Where do we begin with this one? We could keep up with tradition and talk about the fact that this is the first custom truck Jim Licata has ever owned and all the problems and different shops the truck was taken to during the last five years of its buildup, but that would be boring. Lots of magazines do that already. This is one of those stories where the fun is in the details and not so much the timeline of the truck's buildup. So instead, let's just sit back and stare at the truck for a moment, taking in all the insane mods and drool over this stylish example of a very different kind of sport truck. The DV8 Ranger flexes Mustang power beneath the hood, an incredible amount of custom bodywork, the perfect stance, and an interior to die for. Here's a breakdown of what you can and can't see in this awesome truck.
The genesis of this project sprouted from a chance encounter with John Pryor of Xdreme Toyz in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. John and Jim collaborated on the idea of taking the already 'bagged and shaved mini to a whole other level by combining elements and styling cues taken from several classic American cars. The first mod is so subtle that even many Ranger owners don't notice it. The inside of the grille shell was cut and reformed to mimic that of an old Ford F-100 pickup grille. To cover up the bank of Firestone air compressors used to power the air suspension, John worked for weeks to craft a custom '57 Chevy Bel Air fin that runs the length of the bed. The interior maintains the classic theme with a Colorado Customs steering wheel that is a knock-off of a '57 Ford Thunderbird wheel, and the single fiberglass subwoofer enclosure is made to look like the headlight brow of a Bel Air as well. Even the dashboard was hand-formed, along with the console, and an old-school B&M T-handle shifter was thrown in for good measure and to bang the gears of the Ford C6 tranny. The final touch and really what brings all the classic nuances together is the three-tone paintjob and graphics, which again pay homage to the classic Bel Air bodylines.
Jim's truck instantly caught our eye, even as it was sitting on the trailer at a hotel in Greenville, Mississippi, this summer. We knew we had found something special but had no idea just how cool this truck really was until Jim and John began pointing out all of its uniquely cool features. With the Rat rod-style beginning to take hold in our scene, it's good to also see modern versions of classic hot rods take shape in true sport truck fashion.
Owner: Jim Licata
Location: Summerville, South Carolina
Year/Make/Model: '97 Ford Ranger
Engine/Drivetrain: 5.0L V-8 / C4 automatic / block bored 0.030 over stock / bottom end balanced / Comp Cams roller camshaft / 1.6 ratio rockers / Hastings timing chain / APM connecting rods / Hastings pistons / Seal Power rings / 9.4:1 compression ratio / Edelbrock Performer intake / Holley 750-cfm carburetor / '65 Shelby Mustang headers / B&M shifter / TCI shift-improvement kit
Installers: APM Racing of North Charleston, South Carolina / Jim Licata
Wheels/Tires: 18x8- and 20x8-inch Center Line Avengers / 215/35R18 and 245/35R20 Toyo Proxes 4 tires
Suspension: (Front) Phoenix 2,600lb 'bags / DJM dropped I-beams / Toxic Shocks/ (Rear) Pete & Jakes four-link / Phoenix 'bags / Toxic Shocks / Air Lift 1/2-inch electric valves / 1/2-inch stainless steel hard lines / four Firestone air compressors / 12-gallon reserve tank
Fabricator: Kunfused Kustoms of Gulfport, Mississippi / Jim Licata
Body Mods: shaved everything including the bodylines / FBI tailgate skin and roll pan combo
Body Work: Elite Concepts / Jim Licata / Xdreme Toyz of Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Custom Paint: DuPont custom-mixed colors and House of Kolor Pearl and Tangerine
Painter: John Pryor of Xdreme Toyz
Interior: hand-formed fiberglass dash / door panels center console and subwoofer enclosure / re-covered factory Ranger bench seat / Colorado Customs steering wheel
Upholsterer: John Pryor of Xdreme Toyz
Audio/Video: Infinity 6.5-inch component speakers in the doors / Memphis Audio dual voice coil 8-inch sub in custom enclosure / Memphis Audio five-channel, 1,400-watt amplifier