Rare 1987 Ford Ranger Shadow Bed?

At first I was skeptical of this seller’s claims that this Ford Ranger “Shadow” edition was a one of 15 truck, and it isn’t really – but the bed does appear to be a rare article that existed in prototype form only. The “Shadow” bed, according to various internet sources, was sent to a few dealers as a complete truck (15 of which were made) or just in bed form, with the quantity cited of just five standalone beds sent out for fitting. The details are still a bit hazy, but you’ll find the bed here on craigslist for $1,000 or the whole truck for $1,400. 

Thanks to Barn Finds reader Levi for the find. The seller’s truck appears to be like any other Ford Ranger of the 80s, with the rare bed tacked on at some point. The bed is a fiberglass, short-box stepside design that Ford apparently wanted to test the market viability of. It was a short-lived project, as evidenced by the meager production numbers. A complete original truck would be quite a find, but one of the five “test beds” is worth saving as well.

The question is whether this bed was removed from one of the 15 complete Rangers, or if it is indeed one of the five “optional” beds that dealers could fit to a truck on their lots. The obscurity factor is high here, but the question remains whether that alone drives desirability or value. The seller says that interest is rising in this generation Ranger, but I don’t buy it. For many people, this is still just a tired economy-spec pickup truck.

The stepside bed is also an interesting footnote in domestic truck styling. It seems like there was always a demographic that wanted to add this boxy fixture to the rear of even a narrow-track truck like the Ranger. While the sidesteps were a smart feature worth having, I suspect it’s a good thing the overly-generous flares fad died out – but I’d love to know if the seller ends up finding a fellow Ranger fanatic who wants one of these rare “Shadow” beds for their restoration project. Would you buy it?

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  1. Chuckster

    No, the whole idea of a truck is to haul stuff. Can’t fit much in that thing

    • cyclemikey

      I agree with the sentiment, but remember that it’s always the stepsides and shortbeds that get the raves, and the money.

      I always buy my trucks with a long wide bed because I use them as trucks, but that’s not where fashion or collector interest lies.

    • Keith

      Is it still available? Where is it?

  2. wuzjeepnowsaab

    The whole box was fiberglass? That’s crazy…As quickly as glass fenders on the step sides would get trashed I can’t even imagine what would happen to a box over a short time of loading.

    They hold almost as much as a town side. They’re 4′ wide on the inside so you can lay plywood flat

  3. Wayne

    A typical Ford “Accessories” failure. Ford decided that the dealer parts departments were missing the boat selling “goodies” to Ford truck owners. ( this was about 1988). My dealer wanted to jump in with both feet and wanted me to order about $30,000 worth. ( he really got the sales job at the dealer meeting) I told him that I was all for a program that would work. But the way that Ford had it set up the dealers would not be competitive. He did not believe me and told me to order the parts. I ordered the minimum and sold virtually nothing as Ford did nothing to support the dealer in the program and the new car department would not play ball either. About 8-10 months later I ordered about $60,000 worth as Ford sold all the accessories at a huge loss. My parts department made a huge profit as the parts prices were now very competitive. My dealer never questioned me again about a go or no go on Ford programs. Also any of the parts purchased through the accessories program were not returnable under the normal return program. So Ford not only dropped the ball on the program. They also stuck it to the dealers that bought the parts at the obscene cost.
    I never heard of the Shadow program and have only seen a couple of the step side beds. They were available through an aftermarket company for Toyotas and Nissans also. ( maybe the one that made them for Ford!?)
    I like the style when the fenders are filled with tire. Otherwise they are not very durable.

    • Country Joe

      Wayne, I think the step side beds you are thinking of was California Step Side, Inc. Those beds actually looked good, unlike this Ranger abomination.

  4. Steve A


  5. CanuckCarGuy

    The rear wheels appear fairly centered in the wheel wells, however there’s far too much gap between the bed and cab. If this was indeed factory, I can see why it didn’t take off…not to mention the sketchy looking fuel filler.

    • Mr Big

      What you looking at is a Chevy Scottsdale step side bed. I would check the bolt pattern to the frame. I would guarantee the frame had new holes drilled. Ford wouldn’t put out some thing,as short. The tail lights are a big no no.

  6. William T Mickere

    Is the shopping cart included?

  7. Ohio Rover

    The shopping cart likely has a higher payload rating.

  8. Fordguy1972

    Not impressed at all with that “Shadow” bed. It just looks like it doesn’t belong to that Ranger. It looks exactly like what it is; a tacky, gimmicky add-on. Plus it’s fiberglass? Yeah, that will last if you work the truck. That bed is about as useful as a busted broomstick to a drunken witch in a hurricane. Rare in this case doesn’t equate to desirable or valuable. I’d buy the truck for the $400, keep the plastic bed.
    I had an ’88 Ranger for the best part of 25 years. A good, dependable truck that was cheap to own and run. I bought it new; 4 cylinder stick base Custom model. Zero options, a bare-bones stripper. Sold it to a kid that wrecked it in 25 days. Kinda broke my heart.

  9. Steve

    Rare and desirable are not not the same trait. It reminds me of the old saying “It’s rare when I crap my pants. It’s never desirable.”

  10. gordie61

    Wasn’t there a company called California Step Sides that made these for mini trucks?

  11. Healeymonster

    You can’t look at this from a point of practicality because it was designed in a era where mini trucks were the fad. Car shows in the 80s were filled with modified customised trucks that would never see a bag of groceries in the bed let alone a load of 2x4s or gravel. Ford was trying to cash in on this but failed in its execution.

  12. David Ulrey Member

    I Googled these and when the whole truck is the same color and the paint is in good condition I actually liked them. Drop in a mild 302 and the transmission of your choice and cruise. That’s my feelings on it anyway. We all have different tastes. I’m not a fan of the fullsize (or small versions either) extra cab stepside trucks Ford and GM made. I think they look kind of strange but many people love them. Different strokes for …well you know the rest of the saying.

  13. BR

    The ad has been flagged for removal. Karma.

  14. Metalman

    This bed was made by Delta III of Sturgis, Mi. We made them for conversion companies all over the US. We also made step side beds for S10 and Dakota. The story that only 15 were made is not true. We made hundreds. I’m the guy that designed and drew the prints. If you can picture a Ford dually of that era you can see where the fender design comes from. We bought a dually fender and cut it down.

    • GW

      where are you guys located now?? i’m looking for some of these bed sides

    • Danny74

      Yea, I know how you feel. I’de love somthing like that too.
      Though I would prefer to have it aluminum.

  15. Metalman

    That bed was made by Delta III Corp in Sturgis, Mi. We made Ranger, Dakota, and S10 step side beds and we made hundreds of them. The name “shadow” comes from a small van and truck converter that bought and installed some of these beds. Yes, there was a company called California Step Sides, I bought one as an example then designed my own. I was one of the owners of Delta III

  16. Wayne

    GW, if you need any non-rusty Rangers. I have several.

  17. Dan Breejen

    We stopped making them somewhere around 1989. Ford and Chevy saw a market and started making their own, thus limiting the need for ours.

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