Double Trouble: Time Traveling With BJ’s Bronco & Ranger

Rounding out Issue 10 and our Truck Special is this Time Traveling blue oval duo. When one mentions the phrase Time Traveling, what is your immediate response? For some, the thought brings excitement, interest, and far-fetched hope (along with plenty of one-liners from Back To The Future). Since we’re on that subject, we need to quickly side bar that we’re still seething about the “hoverboards” brought to us in 2015. Quite frankly they’re nothing like that which Marty McFly had envisioned, nor the hot-rodded version that Biff and the boys used to chase him down. Even still, knowing its gargantuan unlikelihood, you’ll still take a moment to try and conceive what you would or wouldn’t do if given the opportunity to visit the past.

Apart from all the truly wonderful (or terrifying) thoughts associated with traveling through space and time, we would be sorely wrong if we chose to ignore the similar magic found in custom car builds. Customized rides from every genre offer little glimpses into the past and/or future. This is so because they are generally a direct representative of both the influences from our past, along with the hopes and dreams that the future holds. Though every car can strum up sufficient sentiment and move even the most stubborn of souls, it’s fair to say that no genre stirs nostalgia the way that a classic hot rod does. In this unique dual feature, we see how one man’s journey has taken two old trucks and made them to seem even older, turning back Father Time’s hands and entering a historical hot rod era.

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Photos: Adam Johnson | Words: Michael Phillips

William “BJ” Boden is a hot rod and custom truck enthusiast from Temperance, Michigan. He began tinkering with customized cars and trucks, getting his feet wet in the scene, more than fifteen years ago. During that time, he has taken up wrench and welder to build two radical Ford minitrucks more closely resembling hot rods from an era past. Upon seeing an image of the two parked next to each other at a dramatic angle, most are instantly drawn in, seeing that special hot rod quality and wanting to know more. This combined with proper aesthetics is increasingly rare amid a world that seems to often put the uniqueness factor above proper execution. You’d be hard pressed to make the mistake of labeling these very custom machines as anything but classic.

Let’s take this bull on, one horn at a time. First up, is BJ’s 1984 Bronco II. Yes, that’s right, this vehicle was originally made in 1984. During the year of ’84, LA gave a home to the Summer Olympics, the first ever Apple Macintosh computer was sold, the A-Team was a thing, and MTV started their Music Video Award show. Nevertheless, a quick glance at this frame-laying Ford, and the viewer is struck with ideas of cuffed Levis, cigarettes, and some real slick hairdos. This desire to associate BJ’s bronco with a far older time, can be attributed to a number of unique custom features. The retrofitted V8 grille is a good place to start. Beyond that is the completely dazzling, electric green and flat black, two tone paint job. The over-the-top paint of this project is just further intensified by beautifully accented pinstriping. The striping is completed in true traditional fashion, bringing a unique cocktail of edge and class. This build fulfilled one of BJ’s goals in completing a Bronco II. He drove one in high school and adored it. As hot rodding continued to interest him, he knew a throwback ride to his past had to be on his list.

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The bodaciously colored body of the bronco sits on top of a modified frame, making use of an S10 clip and 2×3-inch tubing. She sports stock spindles, and in the rear houses Monore shocks along with a uniquely effective, 6-link set up. Airbags at each corner keep the Bronco’s stance in check and make sure it properly tucks the American Racing wheels. The horseshoes this bronco wears are 17x7s, wrapped in Kuhmo 205s. While we truly love the custom work done to make this time machine look the part, it is that heart of the beast, which brings an unmatched dimension to the build. Underneath the devilishly pinstriped hood sits a 1949 Ford Flathead V8. The power-plant choice is so unique and full of history that it succeeds in carrying the entire truck back into the past. The engine boasts a displacement of 239 cubic inches and was built for this application by DAS Performance. Custom headers and exhaust give her the voice of an angel and a T-5 tranny helps her put power in its place.

The transformation from a potentially preppy cruiser, to the hard hitting, greaser machine that it is, continues in the cab. A 1962 Ford Galaxy dashboard is put in place and sprayed with the electric green in matching fashion. The dash is finished with Atmosphere gauges and pinstripes, like the exterior. A handmade steering wheel composed of corvette piston rods and wrench shifter complete the bad attitude of the Bronco. However, a Kenwood head unit mated to 6-inch Kicker Audio speakers throughout, bring a touch of modern comfort and style to this green monster. The summation of this build is a truly classic hot rod project, executed on a mid-80s icon. The whole process took six long years, but we believe it was well worth the wait. This is especially true when considering the fact that BJ originally paid $650 dollars for the Bronco and is now able to take this beast on 400-mile plus road trips, to and from shows all over the midwest.

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In case you are new with us, this is typically the section where the story wraps up. However, BJ Boden’s Bronco is anything but typical. The same is true of its younger (but bigger) brother. Built in matching design and style, is BJ’s 1985 Ford Ranger aptly named “Draggin’ Range.”

