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$350k 1989 Ford Ranger “Luxury Pre-Runner” Has a Big Block Off-Road Secret

Ford Ranger "Luxury Pre-Runner" on AutotopiaLA 61 photos
Photo: AutotopiaLA/YouTube
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Starting the video description of something like this build with “this is not your ordinary Ford Ranger” should qualify as the biggest understatement we’ve ever seen from Shawn Davis and his AutotopiaLA channel on YouTube. Frankly, we really understand why he couldn’t come up with something a little more perspicacious.
If we are to judge this video (which is embedded below, as always) backward from that funny-looking moment (at the 13:58 mark) when Rob from RJ Fabrication is smiling all relaxed, we easily get it. After all, Shawn wasn’t able to comment anything other than “I don’t know what else to say except for: holy hell, that was badass.”

Now, let’s start with the beginning, which sees the duo safely in front of the garage driveway at Rob’s house, where Shawn delivers the usual presentation. Only this time around (and we’ve seen plenty of crazy customizations on this channel) there isn’t anything too common about this 1989 Ford Ranger that once belonged to his brother-in-law and would have been sold as a work truck for a mere 1,200 dollars.

Instead, as we can easily see with our own eyes, after some years of work (they say around four and a half) it has turned into something that can only be described as a “luxury pre-runner.” It’s a black monster that actually hides a Big Block Chevy secret under the menacing hood and behind those F-150-inspired front lights.

According to the builder and owner, it’s not an LS; instead, we’re dealing with an old-school Mark IV coming in at around 460ci and some 422 horsepower on the company Dynojet. Naturally, the presentation wouldn’t be complete without Shawn pinpointing from the 2:10 mark the 39-inch tires or the side exhaust before steering the discussion in the direction of the titanium color-coded chassis and Fox suspension, among others.

The interior of this Ranger behemoth (it’s quite heavy at around 6,200 lbs/2,800 kg) can be seen from the 4:05 mark, and it’s the main reason why this build has been labeled a luxury pre-runner—while Rob just calls it “the office, so I wanted it to look good inside.”

No argument on that, as the aluminum dash, full upholstery, and the beautiful cage do the trick without our help. Just make sure to skip past the 7:55 moment when Shawn asks about the price (it’s $350k for an exact replica, more or less for other specific requirements) directly to the 8:11 mark when the action kicks off with a ride-along.

Initially, it’s a short-lived one because the street-legal monster gets pulled by the police after immediately going off-road when encountering traffic. But, thanks to a reasonable officer, it’s all settled, and the Ranger can do what it was destined to—from the 10:50 mark it’s all jumping, roaring, and raising all the dust on the trail.

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About the author: Aurel Niculescu
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Aurel has aimed high all his life (literally, at 16 he was flying gliders all by himself) so in 2006 he switched careers and got hired as a writer at his favorite magazine. Since then, his work has been published both by print and online outlets, most recently right here, on autoevolution.
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