Once the duo actually had the frames side by side, it was easy to see this crazy idea might not be the nightmare it first appeared. By cutting away the original front clip up to the firewall, they were able to graft the complete '02 clip, including the disc brakes and improved independent suspension, while still having room in front of the firewall for an improved air-conditioning system courtesy of Vintage Air.
After the front clip was welded up, the chassis was fixed to a frame jig, where Mike's precision welding brought smiles all around when they realized the mod-motor and transmission would drop into place with a minimum of fuss. Charles couldn't help but grin as he thought of what the 5.4-liter fuel-injected Triton motor would feel like propelling the truck he had driven for over 30 years. The Ford overdrive automatic transmission also fit like a dream, as did the late-model positraction rearend.
With the driveline squared away, the focus moved to the rear suspension. After trying a modified stock configuration with lowered springs, Charles decided on a four-bar setup with airbags. As on the front, late-model Ford discs stop the rear. Charles' rims of choice are 20-inchers from Billet Specialties shod with a set of BFGoodrich tires. The '77's body was pretty straight, so all that was needed was basic prep work before it was shipped to Allen Matthews Paint & Body to be covered in a PPG blue similar to the '77's original Ford Production Blue with accenting Acapulco metallic blue.
The final step was handing the truck over to Miquel's Custom Upholstery to lay down plush carpeting and restore the stock Ranger bench seat to feel better than new while retaining the '70s look. The dash cluster was updated with Dakota Digital gauges fit in place using the stock Ford bezels to retain a vintage look. Last but not least was the Kenwood in-dash sound system for when Charles and his wife want to watch the moon rise while cruising to some of their favorite tunes, no doubt some of the same melodies they listened to when their trusty '77 was brand new.