Trucks Of The Month
By Jim Oaks
I had the opportunity to talk to Aaron Matthew-"Air" for
short, President of Uconn Off-Road and the owner/driver of Not All There
Racing about the 1995 Ford Ranger he's building to replace the Bronco he
have you done to the engine? Stripped and gutted, Ported intake
and exhaust ports, engine is on its way out and we are focusing on its
replacement motor (351W out of my old Bronco) which will be built to
around 400+horespower for next winter. Set up is still being drawn up
and revisited so a final plan isn't set yet.
What have you done to the suspension? Swapped in a Dana 44
I-beams out of my old 88 Bronco, we bent the beams, running shock hoops
with 16" Bilstein Coilovers with Resi's, runs around 18-20"s
of travel in the front end which will be limited to 17"s. We also
built our own extended radius arms with heims. For the rear we run an
8.8 out of an explorer, 4 wheel disc brakes, and soon to install are a
Deaver Race pack with around 16"s of travel. Once I can afford to
we will be 4 linking the rear.
What is the truck built for? Started as a trail rig, but I
needed something with a little more speed so I started setting it up as
a replacement to the Bronco that I used to race with. It has actually
been daily driven till recently where it is now a race only vehicle. Its
now built for jumps more than rocks, but can handle the trails very
well. We try and keep a nice low stance with a lot of travel so I can
hammer it threw the corners and keep her on the ground. Its also built
to be different and stand out.
What kind of racing do you do and where? Currently due to
time and money we run around with the Mickey Thompson Tough Truck series
in Bloomsburg and the Essex Junction Jamborees, soon to hit up the 7
milers in PA as well as Southwick eventually. Trying to get into PA's
racing oriented clubs and do many events with them.
What wheels do you run and what size and type of Mickey Thompson
tires? We are trying to decide on a new set of rims to go with
my now mismatched lug pattern (fullsize front end with ranger rear) But
will always be running Mickey Thompson Baja Claws (33's) which I choose
due to there versatility and ways in which they can be cut for different
tracks and grip. They also last long to the abuse and hold up well.
Gears? 488's within the next few weeks
Lockers? Detroit in the rear
body panels? Fiberglass front fenders with an edge hood.
What else can you tell mw about the truck? There's
tons!, when I first bought this it was to be my daily driver, and over
the past 5 years I have owned it it has changed dramatically. It went
from a daily driver, to a daily driven trail rig, to a daily driven
race, and now with the purchase of a 2 wheel drive ranger as a new
Daily, it is strictly race and fun only. Its gone threw many different
lifts, started with a 2", than a 4" where we started making
our own brackets and such, to what we have today which is a completely
adjustable set up both wheel travel and ride height wise. We have also
been working with a few different cage designs and are eager to finish
caging the vehicle from bumper to bumper. There's a basement full of
parts left to install but both school (UCONN) and work limit what can be
done to the truck at the moment.
co-driver/partners are also both serving there time in IRAQ with their
Recon unit out of the USMC. By this time next year we should all be home
safe and working on finally completing this truck and competing much
more heavily. A lot of things have been holding us back the past few
years with this build, as for myself I have been busy with founding and
running the UCONN Off-Road Club which has grown rapidly over the past 2
years, as well as my work with the UCONN Car Club and my effort in this
years car and truck show where we attracted over 650 vehicles! I have
been spending so much time on others I haven't had the time to focus and
really create what I want for my own truck.
the next few months we have a lot of work to do, hopefully we will be
racing at this years Jamborees (at least!) but we have a few big
expenses to get out of the way, as well as the time problem but those on
my team work well together and we will be making an appearance with the
ranger at the Bloomsburg Jamboree down in PA, and possibly will be
driving it around the streets downtown to get it out there as well. My
trucks my passion as well as my escape, and is a direct expression of my
own personality threw its looks and my driving style, as well as its
reputation here in my hometown.
The truck is around 20% complete the way you have last seen it so keep
in mind its and under construction rig still and we have way more to
both buy and build to get on the race track.
Thanks for your interest, we also have a webpage, www.notallthereracing.com
which should be back up soon, its been down due to a new server.
- Also check out http://www.uconnoffroad.com/
a photo of what Aaron started with
the stock front axle with a suspension lift
new fullsize Dana 44 suspension
Recent Picture As Of 6/8/2006