JOHANNESBURG - Earlier this week, we popped into All American Muscle, a bespoke vehicle tuning and custom-build muscle car shop situated south of Johannesburg in Alrode.
Now, if you know your muscle cars, you already probably know about this shop and its owner, Drikus Botha. The muscle car guy, who built his first muscle car in a garage using a box of tools from Autozone, today runs one of the most exquisite custom car shops that we've seen in South Africa.
From the reception area (littered with custom motorcycles) to the workshop itself, the place can only be described as a treasure chest of muscle and vintage cars. You think of it, it's probably in there; early Chevrolet Camaros, ‘60s Fords including Mustangs and pick-ups, heck they even have a Land Rover Defender 90 sitting in the shop with a Chevy LS V8 engine bolted to it. The owner, obviously, wants to go off-roading in a hurry.
On a more serious note, however, the reason we popped into All American Muscle was to talk to Drikus about the latest project that he's been working on during the Covid-19 lockdown; a series of Ford Rangers that are being turned into Ford F150 lookalikes.
I say lookalikes, perhaps replicas make more sense. If you look at one parked in the driveway, you'd swear you're looking at a real-deal F150 or even an F150-Raptor. So, what's the deal here, and why are there Rangers that look like F150s running around the country... here's the All American Muscle F150 story...
Ford Ranger to Ford F150 conversions in South Africa
Drikus got in touch with TTN Hypersport, the creators and manufacturers of these high-quality F150 kits because he saw a gap in the market. "We see all the Rangers driving around with really poorly executed body kits and terrible paint and finishes. I drive a Ranger, so I thought why don't I offer a solution for a high-quality kit, that we could fit to make the Ranger look a little bit more unique.
“We came across this TTN Hypersport kit and I got in touch with them and the negotiations began. Basically, we are now the official agents for these TTN Hypersports kits and we cat fit them to your Ranger or Everest, with exquisite attention to detail, the same as we would our muscle car projects," Drikus says.
He explains that TTN Hypersports is a Thailand based performance car brand that has been creating unique kits for Fords for years. "Their products are extremely sought after, and to secure the rights to the amazing kits for South Africa really opens up a world of opportunities for us," he adds.
The kits are imported as fully primed units, ready for paint to match your vehicles current paint scheme or you can wrap the kit and your car for an even more unique look. "As soon as we were able to, we had a kit flown in, to test fit it on one of our vehicles, a 2016 Ford Ranger XLT. We were amazed by the ease of fitment and the high quality of the kit. We have extensively tested the kit in an urban environment and for its off-road capabilities, and we were thrilled with the results," he adds.
Many cheap aftermarket kits are known to warp and distort in extreme heat, but the TTN kit did not disappoint him when it came to the hot African sun; it stayed as perfect as the day they installed it.
Nothing like it on our roads
Furthermore, Drikus explains, one of the most pleasing aspects that can be experienced is the reactions of fellow road users and pedestrians, who are in complete awe of the trucks and the presence that they have, which is completely understandable - after all, there is nothing like it on our roads.
I poked around a few finished units at the workshop and I can tell you that the workmanship is top-notch, supremely, top notch.
I've seen them all and driven some pretty awful conversion in my career behind the wheel, including Toyota MR2s that were turned into Ferrari 355s and Audi TTS that were converted to look like Audi R8s, but these bakkies are so exquisitely finished that you would think it rolled out of the factory this way.
In fact, while looking at these bakkies, I was thinking that Ford South Africa needn't bother with a facelift of the Ranger, they just offer these kits to customers as an option to give their vehicles a second life. I mean, think about it. Let's say you've just paid off your 2015 Ranger and you were maybe thinking of buying a newer model. If you've serviced and maintained your vehicle properly, and paid it off, you could have one of these kits fitted to give your vehicle a fresh lease on life.
How your Ford Ranger is easily turned into a Ford F150
Attention to detail is key to the complete look of the truck, from the unique F150 style headlights with the sequential indicators to the inhouse upgraded LED taillights and everything in between. “We had to take on this opportunity because there was nothing that came close to this aftermarket kit in South Africa. We saw a gap in the market as Ford South Africa had no apparent plans to bring in the Ford F150 a lot of us were longing for in the local market, and TTN had the perfect solution,” Drikus concludes.
The entire conversion process is "bolt-on"; there's no cutting and splicing or welding and all the components, simply swap out with your existing Ranger parts. The entire front end bolts off and the F150 front end is bolted on. The aggressive wheel arches are also bolted on or secured using special bonding material to ensure a snug, durable fit. The TTN Hypersports F150 kit fitted by All American Muscle will work on the following Ford models:
– Ranger double cab from 2012 until present
– Ranger Supercab from 2012 until present
– Everest from 2016 until present
The company also offers a wide variety of aftermarket options and performance upgrades to enable you to truly create a one-of-a-kind truck.
Here's what the TTN Hypersports Ford F-150 kit for Ford Rangers consist of:
– Left and right front fenders
– Fender grille inserts
– Front fender wheel arches
– Front bumper
– Front headlight set with sequential indicators
– Front headlight electronic connecters
– Front grille
– Loading bin fenders left & right
– Fuel cap
– Rear taillights with LED globes
Optional extras for your Ranger could include:
– Upgraded tailgate panel R3500
– Custom rear bumper R12 500
– Custom front lettering R2500
– Custom wheels (Priced according to client's preference)
– An upgraded lift-kit suspension (Priced according to client's preference)
The estimated installation fee is around R25 000 while paint and colour match for the kit panels are estimated at around R 28 500.
All American Muscle will give you the following warranty:
– A full paint warranty will be carried by a Ford approved paint shop.
– 12-month warranty on the workmanship when fitted an approved dealer.
Where to get your Ford Ranger Converted into an F150
– All American Muscle (Gauteng)
– E-Rods (Western Cape)
Oh, it takes about four weeks to turn your Ford Ranger into an F-150.
You can contact All American Muscle on [email protected] for more info.
Also, remember to let your insurers know that you are making such a conversion as it will affect your insurance cover.
If your vehicle is still under warranty with Ford South Africa, we'd suggest getting in touch with them to see if they will still honour your warranties if you have the kit fitted.