While the Ford Ranger has had a very successful return to the U.S. market, it can be easy to forget that before it arrived to pick up where its ancient and very long in the tooth ancestor left off in the states, it originally had its start in international markets. A potent example of this is the Ranger’s distinction of being the best selling pickup in Europe, and if United Kingdom based outfitter Ricardo had its say in proceedings, the Ranger could have potential as a combat ready fighting vehicle.
Ford for its part did not envision the Ranger in this particular environment, but Ricardo has equipped the Ranger with several combat ready upgrades that go far beyond the “stick a machine gun in the bed and your done” conversions that often define a combat ready pickup. But while the thought of adding a dose of battlefield capability to the Ranger may seem exotic at first glance, look at the broader picture, and the initial upgrades actually start off as you would when building a traditional off-roader. Ricardo beefs up the suspension for enhanced ride height and durability, with beefy off-road tires that enhance overall grip in rough terrain. The brakes have also been upgraded, and skid plates cover all the sensitive components with some much needed protection. Meanwhile, the bed features a giant roll cage, and Ricardo even added a rollover protection system, but the company stopped short of unveiling exactly what that brings to the truck.
Speaking of the bed, it’s also the starting point of the Ranger’s transformation into a serious combat ready machine. The fore-mentioned roll cage has the integrated tooling and provisions needed to fit a ring mounted weapons system, and the floor gets extra amounts of armor plating to help improve protection. All the windows are bullet proof, and Ricardo swaps out the stock front and rear bumpers for lighter units in a bid to try and cut down on excess weight. Typically, more horsepower from the engine can also help blunt the weight effect, but Ricardo did not reveal if the firm did any tinkering to the engine. If that’s the case, look for the Europe only 2.0 liter turbodiesel to provide the motivation needed to get the Ranger to the battle field. While the 210 horsepower on hand might seem a bit weak kneed for such a task at first glance, it is important to remember that the engine also generates 369 lb-ft of torque, which can help the truck make a hasty retreat in the event it runs into an opponent it can’t match up with. Finally, the interior benefits from an upgraded electrical system that can house complex radio equipment, and is even EM shielded to protect it from EMP based weapons.
Currently, Ricardo’s olive green hued creation is a one-off only demonstrator, but look for this rig to still generate a lot of buzz, especially from global militaries looking to find a way to get a vehicle that can provide cheap and dependable support for infantry charges but without breaking the bank. Ricardo also revealed that the truck can be used as a rescue or security vehicle, which could allow it to appeal to those industries as well if it makes the leap into formal production.