The Ford Ranger, recently revived from a prolonged leave of absence, has once again begun making waves in the midsize pickup segment. Unfortunately, its off-road kingpin model, the Ranger Raptor, won't be available for U.S. consumers to buy, but that hasn't kept one Ford dealer from building something nearly as cool. Meet the Ford Ranger Baja, a delightful and unofficial take on an agile, desert-beating pickup.
The truck begins life as an ordinary Ford Ranger XLT Super Crew. Kansas Ford Dealer Long McArthur special orders the pickup in a very specific configuration, combining factory options like the FX4 off-road package with sensible aftermarket parts to build something that is both practical to drive on the streets, but still fun to take off them.
A Procomp Level Lift Kit is then installed in the front of the truck, while the rear receives a set of Fox 2.0 Performance Shocks to increase the predictability of the Ranger's movements off-road. A set of 33-inch Toyo All-Terrain tires sit nicely upon 18-inch Fuel Tactic wheels, which were chosen not only to complement the desired style of the truck but also due to its off-road-bred beadlock design.
Other visual upgrades help to give the pickup a much more aggressive appearance. Large fender flares are fitted to the truck, color-matched to accompany the front and rear bumpers which are sprayed in Ford's sharp magnetic gray metallic paint. A custom Raptor-like front grille sits between two headlights with blacked-out housings, and an Addictive Desert Designs chase rack sits comfortably behind the cab. The factory FX4 package adds small details to the truck, including a skid plate and front tow hooks.
Of course, the Baja isn't an official trim offered by Ford, but that didn't stop Long McArthur from having some fun designing it. The dealer added custom graphics which read "Ranger Baja" on the hood, windshield, and bed, closely drawing inspiration from the forbidden Ranger Raptor.
Despite the truck's modifications, Long McArthur says that a three-year, 36,000-mile warranty will cover both factory and aftermarket components installed from the dealer. And in case you aren't anywhere near Kansas, the dealer will also ship the vehicle clear across the country to your front door. In a world where the Ranger Raptor exists but can't be had, the Ranger Baja (priced at around $42,000) is perhaps one of the best dealer-offered options on the market.