The Slam’d lifestyle began for Gary Donkers as it does for so many others that are bitten by the custom bug. He started working on one project that soon ended up on the back burner as his interests shifted. One thing led to another and he soon found himself traveling down to the States to pickup this 1995 Ford Ranger. Things quickly began to spiral out of control with the new build that was just “supposed to be something fun to hold him over” and before he knew it all of his time, energy, and funds were being funneled into this black beauty you see laid out before you.
Photos: Mike & Jesse of Dub Dynasty | Words: Jason Ballard
Although the Ford Ranger was a complete build that certainly didn’t mean that Gary wouldn’t make it his own. Like any pre-built vehicle it was in need of some repairs and tweaks, but the fun really began when Gary decided to have some major mods done to help it stand apart from the previous build. During the first year of ownership Gary added suicide doors to the truck. Not content with this heavy mod alone, he decided to change up the color. After the second summer attending shows throughout Canada and the US, Gary tore the truck down for a full rebuild. The goal was set to have the rebuild completed for the Mega Speed show in March 2013. The front end started with an S-10 front clip featuring Michigan Metal Works control arms and Little Shop Manufacturing center and steering links to ensure the truck would perform better than factory. From the firewall back, a 2×4 chassis was laid down to keep things simple and clean. In the rear, Gary built a custom 3-link and utilized Slam Specialties SS7 ‘bags and Fox shocks. To complete the custom chassis a set of 22×8.5 and 22×10-inch Intro Vista wheels were bolted up to give the Ranger the perfect hot rod look and stance. Wilwood brakes were the icing on the cake for the stopping power needed for this “re-arranged” Ranger. The chassis became a testament for the quality Gary was after, and with a solid foundation it was only going to get better from there.
No radical mini would be complete without matching the exterior and interior with the quality of the chassis. The entire truck was shaved leaving only the mirrors and hood cowl visible. The front clip was upgraded to a 2011 frontend. When it came time to add some pigment to the metal Gary chose GM black to show off the ultra straight body of his Ranger. Pete’s Auto Paint laid down the base coats and clear and Christian Melchlor handled the pinstriping on the tailgate, inner doors and fender wells. The bed of the truck was was completely rebuilt to showcase the rear suspension components and the gas cap was molded into the bed floor for another subtle detail adding to the super clean look. The subtle touches and attention to detail throughout is where Gary went a bit overboard once this was no longer his “daily driver” and the end product truly speaks for itself.
Most folks would be content with their creation at this point, but not Gary. He had his eyes set on a killer driveline because after all, he still drives this truck. A Ford Racing 306 engine featuring aluminum GT40 heads was stabbed between the framerails. A host of Edelbrock, March Performance, MSD, and Pacesetter goodies complete the performance package allowing this Ranger to prove that it’s not just all show and no go. When it came time to add the cherry on top, Gary knew exactly where the interior was headed. He retained the bench seat for a traditional pickup look. He proceeded to smooth the factory dash and paint it red to match inside of the bed. Classic Instruments gauges ensure the vitals are kept in check and a Flaming River column mated with the Billet Specialties steering wheel was just what the doctor ordered. An Alpine head unit was installed along with Kenwood mids and highs and two 12-inch Memphis Car Audio subs were installed in a custom fiberglass enclosure to round out the cabin amenities.
Gary has followed the scene extensively and draws inspirations from minitruckers and custom enthusiasts all across Canada and the US. One such example that Gary looks up to is Phil Fowler and his clean Ranger are what drove Gary to build the best truck that he could. Contributing to the scene we all enjoy and being able to be a driving part of it, with his club mates in AcrophobiA, is what brings a cheerful grin to Gary’s face. Gary has a host of friends and companies that helped him finish his dream build so make sure to checkout the Slam’d Specs below.
Owner: Gary Donkers
Vehicle: 1995 Ford Ranger
Hometown: Ontario, Canada
Front: S-10 clip with Michigan Metal Works control arms, Little Shop Manufacturing steering links, Slam Specialties SS7 bags, 2-inch drop spindles
Rear: Custom 3 link, wishbone link with Slam Specialties SS-7 bags
Fox shocks with reservoir
Dual Viair 480s and AccuAir VU4 manifold
2×4 3/16-inch frame from firewall back
Performed By: Owner
Shaved: Everything but the mirrors and cowl
2011 Ranger front clip
Performed By: Owner
Paint: GM black
Pinstriping on tailgate skin, inner doors and inner fenders
Performed By: Christian Melchior and Pete’s Auto Paint
Recovered bench seat
Smoothed and painted dash
Classic Instruments gauges
Flaming River steering column, Billet Specialties steering wheel
Alpine head unit
Kenwood mids and highs
Two 12-inch Memphis Car Audio subs
Memphis Car Audio amps
Custom fiberglass enclosure
Performed By: Owner and Ed Godin
Ford Racing 306
Ford Racing GT40 aluminum heads
Ford AOD overdrive trans
Pacesetter header with custom 2.5-inch stainless
Toyota 8-inch rear with TruTrac diff and 4:11s
March Performance Pulleys
MSD Performance ignition
Performed By: Owner and Ed Godin
Special Thanks from Owner:
“First I need to thank my Mom and Dad for letting me use their facility to set up my shop. I also appreciate all of their help and input along the way. I also would like to thank my AcrophobiA family, especially Matt, Cory, and Ed for all their help on this build. To the many other people that had a hand in it, you know who you are! Thanks to all the guys in the truck scene who constantly push their mechanical and creative abilities to the limit to help the scene continue to grow, and to anyone who brought us beer during the four and half month build, thank you!