1991 Ford Explorer Sport 2-Door 4×4
The idea of trucks pushing station wagons and even large sedans off show floors seemed far-fetched in the early 1980s. Then a couple of Renault engineers came to Kenosha and the XJ Jeep Cherokee appeared a few years later for the 1984 model year. At that point the idea was a truck that was comfortable enough to be used as a regular suburban commuter while looking adventurous , useful for American vehicle buyers; today the overwhelming majority of new vehicles sold on our shores are trucks, or at least they are see like trucks. Ford took the next big step in trucking our roads in 1990 when the first 1991 Explorers hit showrooms. Here’s one of those first-year trucks, found at a Denver area self-service junkyard.
The Explorer name was not new to Ford at the time; Ford truck buyers could get Explorer option packages beginning 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 by Fordland of Lakewood (now Larry H. Miller Ford). That’s about 13 miles from his last parking spot 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, so that’s the terminology I’m using here), while new two-door models continued to be available through 2003. The MSRP for this truck was $16,715, while the cheapest 4-door 4-wheel drive ’91 Explorer started at $17,694 (that’s about $36,855 and $39,015 in 2023).
The chassis of the first generation Explorer was derived from that of its predecessor, the Bronco II (which itself was based on the small 1983 Ranger pickup). This is very much a truck with truck-style ride quality, although this solid looking front axle setup is really Ford’s Twin Traction Beam independent suspension with late 1970’s technology. 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 a 4.0-liter pushrod Cologne V6, a descendant of the engine that powered many in the 1970s Pintos, Mustang IIs and Capris. Power in 1991 was 155 hp, increasing to 160 hp in 1993. The base transmission was a five-speed manual, but almost every Explorer customer (including the one who bought this truck new) opted for two-pedal driving.
Air conditioning was standard equipment on the first-year Explorer Sport (but not on the cheaper XL).
For the 1993 model year, Chrysler introduced (dramatically) the unibody Grand Cherokee. This truck had begun development as an American Motors design, and its combination of car-like handling and rugged truck appearance (plus the ability to qualify for federal truck emissions and crash safety specifications that were more lenient than those for a similar equipped sedan). it’s a big hit. It also completed the process that the XJ Cherokee and Explorer had started. Soon the automotive industry realized that the new law would be Switch to trucks or dieand here we are today.
Four liters of power and so much Outside Rooms to your heart’s content.