Danger Ranger Packs Mustang Power into a Gorgeous Package

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Ford Ranger Mustang V8

Early Ranger is unbelievably clean, but the star of this show is the 5.0-liter V8, making one powerful, small pickup.

Back in 1986, the most powerful engine that you could get in the first generation Ford Ranger was the 2.9-liter V6, which delivered 140 horsepower. While the first generation led to years of successful small truck sales for the Motor Company, the early trucks were far from fast. However, swapping a V8 into one of these small trucks is a popular option, combining bigger power with a low curb weight and rear-wheel-drive; leading to a monster burnout machine.

While scrolling through the #Muscletruck hashtag on Instagram, we came across an early Ranger with a 5.0-liter V8 from a Mustang Cobra. This truck looks better than it did when new, but with the SVT power plant, the small Ford from the “dangeranger5.0,” this old school Ford runs as great as it looks.

Ford Ranger Mustang V8

Nice, Clean Packaging

On the outside, this 1986 Ford Ranger is relatively stock, with the exceptions being the cowl induction-style hood, the wheels and the 5.0 badges on the front fenders. It has a modern set of headlights and you can see the lightweight bucket race seats through the front windows, but for the most part, this just looks like a very clean first generation Ranger with a great custom paint job. The grille, bumpers and the majority of the exterior trim is painted to match the body, resulting in a very sporty-looking flareside pickup.

Ford Ranger Mustang V8

If this truck had a stock 1986 drivetrain, it would still be impressive, but the packaging is only the tip of this iceberg. Under the hood is a 5.0-liter V8 that came from a Mustang Cobra, but we don’t know what generation Cobra. The Fox Body and SN95 Mustang each had a Cobra with the 5.0-liter engine, and while we don’t know which provided the motivation for this build, we know that the engine has far more power than any stock first generation Ranger.

Ford Ranger Mustang V8

Ford Ranger Mustang V8

Burnout Machine

The Instagram account of dangeranger5.0 is packed with great pictures of the truck inside, outside and under the hood, as well as a few videos of the Ranger on the track, but this channel is full of great burnout footage. There are burnouts captured from inside of the truck, from the side of the road and from afar, but every clip is a righteous smoke show.

In looking around online, we found that this Ranger has run the eighth mile in the high-8-second range, so it would likely be in the 13s in the quarter mile, but if you love nasty burnouts from a V8-powered small pickup, this is one channel that you want to follow.

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"Before I was old enough to walk, my dad was taking me to various types of racing events, from local drag racing to the Daytona 500," says Patrick Rall, a lifetime automotive expert, diehard Dodge fan, and respected auto journalist for over 10 years. "He owned a repair shop and had a variety of performance cars when I was young, but by the time I was 16, he was ready to build me my first drag car – a 1983 Dodge Mirada that ran low 12s. I spent 10 years traveling around the country, racing with my dad by my side. While we live in different areas of the country, my dad still drag races at 80 years old in the car that he built when I was 16 while I race other vehicles, including my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and my 1972 Dodge Demon 340.

"Although I went to college for accounting, my time in my dad’s shop growing up allowed me the knowledge to spend time working as a mechanic before getting my accounting degree, at which point I worked in the office of a dealership group. While I was working in the accounting world, I continued racing and taking pictures of cars at the track. Over time, I began showing off those pictures online and that led to my writing.

"Ten years ago, I left the accounting world to become a full-time automotive writer and I am living proof that if you love what you do, you will never “work” a day in your life," adds Rall, who has clocked in time as an auto mechanic, longtime drag racer and now automotive journalist who contributes to nearly a dozen popular auto websites dedicated to fellow enthusiasts.

"I love covering the automotive industry and everything involved with the job. I was fortunate to turn my love of the automotive world into a hobby that led to an exciting career, with my past of working as a mechanic and as an accountant in the automotive world provides me with a unique perspective of the industry.

"My experience drag racing for more than 20 years coupled with a newfound interest in road racing over the past decade allows me to push performance cars to their limit, while my role as a horse stable manager gives me vast experience towing and hauling with all of the newest trucks on the market today.

"Being based on Detroit," says Rall, "I never miss the North American International Auto Show, the Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Nights, along with spending plenty of time raising hell on Detroit's Woodward Avenue with the best muscle car crowd in the world.

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