Illustration for article titled At $18,000, Will This Cobra-Swapped 1989 Ford Ranger Be Lone No More?
Photo: eBay
Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

There’s a simple joy in slipping on a perfect-fitting pair of jeans or finishing a book that ends just the way you hoped it would. In that vein, today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Ranger has been modded in a manner that should find approval from most of us. Let’s see if its price also gets our endorsement.

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Do you remember the ad from VW in which a quartet of squeaky clean youths cruises around on a warm night in their Golf convertible? They commune with fireflies, revel in their freedom, and eventually ditch a noisy party, all whilst enjoying Nick Drake’s wistful Pink Moon as their soundtrack.

I remember it fondly, and I’m pretty sure many of you do too. That would help explain the 88 percent Nice Price win afforded yesterday’s 2006 BMW 325Ci convertible. At just $3,300, that droptop no doubt engendered similar visions of magical nights under the stars, and open roads that stretch until morning.

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Illustration for article titled At $18,000, Will This Cobra-Swapped 1989 Ford Ranger Be Lone No More?

On the other hand, if what you really wanted out of life was tire-eating burnouts and looking like a bad-ass on cruise night—while still practicing safe physical distancing, that is—what might you instead choose?

Well, if that just so happens to be how your jib has been cut, then you might just kitten to this amazing-looking 1989 Ford Ranger custom rebuild. Dubbed a “Lightning” by its seller—using Ford’s factory designation for the SVT version of their F150—this little pick-um-up truck is far more interesting than that name implies.

Illustration for article titled At $18,000, Will This Cobra-Swapped 1989 Ford Ranger Be Lone No More?
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The truck comes in a fresh coat of sinister black and wears a custom hood with a center bulge led by a pair of aggressive air inlets. All the forward-facing lamp lenses ahead of that have been given the white-out treatment and the mirrors have been shaved for a clean if impractical look. Black chrome five-spoke wheels fill the wheel arches and are wrapped up in 295/35 -18 inch Nitto tires.

Astride each front fender sits a Cobra badge, and that jacked-up snake represents what you’ll find when you pop that be-scooped hood. Taking up residence in the engine bay beneath is a fully rebuilt ’93 Ford Cobra 302 sporting a slew of performance parts and just 150 miles on the clock. I don’t think that’s even enough time to fully extract all the assembly lube.

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Illustration for article titled At $18,000, Will This Cobra-Swapped 1989 Ford Ranger Be Lone No More?

The small-block mill rocks ported and polished Cobra heads, an aftermarket cam, big injectors, and a high-pressure fuel system to feed them. Aftermarket cooling system parts keep everything from getting hot under the collar and it all looks well sorted and professionally installed.

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Behind the hot mill sits a rebuilt T-5 that gets its marching orders through a Hurst short-throw shifter and sends them on to a Yukon DuraGrip 8.8-inch Positraction pumpkin in back. The suspension has been lowered and aftermarket-infused to make better use of the drivetrain’s capabilities, while the brakes have been upgraded to SN95 Cobra discs all around.

Illustration for article titled At $18,000, Will This Cobra-Swapped 1989 Ford Ranger Be Lone No More?
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The interior hasn’t been left out of the upgrades either. It sports clean grey and black upholstery, split-bench seating, and all aftermarket gauges both in the dash and creeping up the driver’s side A-pillar. I love A-pillar gauges, and so should you which makes that a plus. A Momo three-spoke wheel greets you upon entry, along with a black ball knob for the Hurst shifter and aluminum covers for the three pedals down where you rock your Crocs.

Illustration for article titled At $18,000, Will This Cobra-Swapped 1989 Ford Ranger Be Lone No More?
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The only thing that seems somewhat out of place here is the carpet toupee on the dash cap. That looks a little half-assed, especially in comparison to the remainder of the truck which all comes across as fully baked.

Other pluses here include a clean title, a hard tonneau on the bed, and the fact that the builder cheekily decided to leave the brushed trim panel on the tailgate intact. That’s hilarious.

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Illustration for article titled At $18,000, Will This Cobra-Swapped 1989 Ford Ranger Be Lone No More?

Perhaps not so funny is the price. At $18,000 this no cheap-ass backyard cobble-up. Not having driven it, it’s hard to say just how successful the builder was in making it all come together cohesively, but as a static piece of performance art, I’d say they were pretty successful.

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You may disagree, however. After all, that’s why we’re here, right? What do you think, is this completely rebuilt hot rod Ranger worth that $18,000 asking? Or, for that much, would you leave it alone?

You decide!

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eBay out of Redwood City, CA, or go here if the ad disappears.

Help me out with NPOCP. Hit me up at rob@jalopnik.com and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.

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