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Can You Handle the Ford SkyRanger Drop-Top Pickup's Radness?

Automobile logo Automobile 8/10/2020 Alex Kierstein
a car parked in front of a building: 1991 Ford SkyRanger 12 © Automobile Magazine Staff 1991 Ford SkyRanger 12

"Wait a second," you might be thinking, "I vaguely remember the Dodge Dakota convertible, but I've never heard of a Ranger drop-top." You're not losing your mind, reader. Took us a second to remember it. And yes, the famous (and rare) Dodge Dakota convertible is one of the only relatively modern convertible pickups made in the last 40 years, joining a very select group that includes the Jeep Gladiator and Chevrolet SSR—as well as the even older Ford Bronco pickup and Jeep Scrambler. But this 1991 Ford SkyRanger is real, and never entered production despite being pitched (allegedly) to Ford. If you think Ford made a huge mistake, you can buy this example listed on Craigslist.

a car parked in a field: 1989 Dodge Dakota convertible © Automobile Magazine Staff 1989 Dodge Dakota convertible

There's a limited amount of information out there, especially about which outfit actually converted the Ford Ranger into a convertible, but all sources agree this was a job done outside Ford. That should be pretty obvious from how the SkyRanger presents—it looks like a third party conversion, not that this is a bad thing. But it doesn't look factory.

Some sources claim it's an American Sunroof Company/American Specialty Cars conversion, like the Dakota Convertible, but it doesn't look like an ASC product to us. And that's borne out by the ads included in the listing, which show the SkyRanger to be a product of Autocrafters (aka Professional Autocrafters), a short-lived company based in Livonia, Michigan—near Ford's Dearborn HQ.

In some ways, the SkyRanger is awfully clever. This was an extra-cab ranger, and the top folds down into the area behind the front seats in a cleaner way than the Dakota's lumpy arrangement. The forward-slanting "targa surround" is better done than the Dakota's "mouse-trap" style roll bar, too. Whether it's sufficient to protect the occupants during a rollover is uncertain. The ads show two versions, a "GTS" with lower aero add-ons, and the "Elite" without. The listed truck appears to be a GTS.

The seller claims just 7,500 miles have passed beneath this sunchaser, and is asking $24,995. There are so few of these around, and they're such strange animals, that figuring out if that price is a fair ask is difficult. Really nice Dakota convertibles, which are more common (if you can call them common), trade for around $10,000, according to speciality insurer Hagerty, so take that for what it's worth. Perhaps the sky is the upper limit of the price range, or maybe we're just trying to force in a SkyRanger pun here.

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