At this year’s 2020 Detroit Autorama we saw a lot of unique, creative and awesome automotive engineering come to life, and this 1969 Ford Ranger is an excellent representation of those creative qualities. With an Austin chassis, extended roof, newly engineered hatchback, carbureted 429 C6 engine and shiny quicksand color; this one-off Lone Ranger was definitely getting some attention.
We spent a few minutes with the builder, Mike, from Kyker’s Rod and Kustom, as he talked us through the initial conception of this uniquely constructed, custom truck, and the build process highlighting the details of this one-off truck named Lone Ranger.
Rick: All right, this is Rick Drewry with Classic Auto Insurance. I’m here at Detroit Autorama 2020, and I’m here with Mike at Kyker’s Rod and Kustom?
Mike: Yes, sir.
Rick: All right, Mike’s going to tell us a little bit about this very cool, Ford Ranger, behind us. You got to tell me, when did it come into the shop and what kind of condition was it in when you got it?
Mike: Well, this idea hatched itself about five years ago.
Mike: We started building on it a little over two years ago. We were looking for a donor pickup truck.
Mike: This actually started life as a ’69 F100, long-bed pickup.
Rick: You’re kidding?
Mike: No, sir. We shortened, put a full-frame, Austin chassis works frame under it.
Mike: People came up and asked us, “Is it a Bronco?” “No, it is not. It’s a one-off.” We wanted to build something that we thought Ford would have built, back in the day.
Rick: Very cool. Yeah.
Mike: The roof is actually off of a ’72 Ford van. We extended the roof ribs over into the top of the cab of the pickup truck, tied them together, that gave it a little bit of strength, plus gave it a line.
Rick: All right.
Mike: The back hatch is actually the back glass part of the original truck cab. It’s been widened and stretched, the window opening stretched open.
Rick: That is so cool. Now, where’d the idea come from?
Mike: The guys, we just started talking about a vehicle. We wanted to do a one-off to bring to Detroit, to shoot for a Great 8.
Mike: And that’s how the idea got started. My buddy, Keith, who owns Kyker’s Rod and Kustom. He said, “You know, I love the front of those old Ford trucks, the late ’60s, early ’70s.” So that’s how the thing got started.
Mike: And so we started looking for, like I said, for the donor truck, looking for a donor van because we started doing some dimensions and stuff and that’s how we came up with the idea of the brand thing.
Mike: We wanted to keep the drip rail thing. Most people shave them out. We wanted to keep it to look like something Ford would do.
Rick: Right, factory.
Mike: Actually, the engine thing, we talked about a Coyote in a six-speed, which would probably be killer to drive-
Mike:… but that wouldn’t have been something Ford did back in ’69.
Rick: Right. So what’d you go with?
Mike: We went to a 429 with a C6 behind it. It’s actually carbureted and not fuel injected.
Rick: Even better.
Mike: But it sounds wonderful. I’m telling you, it’s got a killer sound.
Rick: Yeah, nothing’s better than the big block anyway.
Mike: Yeah, true. Yeah. I love the sounds of the big block. That’s my thing.
Rick: That’s cool. Now, what kind of suspension are we running on?
Mike: It’s got an Austin chassis, works full chassis under it.
Mike: Oh, yeah. Yep. We had to modify some stuff, but that’s what we started with.
Rick: All right. Who did the interior for you?
Mike: Speedway Seat Covers from Johnson City, Tennessee.
Rick: That is very sharp. The interior is very sharp.
Mike: Thank you so much. Thank you so much. Ray does a good job.
Rick: Yeah, yeah. So how’d you come up with the color? Did you come up with a color you thought Ford would do?
Mike: Well you know, the pastel colors are starting to kind of make a comeback.
Mike: And back in the day, Ford had a color like that, a tan looking color.
Mike: They had the light green if you remember, and the light blues and stuff.
Mike: So we looked at a pallet and we narrowed it down to a gray and a tan looking color and came up with this. This was actually a late model, Toyota pickup truck color.
Mike: Yep. It was called, quicksand, if I’m not mistaken.
Rick: Okay. It looks like it should be a Ford color though.
Mike: Well actually, when Ford re-introduced the Ranger, we already had the first coat of paint on and now they’ve got a tan looking color. We were just a little bit early on that.
Rick: That’s all right, you beat them to the punch.
Mike: Well, that’s okay.
Rick: Yeah. Well, that is so cool. It’s a gorgeous truck.
Mike: Thank you so much.
Rick: And I’m sure it’s being judged well. It has to, because the finish, that’s impressive. What I’m looking at is the glass and everything, the way that everything fits. It’s off the charts.
Mike: Thank you so much. I appreciate that.
Rick: Yeah. Well done man.
Mike: I appreciate you taking the time to talk to us, and coming by and seeing us.
Rick: Yeah. Now, do you have a website or anything?
Mike: Nope. Not so far.
Rick: Kyker’s Rod and Kustom, where at?
Mike: Telford, Tennessee.
Rick: Okay. All right, remember that.
Mike: My buddy’s got a business card if you would like that.
Rick: I will get one.
Mike: All right.
Rick: All right.
Mike: Thank you so much.
Rick: Thanks Mike.
Mike: Appreciate it.
Rick: Great job.
Mike: Thank you.
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