A Chat With The Man Selling A 268,000-Mile Mad Max-Inspired Ford Ranger

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Photo: Spencer

I know, I know. It looks hideous. But don’t discount this 268,000-mile Ford Ranger for sale on Craigslist just yet. It actually looks like a well-done zombie apocalypse machine — if there’s such a thing as a “well-done zombie apocalypse machine.” Let’s take a closer look and hear from the owner.

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A reader sent me this amazing Craigslist post for a 1999 Ford Ranger, and I’d be a fool if I didn’t share it with you all. I mean, just look at the front bumper. What’s going on here?!

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Photo: Spencer

I like the thoughtful inclusion of rubber end-caps for the bumper protrusions; without them, I can imagine parking jobs resulting in lots of damage. Not to the Ranger, of course, but to infrastructure and other vehicles. I also applaud the overall look of this custom bumper. It’s strange, yes, but doesn’t appear cheap or poorly fabricated, which one might expect of something that, let’s be honest, is mostly just there for show.

The integrated winch is seamless, the tow loops (shown in the top image) don’t look particularly strong, but they look good, and everything is symmetrical and painted. I’d have extended the headlight protectors to the center to protect the grille and cooling module from damage, but otherwise, I have to admit that I can appreciate this hideous zombie apocalypse bumper.

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I like that the windshield bars are removable, because I have some visibility concerns:

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Just as wild as the front bumper is what’s going on in the rear. Look at these four sharp protrusions!:

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Reversing into another vehicle would almost certainly create four giant holes in the other car’s doors or bumper cover:

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There are also light covers in the rear, as well as two gas cans in the bed, a roof rack, and a big toolbox:

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I called the owner, Spencer who bought the 1999 Ranger as his first car back in 2012 when the vehicle had only 152,000 miles on the clock. There it is in stock form below, before it received the custom fabricated parts and a front-end from a more modern Ranger. “One thing happened to another...I never really planned for it to get to that point,” Spencer told me about his wacky vehicle. He said he drew inspiration for the vehicle’s looks from one of his favorite movie series. “I was always a huge Mad max enthusiast. I like the post-apocalyptic theme kind of stuff.”

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Spencer also likes Ford Mustangs, which is why he threw a Boss 302 “C-stripe” on the side of his truck. I think it works beautifully:

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Spencer says he did most of the fabrication work himself, though when things had to be tied into the frame — things like the winch and front brush guard — he had a shop do it just to be safe.

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Photo: Spencer
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You can see the brush guard above that serves as the main structure for the Mad Max-inspired front bumper. Spencer had a shop install the guard and winch, and he had the fabricator weld the top section that leans forward to protect the vehicle from deer strikes.

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Photo: Spencer
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Spencer welded plates to the brush guard, and then stitched on the front protrusions after mocking them up with cardboard:

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Photo: Spencer
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Perhaps just as cool as the exterior mods are the interior alterations. The seats, Spencer told me, came out of a 1988 Jaguar, and received custom covers and custom frames. Those frames, and pull-out drawers from an old filing cabinet, allow room for under-seat storage of items like clothing and food:

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Check out the water and Chunky Soup cans. Spencer says his significant other gives him grief for eating Chunky Soup cold, which I think is fair. That’s just bizarre:

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Photo: Spencer
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Spencer built the Ranger’s center console using a plywood backbone, replacing the split bench center seat that existed before. There’s a piano hinge at the base of center stack that allows for the center console lid to flip towards the dash, revealing lots of storage. The rear part of the center console has another lid that flips towards the bed of the truck.

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Here’s a look at auxiliary switches, outlets, cupholders, and the Android-based aftermarket stereo system:

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Photo: Spencer
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Spencer says the Ford truck’s 3.0-liter V6 engine is new, and the four-speed automatic transmission has been rebuilt, and comes with a lifetime warranty. Check out the listing to see a full list of replacement parts, which — along with labor and the cost of the truck — amount to about $23,000. The vehicle is listed right now in the Seattle area for $15,000.

Spencer, now in his lower 20s, bought this Ranger when he was 15, and now, looking at the zombie apocalypse-themed machine, says he “didn’t think it was gonna turn into this.”

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I, for one, am glad it did.

Update (March 12, 2021 5:33 P.M. ET): This story has been updated to remove identifying information per Spencer’s request.

Sr. Tech Editor, Jalopnik. Owner of far too many Jeeps (Including a Jeep Comanche). Follow my instagram (@davidntracy). Always interested in hearing from engineers—email me.

DISCUSSION

themoose719
The Scorpion King

A lot of weird projection and shit in this comment section. Remember folks: it’s just a kid selling a truck he did some mods to. Not a klan member.