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Stepside 1st gen


PetroleumJunkie412

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So. I think you're onto something. Before you go cutting that thing up, maybe give this a read. That truck has some history.



From the court document linked:

"This case involves a planned joint venture which never materialized. Plaintiffs and defendants had planned to join forces to modify Ford Motor Company ("Ford") vehicles for export to Scandinavia. After plaintiffs advanced money to the defendants and began preparation themselves, defendants withdrew from the deal. Plaintiffs filed a complaint alleging various claims, including breach of contract, tortious interference with contractual relations and fraud."


I want to do some reading, but I'm thinking this is the origin of the Shadow Rangers, and you have an early or later one. Would explain why there are so few of them and they differ so much. If it was a deal that went bust, we may just have the prototypes and mules floating around. Yours may be one of them. I'm not a gambler, but I'd be willing to bet on it.
 


PetroleumJunkie412

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In order to figure it out, we would need to compare a few Shadow or RDI modified Rangers VINs to see owner history and cross reference it back to the case history and parties involved. If they match, and because we have no proof that I know of that FoMoCo built the beds, this may be it.
 

Shran

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I'm not really seeing it as a Ford affiliated thing at all... especially with mine - it has a door tag above the Ford sticker that says "custom manufactured by RDI" or something to that extent. I'll post a pic of it and the VIN.

I would not say that Ford NEVER produced a stepside truck or something called a "Shadow" but I am all but convinced that every single one I've found so far, except the blue extended cab, are aftermarket conversions similar to the Centurion trucks/vans and others, and that it's highly likely they were built by RDI given their locations. It's pretty easy to build fiberglass boxes - there's a local company here that builds whole fiberglass car bodies; Model A's and stuff like that. Just need a mold.
 

PetroleumJunkie412

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Possible. I'm digging to see if I can find the joint venture paperwork with FoMoCo. If it was a true JV, RDI would have been a Ford parts supplier, where centurion was just an aftermarket company.
 

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Could be. I didn't read the whole court filing but it appeared (to me) to be an internal issue with RDI in the early 90's. If you're researching stuff, it might pay to check out "RDI by Haugestad" which appears on the driver's side fender in my last picture. The "by Haugestad" part is pretty faded and hard to see.

Haugestad might be that Scandinavian connection you were looking at.
 

Bird76Mojo

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The Illinois Shadow Ranger was for sale a couple years ago or so, and I was trying to buy it. It's popped up on here or another Ranger forum since then. It was indeed a 302 swap truck, but it needed some things redone to be right..
 

projectRanger93

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Really awesome find. If you're going to restore it, do it from the ground up. Make it last another 30 years.
 

PetroleumJunkie412

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Could be. I didn't read the whole court filing but it appeared (to me) to be an internal issue with RDI in the early 90's. If you're researching stuff, it might pay to check out "RDI by Haugestad" which appears on the driver's side fender in my last picture. The "by Haugestad" part is pretty faded and hard to see.

Haugestad might be that Scandinavian connection you were looking at.
Thanks for the tip. I'll go through the legal paperwork tonight. I have a few connections left with database access that may be able to get the paywall stuff. Anyone else that has access feel free as well haha.
 

Shran

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I did some digging around on Facebook today and messaged someone who could possibly be related to RDI as well - this is getting interesting!
 

Shran

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So here's the scoop. I have been in contact with someone who worked at RDI - not going to mention any names simply for privacy but this is what I asked:

1) was he aware of any projects/prototype Rangers made around 1986-88 by Ford called the "Shadow" that had a stepside box.
Did not get a direct answer on this.

2) Roughly how many of these stepside Rangers were produced by RDI
My truck is one of only *20* that were produced. However RDI worked on a bunch of other conversion projects including S10's, vans, etc

3) Is he aware of any other companies in the US that produced stepside Rangers around those years.
Apparently at some point there was another company, closely related and in Sturgis, MI that started selling fiberglass stepside boxes to Van Converters in Elkhart, Indiana... and I quote, "quite a few were made."

I will continue to research this as time allows. I did get some super cool pics sent my way though, enjoy!





Some of their other work:



Interestingly enough, Googling the address on the photos above on Google maps led me to a building that still has the RDI sign on it.

 

projectRanger93

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Cool find man. You should find out of the 20 how many different colors were produced and what ratio yours is a part of.
 

Shran

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Truck is running a lot more reliably now. Inside of the gas tank was awful! 8 gallons of rotten fuel and sludge and above that was a nice thick layer of rust. I was able to get it sparkling clean with a gallon of muratic acid... just dumped it in and rolled it around so that all the surfaces were covered and let it sit for a while. Rust came right off and I flushed the tank out with water, then hit it with a couple cans of carb cleaner to break up the gasoline varnish. New sending unit, pump, filter and she's running great. Working on installing a factory cooling fan and shroud at the moment - had some hokey electric fan on it that was not working. Need to do an oil change and other minor maintenance while I'm at it.

This truck is FULL of spiders, and now my shop is too. I guess that's OK and they've been keeping the insect population down but it's startling to run into a spider with 3/4" long legs and a marble size body when I'm on a creeper under the truck...
 

projectRanger93

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Truck is running a lot more reliably now. Inside of the gas tank was awful! 8 gallons of rotten fuel and sludge and above that was a nice thick layer of rust. I was able to get it sparkling clean with a gallon of muratic acid... just dumped it in and rolled it around so that all the surfaces were covered and let it sit for a while. Rust came right off and I flushed the tank out with water, then hit it with a couple cans of carb cleaner to break up the gasoline varnish. New sending unit, pump, filter and she's running great. Working on installing a factory cooling fan and shroud at the moment - had some hokey electric fan on it that was not working. Need to do an oil change and other minor maintenance while I'm at it.

This truck is FULL of spiders, and now my shop is too. I guess that's OK and they've been keeping the insect population down but it's startling to run into a spider with 3/4" long legs and a marble size body when I'm on a creeper under the truck...
You should take your truck back outside and hose it down, all over and underneath. You never know, a snake might be hiding in a dark crevice.
 

PetroleumJunkie412

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Is your shop attached to.your house?

If not, seal it AIRTIGHT, and either open a bottle of CO2, or a few coolers full of dry ice. Leave it like that for a day or two. Nothing will survive.
 

Shran

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It's not attached and I could bug bomb the place but really it's not a big deal. I just swept out the big spiders and let them go outside last night. Black widows, I would be concerned, but garden spiders can stay and live in peace and hopefully eat all the mosquitoes. I have never seen them this bad before but we've had an unprecedented amount of rain this year.
 

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