’85 Ranger-bodied Ford Taurus police car wins $2000 Challenge

Colin
By Colin Wood
Apr 8, 2024 | $2000 Challenge

Photography Credit: Dave Green

How fast can you go for less than $2000? That's the whole idea behind our annual Grassroots Motorsports $2000 Challenge presented by Tire Rack.

Whether teams built a car for less than $2000, entered their over-budget build, or both: They all battled against each other across autocross, drag racing and concours sessions at Gainesville Raceway to see if money really equals speed.

So, who had the fastest low-buck machine? That honor goes to Katie Ortengren’s team Material Girls Racing and their 1985 Ford Ranger-bodied Ford Taurus police car.

In second place was Wreck Racing and their Factory Five 818/Nissan 300ZX amalgamation, followed by Kevin Flavin and his 1985 Chevrolet Corvette.

For their efforts, each team won a big trophy and a gift card from Tire Rack: $1000 for first place, $500 for second place and $250 for third place.

The full field of $2000 Challenge winners are as follows:

  • 1st Overall - Biggest trophy, $1000 Tire Rack gift card: Katie Ortengren, 1985 Ford Ranger
  • 2nd Overall - Bigger trophy and $500 Tire Rack gift card: Wreck Racing, 1990 Nissan 300ZX
  • 3rd Overall - Big trophy and $250 Tire Rack gift card: Kevin Flavin, 1985 Chevrolet Corvette
      
  • GTN$ Winner - $250 Grassroots Motorsports Store gift card: John Avery, 1993 Honda civic
  • GTW$ Winner - $250 Grassroots Motorsports Store gift card: Katie Ortengren, 1985 Ford Ranger
  • GTU$ Winner - $250 Grassroots Motorsports Store gift card:  Wreck Racing, 1990 Nissan 300ZX
      
  • Autocross
    • GTN
      • 1st Place - $500 Tire Rack gift card: Tristan Sothern, 2008 Subaru WRX STI
      • 2nd Place  - Trophy:  Brad Alderman, 2020 Mazda Miata
      • 3rd Place - Trophy: William Carpenter, 2021 Hyundai Veloster N
    • GTW
      • 1st Place - $500 Tire Rack gift card: Robert Palmblad, 2008 Mazda MX-5
      • 2nd Place - Trophy: Dan Simionescu, 2005 Mazda Miata
      • 3rd Place - Trophy: Scott McGlone, 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STi
    • GTU
      • 1st Place - $500 Tire Rack gift card: Carlos Morales, 2015 Porsche 911 GTS
      • 2nd Place - Trophy: Michael Simmons, 2022 Chevrolet C8 Corvette
      • 3rd Place - Trophy: Bill Cuttitta, Caterham Carl Bauersfeld's Lotus 7
    • GTN$
      • 1st Place - $500 Tire Rack gift card:  John Avery, 1993 Honda civic
      • 2nd Place - Trophy: Rob Rabenstein, 2004 Mazda Rx8
      • 3rd Place - Trophy: The Blockbusters, 1985 Mercury Cougar
    • GTW$
      • 1st Place - $500 Tire Rack gift card: Katie Ortengren, 1985 Ford Ranger
      • 2nd Place - Trophy: Ben Lewis, 1971 Opel GT
      • 3rd Place - Trophy: John Sommersdorf, 1994 Ford Mustang GT
    • ​​​​GTU$
      • 1st Place - $500 Tire Rack gift card: Andrew Surprenant, 2002 Toyota MR2 Spyder
      • 2nd Place - Trophy: Jonathan Whitaker, 2006 Pontiac Solstice
      • 3rd Place - Trophy: Wreck Racing, 1990 Nissan 300ZX
          
  • Drag Racing
    • GTN 1st Place - Trophy: Tristan Sothern, 2008 Subaru WRX STI
    • GTW 1st Place -Trophy: Robert Palmblad, 2008 Mazda MX-5
    • GTU 1st Place - Trophy: Kyle Cox, 2021 Ford Mustang GT500
    • GTN$
      • 1st Place - Trophy: John Avery, 1993 Honda civic
      • 2nd Place - Trophy: The Blockbusters, 1985 Mercury Cougar
      • 3rd Place - Trophy: Rob Rabenstein, 2004 Mazda Rx8
    • GTW$
      • 1st Place - Trophy: Katie Ortengren, 1985 Ford Ranger
      • 2nd Place - Trophy: Chris Tootle, 1996 Ford Mustang
      • 3rd Place - Trophy: Ben Lewis, 1971 Opel GT
    • GTU$
      • 1st Place - Trophy: Andrew Nelson, 1980 Pontiac Sunbird
      • 2nd Place - Trophy: Kevin Flavin, 1985 Chevrolet Corvette
      • 3rd Place - Trophy: Jonathan Whitaker, 2006 Pontiac Solstice
    • The quickest car competing in an over-budget class wins a trophy and a new Millermatic® 142 MIG Welder from Miller: Kyle Cox, 2021 Ford Mustang GT500
    • The quickest car competing in a budget-limited class wins a new QuickJack from BendPak: Andrew Nelson, 1980 Pontiac Sunbird
        
