Daily Driver - To Trail - To Full Race
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
My 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.
Over 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