Ricky Nelson's '96 Ford Ranger was meant to be...
|Some may call if fate, others consider karma, you could even call it destiny. There is some ultimate goal that every custom truck owner diligently seeks in the quest for customization. Ponca City, Oklahoma resident Ricky Nelson is just one example of a sport truck enthusiast on his quest to the inevitable.|
|Ricky's trip toward fate began the day he wrecked and totaled his 1996 Ford Explorer. An unexplanible chain of events began when he purchased this Ford Ranger in September 1996. He claims, "I bought it with no intentions of 'ticking' it out..." but we all know how the story goes. He soon succombed to the fascination of the endless possibilies he could do to his truck.|
|Some of the first modifications were the most dramatic. The truck was given a
complete makeover with an arrary of aftermarket products including a Stillen bumper cover
complete with a set of PIAA driving lights, a Sir Michael's roll pan, an Astro tonneau
cover, a set of fiberglass running boards, and a set of Lund extended cab window covers.
Street Scene Cal-Vu sport mirrors were bolted on, and a Wings West wing was hung on the
To add a touch of style, the stock exhaust was hacked and given two sets of Monza exhaust tips. A billet antenna was bolted on the fender. One of Ricky's most recent additions was a set of Weld "Flame"-style wheels to match the paint job, with Parnelli Jones tires.
Ricky added GTS carbon fiber headlight covers and a set of V-tech "Rough Cut" taillight covers. The engine was given a K&N filter to improve performance. The windows received a custom "Flamed" window tinting at the local tint shop in Ponca City, OK.
|After all the aftermarket parts were bolted on Ricky
was satisfied, but only for a short time. He soon decided his truck needed something more.
That is when the stereo installation began. The Ranger spent every bit of three months at
Installations Unlimited, a local audio store, also in Ponca City. The first process of the
installation was to totally gut the interior and do extensive sound deadening. Double
layers of Roack Kill sound damping material were used on all interior surfaces. A Stinger
150 amp, high-output alternator was installed with an upgraded charging cable for better
current transfer, and an 0t guage cable running from the battery under the hood to the one
in the bed. In
the cab there are a set of Kicker RS5.2 speakers in the Q-form kick panels and in the
factory locations in the doors, and a set of Kicker F6.5C-4 speakers in the factory
locations in the extended cab. A set of Kicker ND25a tweeters were isntalled in the air
vents and angled for optimum imaging. The grills covering the tweeters were made from
expanded metal, the covered with speaker cloth.
There are four Kicker Solobaric 15-inch subwoofers in the bed of the truck. The factory double-din radio compartment was modified to a single-din and a Clarion DRX-9375 CD player was installed. There was no passenger airbag installed by Ford, so Ricky decided to make it into a crossover access panel/display. A plasma cutter was used to cut a hole in the back of the cab and front of the bed. In the bed, again, extensive sound deadening measures were taken. First a layer of Road Kill was applied then spray-on sound deadening was added. All of the cabinents in the bed were fabricated out of 3/4-inch MDF. The bed lining had to be reinforced with 5 gallons of fiberglass resin, then it was upholstered and a mirror was installed on the under-side.
The amplifier rack in the bed holds four different amplifiers with heat sink links between to give a unified look. Kicker XS100, ZR460, ZR600, and ZR120 were the amplifiers of choice. The ourboard processor in mounted under the amplifier rack in the bed.
|After the stereo installation was complete, Ricky told himself, "NO MORE." That did not last long. Four months later the truck was brought in for a custom paint job. Dalbert West, owner of Wild West Studios, who was recently voted one of the top twenty-five painters in the nation, applied the airbrushed artwork. After Ricky game him a basic idea of what he wanted, Dalbert took off. Three weeks later the truck was done. Ricky and his wife's names were applied to the side window covers.|
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