Episode 273. Ford Ranger. X351 TNW. (Part 2).

 "You've got your own damn truck!" Mrs Clint squawked as I grabbed her keys and headed for the door! Yes I do I replied, but I'm going to collect something that will be too heavy for me to lift into my bed because being a four wheel drive truck my bed is higher than yours. Yours is much lower, so it'll make my life easier. "Is this gonna benefit me?" She yelled back. Yes I said, I'll be out of the house, so I won't be under your feet! I closed the door and headed towards the Ranger, finally I'll get to have a go in it.

I had a few errands to run that day, one of which was collection one of my motorbikes from one of my friends, and bringing it home to put in my garage. A couple of years ago he was talking about buying himself a motorbike again, but he didn't have the available funding, so I told him that if he wanted he could borrow one of mine until either he'd scratched the itch, or he'd bought himself one. A couple of weeks back he informed me that his wife had told him that the itch had been well and truly scratched, and it was time to give the bike back so that he could stop renting his expensive (apparently) council garage. I'll be honest, I know I make her Worshipfulness sound like a bit of a monster sometimes, and she is. But she never tells me what to do, or when an itch has been scratched enough. If anything (outside of driving her cars, selling her cars, or even having a 'girlfriend') she encourages the madness. And this is why I'd never let her go. Whether or not she murders me in my sleep is another matter!

So off I went, a thirty mile jaunt in the Ranger to collect my motorbike, and bring it home. The drive was uneventful, and to be fair I'm not really sure what I was expecting of the Ranger, other than I guess, just a little bit more. I mean, I've had a few pick ups over the years, and this is my, umm, our second Ranger, and although it's eight years older than my first one, I think I imagined it would be very similar to that. But it isn't.

My first Ranger was a second generation Ranger, whereas Mrs Clints is a first generation, my feeling was that the second generation was probably little more than a facelift of the first one, but actually they're very different, not just in looks, but to drive as well.

My first Ranger felt much bigger, I mean, I realise it was four wheel drive, so it was taller, but it felt much bigger too, although in reality according to Wikipedia there was only a few inches in it. But I think it looked bigger, more imposing. Further more it had power. I remember on the autobahn in Germany I had no problem doing 120mph, and retaining that speed comfortably for miles on end. Mrs Clints Ranger, It will do 80mph, but frankly its far happier doing 60mph. My first Ranger you could load right up, and put a big trailer behind it with a big load on it, I'm not sure that you could do that to this one. I feel you could load it right up, but pulling a big trailer with a big load on it aswell would probably be pushing your luck. But not only that inside the cab of my first Ranger it felt very car like, not so much Range Rover, but certainly Discovery. Whereas this ranger is more like a series Land Rover, it feels far more built to do a job, than built to get you there in comfort. But then I guess at the time it was built pick ups were still looked upon as a work horse, built to get you and your tools to work. Twenty odd years ago the idea of having a pick up as your family wagon was still in it's infancy in this country. Goodness only knows why, the Americans and Australians have been doing it from the start, why the motor manufacturers thought it wouldn't work here I'll never know. Even as a child I thought it was a good idea.

Anyway, you might now be thinking that I'm knocking the Ranger, but I'm really not. It is very utilitarian, but actually I quite like that, I like it a lot. It puts me in mind of this thing of beauty...

My Tata Wifebeta, erm, Loadbeta, or Telcoline as it's known pretty much everywhere else. I bought this one in 1998 when I had an accident in my company van and they didn't have another van to give me while the insurance companies were fighting it out over whose fault is was. (For the record it was hers. I was probably going a little bit too fast, but she shouldn't have pulled out infront of me. She probably shouldn't have been drunk either). This was my first foray into pick up ownership, and my first Tata, to date I've had six now, and I think I still have the majority of this one. Although parts of it got robbed to keep the other ones going, but maybe it's time to venture out to the corner of the farmers barn I left it in 15 years or so ago, see if it's still there.

Anyhoo, I think I'm getting away from the point here. But this Ranger is very VERY much like the Tata, it's built for work, as a tool, it's very utilitarian, not very fast, the cab is very sparse, I'm actually surprised that it doesn't have keep fit windows, I'm even a bit disapointed about that too. But my feeling is that it's very dependable, it'll get you there, and it'll get the job done. No frills required! that being said, I think that it could be improved, so after dropping off my motorbike I took a look through my wheel collection, and pretty soon I had a set of Toyota HiLux chrome eight spokes which last saw some action in 2018 on my Daewoo Korando (I still miss that ugly old thing!) and a set of 100+ softline five spokes, with half decent tyres on them.

I figured that I could head down to see my friend at Kwik-fit, and see if he might combine the two and put them on my, dammit, our truck.

Before too long the truck was in on the lift, waiting for it's transformation. I just felt that even if I just changed the wheels, that would probably make the truck look a whole lot better. I've always thought that wheels maketh the car.

Sure enough, just twenty minutes later the Ranger was looking a whole heap better to my eyes. As my friend and I were putting the wheels on, who should walk by, but her Worshipfulness herself. "What are you doing to my truck?" She asked. I said that I was improving it for her, and asked her what she thought of the new wheels? She asked me if it needed new wheels, and what was wrong with the old wheels, were they not round or something? I said that the problem with the old wheels was that they didn't look as good as the new wheels, they weren't as big, not as shiney, that sort of thing. I said didn't she think they looked good? "I suppose so" she grumbled, "but I was happy with the ones it had. Is it finished?" She asked. I said it was, and she just jumped in, started it up, backed out the service bay, and drove off home. Leaving me standing there in Kwik-fit. I looked at my friend and just said, Chics huh? to which he just replied, "yep." I paid him for his help, and wandered off home, it's not too far, and I probably needed the excercise anyway.

So where do we go from here? Well, it's fairly tidy, but I think that it could do with a little touching up. I'll be honest, I have thought about giving it the same sort of treatment as I gave her Worshipfulnes' Honda CR-V, that is to go out, buy some flower shaped stickers, and stick them on the Ranger. I feel that when I put these on with the help of my eldest Monster late one evening after Mrs Clint had retired for the night I was quite restrained, and very conservative in my approach. However, when she got up for work the following morning, she was furious, and my phone was bombarded with texts telling me about her fury. To which I answered only once, and said that I had over heard how she and her coven were complaing about how the men folk never buy them flowers, I decided to do something about that, and got her flowers. This did nothing to quench her anger. However, I feel the need to re-visit that look, but this time, be a lot less conservative. If I do it again, this time I'm gonna flower bomb it! I've spoken to my eldest, and youngest Monster about my idea, and their response was, "Do it!" So I feel that I really should do it, I don't like to disappoint my kids! The other thing I feel that I need to do is a far more subtle modifaction, so subtle that I think it may even be a while before she even notices. I feel like I should modify the badges on the front wings (fenders for you American folks). All I need to do is just remove the 'R' leaving just the bit that says 'ANGER' on the sides, this would be perfect for her Worshipfulnes. Whether or not I'll survive very long after she notices will be another matter, but time will tell. Updates as they occur!


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