The word “prerunner” gets thrown around a lot. But essentially, it just refers to a vehicle that pre-runs off-road race courses. For that reason, prerunners are often built very similar to their racing counterparts, since they’ll be facing the same conditions, but also save the actual race trucks from potential damage and wear. Regardless of that “secondary” role, this Ford Ranger prerunner is every bit as wicked as the real thing.
This particular Ford Ranger prerunner is a bit of a vintage customer build, having been put together back in 1999. Today, the truck remains pretty much the same as it was two decades ago, and is still going strong. That, despite the fact that the truck’s owner routinely wrings it out at the Silver Lake Sand Dunes in Michigan.
The Ranger rides on 37 inch Gladiator X-Comp All-Terrain tires with a serious suspension consisting of 2.5 inch coilovers with three-inch bypass shocks and motor home beams with F-150 spindles and a three-link rear. Under the hood lies a Ford 302 V8 that’s been punched out to 331 cubic-inches and fitted with AFR heads and a custom carb. Output is rather stout at around 500 horsepower.
Wheel travel comes in at 21 inches up front and 26 in the rear, while a tube chassis and Speedway Engineering rear end further fortify things underneath. The interior is much as we’d expect from a race truck, meaning it’s got only the basics and nothing else – racing seats, five-point harnesses, and a dash filled with gauges and a newer Lowrance GPS tracker.
Today, this vintage Ford Ranger prerunner lives on as an awesome example of what every desert racer wanted twenty years ago. And that’s certainly not something we come across every day.