Our premium charred timber, Shou Sugi Ban® is typically specified by architects, building developers and interior designers. However, every once in a while, we receive a more unusual request. The beautiful restoration of a 1960’s Ford Ranchero is one example. How would tinted charred timbers add the finishing touches to this classic American pickup truck?

Charred Timber Cladding Spotted on Television

In 2019, Gary Jenkins bought a Ford classic from Kansas. It was a wreck, but Gary is a highly respected mechanic and this was his latest restoration project. His work on the vehicle involved stripping it back to the original metalwork, before painstakingly reconditioning every element and converting it to an automatic. When complete, Gary intended to use the pickup to transport his classic motorbikes to shows.

Authenticity is key to restoration projects and many American pickup trucks were originally fitted with a wooden bed. Most restorers would purchase planks in a kit from America, but Gary was looking for something a little different.

Part way through the project, Gary spent an evening watching Grand Designs. In this particular episode, the build was Sayang House, a Malaysian-inspired, timber-clad home in Ely.

The architect of this grand design had specified traditional, blackened wood, which the client felt was too heavy. The programme featured the range of Shou Sugi Ban® samples that we had sent as alternative options. The client found their ideal timber cladding and Gary spotted a potential material for his vehicle’s wooden bed.

Vehicle restoration

Shou Sugi Ban® Catalogue Requested

Gary visited our website, requesting the Shou Sugi Ban® catalogue and a couple of samples of our range of coloured charred Douglas Fir timbers. Douglas Fir has a strong grain and the traditional Japanese charring process further defines the natural pattern. Our team have developed a process for applying colour between this grain, which creates a striking effect.

These samples were shared with the painter and joiner who were involved in the vehicle restoration and all agreed that the teal blue AO would add the ideal finishing touch to the Ford Ranchero.

Even with small projects, our lead times are currently quite long, but as Gary was occupied with other aspects of the transformation, this wasn’t an issue. When the wood arrived, Gary was surprised to see the board weren’t identical; the grain variation is quite distinct. Having said this, the joiner loved the finish and character, working with this to create a layout that looks fantastic.


Charred Timber Installation

The bed needed to include stainless steel trims and mount fixings that would hold motorbikes in place during transportation. A neighbouring company, R.S.Sets Ltd, had a machine that precision-cut the pieces of wood and metal and thanks to the expertise of Ray and Gethin, the perfect fit was achieved.

The tinted colour looks fantastic alongside the blue paint, skillfully applied by Will, to create an authentic 1960s American finish to the Ford Ranchero.

Admiration for this Unique Restoration Project

This restoration project took place in Gary’s workshop, where customers of his successful Gold RV Sales & Service business often pop in. He said that seeing the truck being restored captured customers’ interest and they were keen to admire the workmanship and transformation involved.

Since completing the vehicle, it has been driven to a couple of car shows and classic bike shows, where it is widely admired. Gary says the charred timber looks stunning when dry and even more fantastic following a rain shower when the colours shine.

“My vehicle painter is soon to be starting a truck renovation and is keen to use Shou Sugi Ban®, so I’ve passed on the brochure. I would definitely recommend this charred wood to people who are looking for a unique finish for their project.”

– Gary Jenkins, specialist vehicle restorer and owner of Gold RV Sales & Service

We were delighted when Gary sent us pictures of the completed vehicle; the skilled workmanship and quality materials result in an amazing finish. This is the first time that our charred timbers have been used in this way.

If you are looking for a unique timber finish for your interior or exterior project, get in touch on 01494 711800 to request a brochure and samples.

Our range of charred timbers includes traditional blacken wood, lighter tones and a selection of colours. The charring process and our application of a protective coating ensure this is a low-maintenance timber product with longevity.