The idea of trucks pushing station wagons and even large sedans off showroom floors seemed far-fetched in the 1980s. Then a group of Renault engineers descended on Kenosha and the XJ Jeep Cherokee appeared a few years later, for the 1984 model year. At that point, the idea of a truck comfortable enough to be used as a regular suburban commuter appealed to American vehicle shoppers with a sense of adventure; Today, most new vehicles sold on our shores are trucks or at least Look like trucks. Ford took the next big step in the truck-ization of our roads in 1990, when the first 1991 Explorers appeared in showrooms. Here’s one of those first-year trucks, found in a Denver-area self-service car cemetery.
The Explorer name was not new to Ford at the time; Ford truck shoppers could get the Explorer option package in the late 1960s. At first it was just F-100 pickups but after a while there were Explorer Rancheros and even Bronco Explorers. As we can see from the dealer sticker, this truck was sold new at Fordland in Lakewood (which is now Larry H Miller Ford). It’s about 13 miles from its final parking lot just south of the Denver city limits.
The Explorer SUV has always been available as a four-door (Ford called these trucks “2-door” or “4-door” in 1991, hence the terminology I’m using here), while the new two- Door models were available. through 2003. The MSRP on this truck was $16,715, while the cheapest four-door ’91 Explorer with four-wheel drive started at $17,694 (that’s about $36,855 and $39,015 in 2023 dollars).
The first generation Explorer’s chassis was carried over from its predecessor, the Bronco II (which itself was based on the 1983 Ranger small pickup). It’s very much a truck with truck-style ride quality, though that solid-looking front axle setup is actually Ford’s late-1970s technology Twin Traction Beam independent suspension. A rear-wheel-drive version was also available.
The only engine available in the 1991–1994 Explorer (and its Mazda-badged twin, the Navajo) was the 4.0-liter pushrod Cologne V6, a descendant of the engine that powered many Pintos, Mustang IIs, and Caprices in the 1970s. Horsepower was 155 in 1991, increasing to 160 in 1993. The base transmission was a five-speed manual, but nearly every Explorer customer (including those who bought this truck new) opted for two-pedal driving.
Air conditioning was standard equipment in the first year Explorer Sport (but not in the cheaper XL).
For the 1993 model year, Chrysler introduced (in dramatic fashion) the unibody Grand Cherokee. This truck began development as an American Motors design, and featured a combination of car-like ride and tough truck appearance (as well as the ability to qualify for federal truck emissions and crash-safety specifications over similarly appointed sedans). is more generous than applied to) it is a huge sales success. It also completed the process started by the XJ Cherokee and Explorer. Soon, the automotive industry assumed the new law would switch trucks or dieAnd that’s where we are today.
four liters of electricity and as much external As many rooms as your heart desires.