BJ’s first build, the Bronco, was all him. It helped to solidify his passion for custom trucks, taking it a big step past just being a hobby. For the Ranger, BJ was so much more equipped and far more driven to complete another, gorgeous build. This one is named and built as an honor and a remembrance to Boden’s father. The truck was completed in just two years, quite the contrast from the Bronco build. Originally the truck cost him nothing but the “junk” he traded it for. All in all, his two projects have cost BJ around $10k each. Not a bad price for two beautiful, classic rods.

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BJ seemed to have paid no mind to the notion of deviating from his original recipe. For this, we are very thankful. The ’85 sports an iconic grille from a 1952 Ford F-series. This iteration of the grille has been painted to match the menacing scheme of the flat black and eccentric blue. Bumpers from a ’69 F100 have been put in place. This truck, like the Bronco, has been shaved of all unnecessary bumps and hardware. The chassis work is similar, this time utilizing a narrowed S10 clip with the 2×3-inch tubing. The Draggin’ Range is also ‘bagged and BJ made the ingenious decision to use his 2×3-inch tube frame as a 12-gallon air tank, saving room under the bed. She too sits on stock spindles and monroe shocks, but opts for a triangulated 4-link rear set up. The laid low Ranger now wears beneath it, Coys C-57 wheels. 18x8in reside in the front, while 20×8.5 live out back.

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Retro lives on in this interior as well, where a paint and pinstripe matched dash from a ’62 Falcon sits comfortably. BJ certainly gets credit for keeping things in the Ford family. Glowshift gauges inform the driver while a Lokar shifter keeps him engaged. The rest of the interior features maple flooring, custom sheetmetal door panels, and a beautiful, black suede headliner. The maple is continued in the bed of the truck. While we are still certainly beaming over the ’40s flathead in the Bronco, we can’t fault BJ for his more modern engine choice for the ranger. It is powered by a 1986 Cummins 4BT (also built by DAS). The motor is supported by a built injector pump, big injectors, and an AT341Turbo. All this turbo diesel torque is sent though a 4l80e trans. A custom 4-inch turbo-back ends in a paint matched smoke stack behind the cab. Though she hasn’t been pushed quite as hard, BJ has managed to get a 250mi trip out of the Draggin’ Range thus far, with more to come.

It is so easy to get caught up in where or when we are able to drive our cars and trucks. It is equally simple to ignore where those same vehicles are capable of taking us. For Mr. BJ Boden, he now has two driving, roaring, slamming, connections to his past. His Bronco will forever remind him of the Bronco he drove on a daily basis throughout high school and his Ranger, with even deeper sentiment, serves as a physical and tangible connection with his Father. You see, trucks are so much more than a means to an end. Custom trucks and cars provide enthusiasts with measurable joy machines, capable of hauling us years into the past. We can’t wait to see what BJ has in store for us next!


Slam’d Specs:

Owner: BJ Boden
Vehicle: 1984 Ford Bronco II & 1985 Ford Ranger Dual Cab
Hometown: Temperance, Michigan
Club: Relaxed Atmosphere

SLAMD-Duo15Suspension/Chassis (Bronco):
S10 front clip
Monroe shocks
2×3-inch frame
Modified 6-link rear setup
Air Lift Dominator ‘bags

Suspension/Chassis (Ranger):
S10 front clip – narrowed
Monroe shocks
2×3-inch frame also used as air tank
Custom rear 4-link
Air Lift Dominator ‘bags

Wheels/Tires (Bronco):
17×7 American Racing wheels
205/45/17 Kumho Tires

SLAMD-Duo20Wheels/Tires (Ranger):
18×8 and 20×8.5 Coys C-57 Wheels
225/40/18 245/35/18 Kumho Tires

Engine/Performance (Bronco):
1949 Ford Flathead 239ci V8
T-5 Transmission
Custom header and exhaust

Engine/Performance (Ranger):
1986 Cummins 4BT Turbo Disel
Built Injector pump, brg injectors, AT341Turbo
4l80e trans
Custom 4-inch turbo back an smoke stack

Paint/Exterior (Bronco):
SLAMD-Duo25Matte Black / Electric Green two-tone paint
Old-school pinstriping
Shaved exterior

Paint/Exterior (Ranger):
Matte Black / Ecentric Blue two-tone paint
Old-school pinstriping
Shaved exterior

Interior/Stereo (Bronco):
1962 Ford Galaxy dash, painted and striped to match exterior
Atmosphere gauges
Handmade steering wheel
Custom wrench shifter

Interior/Stereo (Ranger):
1962 Ford Falcon dash, painted and striped to match exterior
Glowswitch gauges
Lokar shifter

Specials Thanks From Owner: “Huge thanks to everyone who helped and I met along the way including Jason Dworivik, Kevin Tripp, James Heilman, Pat Snyder, Brian Tibai, Jorden Fritz, Kodie Paxton, and my Relaxed Atmosphere club for their support. Also a big thank you to my family for putting up with the addiction.”


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