let's hope the crew allowed themselves a little down time to sup on some buffet shrimp and maybe even down a brew encased in faux pigskin.