Explore the versatile world of Ford Ranger trucks, their industrial charm, and the transformative power of customisation, featuring the post-apocalyptic “Anubis.”
Overlooked by many, loved by Tradies the world over, while holding a somewhat cult civilian following.
Synonymous with landscapers, scaffolders, and as being abused fleet yokes – they’re usually seen carting around loads of garden waste, towing some sort of chipper or heavy machinery; or with a bed full of groundworks essentials, and a big ol’ mixer ratchet strapped in for good measure.
With different variations on the platform and it’s spec varying depending on which market they were destined for, the ‘International’ platform (made for everywhere apart from the US and Latin America, wherein the international market Ranger was called the Courier instead. The ‘international market Ranger was also called the Courier in Australia and South Africa. Confusingly the Courier in Brazil and South America is a LWB Fiesta based Ute, and in Europe was the predecessor to the Transit Connect! (*Cue head scratching and eye rolling!*) We’re specifically referring to the face lifted ’02-’06 PG model of the 1st Generation Rangers.
(There was also untold various trims, specs, and name variations of the Mazda B- Series that were destined for 130 countries across the globe. In North America, the 1995 US built and marketed Ford Ranger, separate from any models mentioned here, was badged and sold solely as the Mazda B- Series, bizarrely!)
Historically the platform has been a shared, joint-venture between Ford and Mazda, sharing assembly lines, as well as almost all trim and parts with the famously bombproof Mazda B-Series.
This generation isn’t very different from it’s predecessor, featuring a facelift with bigger more efficient lights, and a grille fascia resembling that of the USA’s well loved F- Series trucks. In 2006 Ford introduced a 2.5 Duratorq unit with a new variable- geometry turbo to cut lag and increase the torque band, along with a dual-mass fly wheel to reduce vibration.
The model came available with a range of Duratorq lumps; legendary diesel engines that seemingly last forever, as well as a Mazda 2.6 GCE6 petrol 4 banger up until 2001 (pre- facelift gen.)
With Australia being bestowed with a version of the truck boasting an, also legendary, Cologne V6!
The unit was initially made in Thailand, then shipped to South Africa where it was built up with Cologne parts, resulting in a freshly reengineered 4.0l SOHC Cologne V6 good for 207hp and 238 lb- ft of torque.
The truck also came with retuned shocks to help deal with the weight of an iron 6 cylinder block, as well as improving ride quality.
Frankly we’re a bit jealous we didn’t get it!
The Ranger features a solid, good old fashioned body on ladder chassis construction, with a front body and separate rear section that can be used for various bed applications. This makes them hugely adaptable for various commercial roles, even spawning mini camper, motor home-esque, variants in the North American market.
Luckily this also makes them susceptible to heavy body modification and custom beds!
This means they can be turned into rock crawlers, green laners, trail munching overlanders, or all out post apocalyptic, gun toting, tactical monsters like this impressive example here:
Built from the ladder up with excellent attention to detail, form, function, and vibe by the welding wizard that is CJ Prewitt (and a few helping hands of course.)
Named as the God of Death- Anubis, here we’ll let the creative mastermind himself tell you more in detail in our interview about this audacious, positively bodacious, 50.cal wielding, dystopian hill flattener!
M|M|S: Hey CJ, thanks for the feature and chatting to us! Now correct me if I’m wrong, but Rangers are more synonymous with tradesmen, landscapers and farmers. It’s not too often you see them modified and customised is it? What made you decide on the platform?
CJ: It’s an absolute pleasure! That may be true to an extent, a good example is how my ranger started its work life; it was a council truck that was used to dig graves and flower beds!
However, I see more and more jacked up rangers on the road today – more so the newer ones… Ya know the ones with a ‘bin lid’ on the bonnet? I’ll get chew for saying that though, I’m sure!
They’re good all round tools for sure and very capable off road for long a wheel based truck. I think that’s why they are attractive to the trade persons; they hold their own, are solid and reliable, spare parts are really available.
Now, any vehicle comes with their own unique problems, but I have been rather lucky. Other than the normal clutch and brakes issues, not to mention the odd prop shaft that’s shat itself; the most chew i’ve had was surface rust on the chassie when I first began the build.
It was bit of a shed when i got it but it was my shed! Its’ certainly not a car, and its definitely not going to set any speed records… but I’ve grown rather attached to it!
M|M|S: These workhorses have any amount of aftermarket parts out there, usually for a specific use or to help with some specific task. Of course the usual roll bars, bull bars, spot lights and the like- but what’s the aftermarket like for these if you want to make a sick over-landing waste lander project like Anubis here, or even just a green lane lurker or mall crawler?
CJ: If you want to go big or go home, you’re really looking at importing from ‘merica!
If I ever win the lottery no one would know; but they would see a full blown trophy truck on my drive! Whatever your end goal is or what ever budget you’re on- you can make it work, if the force is strong enough! I’ve seen a ford focus car fully off road in the middle of nowhere with gnarley mud terrain tyres, light bars, and a tumble dryer exhaust duct pipe as a snorkel! it had no business being there, but it was! And thats what it’s all about! You make it all yourself, buy second hand then chop and make fit.
There are more and more places now that I’ve seen that are jumping on the off road fabrications market, making it easier than ever for people to get into it!
3. These Ford Rangers are usually seen dripping in detritus, shorn with rust and dropping to bits. Covered with ghost signs from businesses past, faded patches and bodged repairs. However, you seem to have remedied all of that with style and panache! So tell us, despite tin worm and age related gremlins, how sound are Rangers mechanically, underneath all that possible rot? i think regardless what vehicle you have your going to run into problems and how deep the rabbit hole goes is often shows on how it was treated in its past life. i have seen same age rangers is a real sad state and iv seen older in better condition then mine was, i guess that goes for enything on the road, i was lucky enough to be in the position where i had tools and equipment to sort the nastys out or at least get some much needed help with the mechanical side of things from friends such as AP Serivies and Mazda dudes, they really have been a huge contribution factor on getting Anubis back on the road, i personally could not have done it without there help under the circumstances i was under at the time.