88 Ranger STX 4x4 Draw thru 4bbl carbed Build: planning stage...

Hello All!
Back into the HYBVRID build scheme with my 16 year old's project purchase. He loves the original square body Ranger and wanted to use it as the start of the build.

We have an '80 Monte Turbo 4BBL engine (disassembled by me 25 years ago); an 85 Cutlass 3.8 NA 2bbl/ TH200 still assembled and stored 20 years ago w/ spare 4BBL Weiand intake and his recent $500.00 project shell purchase: an 88 Ford Ranger Supercab STX High Rider 4x4 complete shell, good glass, 90% complete dash, w/power windows & doors, Solid body, locking hubs, 2000 Explorer 3 spoke Chrome Steel 16" wheels w/ 235/70R16 AT's.

It has Mangled wiring, missing AC components and radiator, punched & destroyed steering column but no engine, no manual trans, no tcase.

Here's the thought process:
Needs a few interior trim pieces, LKeft front reproduction fender, carpet, front seats & headliner, steering column (Open on this) and a full new/swapped wiring harness.
Also Thinking about an 89-92 Ranger Dash swap for the aesthetics.

Engine:'85 231 Long Block w/ Weiand 4bbl from 85 Cutlass - (later to use 80 MC Draw-Thru carb'd setup on this block and heads)
Transmission & Tcase : Thinking 4.3L S-10 5 spd T5 Borg Warner & manual transfer case; would likely require custom driveshafts
Needs whole wiring harness (new or from donor vehicle)

My biggest issue right now seem s to be finding Any easier transmission swap ideas for 5 speed & transfer cases? Also open to the idea of using Chevy 1500 '64" ' rear leaf springs to improve the ride in place of the stock Ford units (6" longer springs- could allow us to reposition the rear axle centerline back also.)
I can't find an adapter for the Buick to Ranger Mazda-based M50D transmission & manual transfer case which would help solve the driveshaft issues. This is such an amalgamation, I''m not sure to look for help here on the Turbo Buck boards or on the Ford Ranger boards.

Thanks in advance for any input! Ill post as we build this summer, AFTER he finishes his Eagle Scout Project
Once he gets it going as a daily driver/college car, he wants to eventually build a flat-fendered late 40's to early 60's Willys Extended Cab pickup and bed to remove the Supercab Ranger body from it..


Active Member
Sounds like a cool project, I hope you can make some headway on it. I don't have any real advice for the trans swap though.

Also, the willies would be great, I have a 63 willies truck with the flathead six, my mountain truck, love it!

Jon Early

Active Member
I hope this guy comes back with pictures and updates.

For transmission, the S10 T5 is probably your best bet for a relatively cheap 4x4 manual option.