  • Concours​​​​​​
    • GTN$
      • 1st Place – Trophy and a CRC SmartWasher BenchtopPRO Kit from CRC Industries: Night Owl Racing, 1989 Ford Festiva
      • 2nd Place – Trophy and a $100 Gas Card from CRC Industries: Rob Rabenstein, 2004 Mazda Rx8
      • 3rd Place – Trophy and a case of assorted products from CRC Industries: William Ehrman, 1985 Maserati Biturbo
    • GTW$
      • 1st Place – Tphy and a CRC SmartWasher BenchtopPRO Kit from CRC Industries: Katie Ortengren, 1985 Ford Ranger
      • 2nd Place – Trophy and a $100 Gas Card from CRC Industries: Ben Lewis, 1971 Opel GT
      • 3rd Place – Trophy and a case of assorted products from CRC Industries:   Michael Crawford, Subaru Baja
    • GTU$
      • 1st Place – Tophy and a CRC SmartWasher BenchtopPRO Kit from CRC Industries: Wreck Racing, 1990 Nissan 300zx
      • 2nd Place – Tophy and a $100 Gas Card from CRC Industries: Patrick Caherty, 1965 Chevrolet Corvair Monza
      • 3rd Place – Trophy and a case of assorted products from CRC Industries: Kevin Flavin, 1985 Chevrolet Corvette
          
  • Special Prizes
    • Challenger’s Choice – Trophy and a $500 Tire Rack gift card: Kevin Flavin, 1985 Chevrolet Corvette
    • Editor’s Choice - Trophy and a Weld Bench from Miller: Night Owl Racing, 1989 Ford Festiva
    • Fastest Dynamic Time - Trophy and $250 Grassroots Motorsports Store Gift Card: Robert Palmblad, 2008 Mazda MX-5
    • Highest Scoring $1000 Budget Car - Trophy and $250 Grassroots Motorsports Store Gift Card: Matthew Stively, 1991 Chevrolet S10

Catch up on all the action at the $2000 Challenge Live Thread and​​​​ Look for full coverage of the $2000 Challenge in an upcoming issue of Grassroots Motorsports. Visit 2000challenge.com for future updates.

 

The Grassroots Motorsports $2000 Challenge is presented by Tire Rack, in association with CRCMiller and BendPak.

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Comments
Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
4/8/24 10:13 a.m.
Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/8/24 10:22 a.m.

First off: Ladies, congrats.  It's been awesome watching you all come out and grow as a team.  Please keep it up 

Second, can we please get a build thread of this?  I'd love to see what was required to adapt the two vehicles.

Third, I know the Taurus did not have a title.  Did the Ranger?  Is it now streetable?

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/8/24 10:54 a.m.

Video coming soon! And, yes, they kept this one very much on the D.L. 

hobiercr
hobiercr GRM+ Memberand UberDork
4/8/24 10:58 a.m.

In reply to Mr_Asa :

The ranger does not have a title. sad

Datsun240ZGuy
Datsun240ZGuy MegaDork
4/8/24 12:16 p.m.

Most importantly than this did you'all find out what that little black Tire Rack disc in the goodie bag was for?

mikerunt
mikerunt GRM+ Memberand New Reader
4/8/24 5:43 p.m.

More details on the ranger build!

rich911s
rich911s Reader
4/8/24 6:08 p.m.

In reply to Mr_Asa :

Yessir! The girls will be posting a build thread very soon.  Thanks again to the staff at GRM for putting on a great family friendly competition, and thanks to all of the competitors for making this such a special event.  My kids have been coming since 2013 and they look forward to it every year.  Here's a teaser pic for their thread, it's hard to tell just how small but mighty this thing is without a frame of reference:
  

GCrites
GCrites Dork
4/8/24 6:16 p.m.

I love lowered mini trucks at autocross. A well-sorted one can really get around a course.

Evanuel9
Evanuel9 HalfDork
4/8/24 6:18 p.m.

I'm really surprised at the quality of the taurus platform! Especially in the autocross with all that weight and size. Nicely done - chassis swaps are always sweet

Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter)
Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
4/8/24 6:20 p.m.

I still want to know how the got a Ranger body on a Taurus.

Looking forward to the build thread.

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