Close this search box.

Concept Corner: dreaming up a retro Ford Ranger

16 October, 2015


Every month NZV8 ask their cover car owner for the concept that they’d most like to build, or see someone build


Lyndon Hakopa had Matamata Panelworks build a very cool XW Ford Falcon ute, which we managed to feature on the cover of Issue No. 126. If you’ve read the article, you’ll know that Lyndon is a family man, and as such the ute is a bit tricky, being just a two-seater. So when we asked Lyndon for his concept, this is what he came up with.

“I love Ford Rangers; they’re just so handy — although they’re a bit high to put the dog or motorbikes on the back easily. They’re far easier around town than an F150. So a lowered Ranger would be pretty cool; but then again, you just can’t beat the look of the older stuff, like XWs. So my concept is to mix the character of old with the convenience and reliability of new.

Utes like my XW are great if you’ve only got one passenger, but when you need to take the whole family, you need a crew cab, so I’d graft an XW ute and wagon together to get a double cab. The tray would still need to be long to help fit stuff on, but to help with proportions it could be shortened a bit.

In an ideal world, the whole lot would be built over a Ranger chassis, so that you’d get the mod cons like ABS and good suspension, but, to get it sitting down low enough, the chassis would need to be notched in the rear and Z’d in the front. With a few other suspension changes, like lowering springs, it should be able to sit low enough, especially once the wheels were swapped out for the same style as on my XW.

Building it off a Ranger chassis, it would make sense to use a full Ranger as the donor  — that way you’d get the interior, also, which I’d graft in. I’d even go as far as to use the firewall out of the Ranger so there were no issues with the brake booster and steering-column fitting.

Of course, the Ranger motor wouldn’t cut it, so I’d drop in a Coyote motor, backed with an autobox, just to make it nice to drive around town. It’d be the perfect thing to chuck the kids in, dog or motorbike on the back, and head out of town.

As for the colour? The Matamata Panelworks team did a great job on the XW, so it’d make sense to paint this one the same.”

Sounds like a cool concept to us. Make sure to have your say on our Facebook page.

What are your thoughts on it? Post in the comments below.

You can get a print copy or a digital copy of NZV8 Issue No. 126, where the concept was first featured, below:


Taipan – surpassing interest

“It’s merely a passing interest,” insists Selby — despite owning three variants of the classic VW Beetle, including an unusual VW van that was sold as a body kit for a Subaru. In his defence he points to a 1961 Ford Thunderbird, a car that he converted to right-hand drive. However, on the VW side of the ledger, since he opened Allison Autos in Whanganui 27 years ago, Selby has built 15 VW-powered Formula First cars, followed by a beach buggy, restored a derelict Karmann Ghia, and hot-rodded a common or garden Beetle into something that has to be seen to be believed. As speed is not something generally associated with classic VWs, though, Selby is still waiting for this particular modification to catch on amongst the hot rod faithful.

Travelling companion

It’s easy to see why the Morris Minor Traveller was one of the best-loved variants of the Morris Minor. Introduced in 1953, it was equipped with the same independent torsion bar front suspension, drum brakes, and rack and pinion steering as its saloon sibling but, with their foldable rear seat increasing versatility, many Travellers were used as trade vehicles, says Derek Goddard. Derek and Gail Goddard, the owners of this superbly restored example, have run Morris Minors since before they were married in 1974.
“Our honeymoon vehicle was a blue Morris Minor van — it was a rust bucket,” says Derek.