When Andy Gibson decided to build a vehicle of his own, he wanted to build something that he was used to building, a street rod. He looked for one that wouldn't require a butt-load of cash to buy and one that wouldn't require thousands of dollars to make road-worthy. Andy needed a daily driver that would get him from point A to point B, reliably. When push came to shove, he went for something that was more reliable. Even though he wasn't able to buy a rod like he wanted, he wasn't going stray from the style that he loves. He's built several custom street rods alongside his dad, but this would be his first venture into customizing a late-model with a Blue Oval badge. Although the journey of getting to where he's at today with his Ranger has been a learning process, he never strayed from his custom roots and turned this late-model Ranger into something showgoers can't help but stare at.
Andy began making the Ranger custom by first modifying the suspension. Like any custom rod builder, he did his homework to find out where to get quality suspensions parts that would work best on his Ranger. Andy found himself on the phone with the guys at SuicideDoors, ordering parts that would plant his truck solidly on terra firma. He rolls with full air-ride suspension and uses Toxic shocks to further smooth out the Ranger's ride, with excellent results.
Next, the body of the Ranger was massaged and changed to Andy's exacting specifications. Once he had the basic idea of what he wanted in the custom-body-mod department, he got busy removing a few unneeded items. The truck was then smooth and custom enough to be rolled into the paint booth for a fresh coat of bright red, over the basecoat color of black. With his truck covered in color, Andy felt that the truck was still missing a little somethin' somethin'. He turned his attention to the hood of the Ranger and gave it a little more flash. He masked the hood so the center spear was left exposed, then came in and sprayed some of the black base to break up the red and finished it off with some pinstriping. After all of the bodywork and paint duties were complete, the Ranger was smoother, brighter, and more appealing than ever. It even sported some simple yet effective pinstriping, which gives the truck more personality than a plain black and red two-tone scheme.
The interior of the Ranger was addressed by trying to swap out the original bench seat in favor of a pair of buckets. That idea went sideways and frustrated Andy so much that he ripped them out and took a Sawzall to the factory bench, making his own buckets. These new seats were custom-upholstered, along with the door panels, and the dash was smoothed, painted, and given more pinstriping. A new DVD head unit with flip-out 7-inch monitor was installed, along with new speakers, a 10-inch sub, and an amplifier, which are perfect for watching DVDs while awaiting judging at shows. Once the interior was complete, the whole truck received a massive detailing before Andy began showing his truck at major events along the East Coast. Happily, Andy has won at most of the major shows he's attended since getting his truck into shape. He enjoys showing and hanging out with his fellow AcrophobiA club members.
With his Ranger done (for now), we wonder what Andy will change next. One thing is certain: True custom trucks are never finished. There's always something we'd like to do to take it to the next level. If the truck changes over the next few years, we'll step in and shoot it again.
Andy Gibson / Wilmington, North Carolina
'99 Ford Ranger
2.5L I-4 / five-speed manual transmission / modified Honda Civic intake / Flowmaster 40-series muffler / custom-bent cat-back exhaust / Optima RedTop battery
By: Andy Gibson / Meineke, in Wilmington
Front: Wheel Vintiques 15x7-inch Gennie / '46 Ford center caps and beauty rings
Rear: Wheel Vintiques 15x8-inch Gennie / '46 Ford center caps and beauty rings
Front: Diamondback 235/60R15 Classic Whitewalls
Rear: Diamondback 245/60R15 Classic Whitewalls
Front: SuicideDoors 'bag cups / Slam Specialties RE-6 air springs / DJM upper and lower control arms / custom-mounted Toxic shock
Rear: SuicideDoors triangulated four-link / Slam Specialties RE-7 air springs / Monroe shocks
Accessories: Eight 1/2-inch E Valves air valves / 1/2-inch DOT air line / two Viair 480 air compressors / 5-gallon air tank / custom-made switch box
Chassis: C-notch for the tie rods / round step notch / relocated gas tank
BY: Andy Gibson / Jason Debose / Jim Furr in Wilmington
Shaved emblems, stake pockets, and tailgate handle / Street Scene bumper cover, side-view mirrors, and grilles / Ford Edge hood / roll pan
By: Andy Gibson
PPG Black and Land Rover Red / custom pinstriping
By: Andy Gibson / East Coast Artie, in Wilmington
Modified stock bench, wrapped in black tweed and vinyl / smoothed and painted door panels and dash with black suede accents / black suede headliner / Viair black-face gauges / vintage Ford emblems / two gauge pillar pod
By: Andy Gibson / Scott Roberts, in Wilmington
Jensen VM9411 flip-out monitor DVD player / Lightning Audio 5x8-inch speakers / Sony Xplod 450 amplifier / Kenwood Solobaric 10-inch subwoofer / custom sub enclosure
By: Andy Gibson / Scott Roberts
His family and friends / fellow club members for all their help and support / Sundrop and Bojangles