So if you haven't caught on by now, here's a clue: Four-door trucks are the new rage in the off-road scene. Before we go any further, we would like to thank Ford for its enthusiasm for our magazine and continued support in the area of project vehicles, giving us a chance to outfit them with the newest products from the aftermarket industry.
The wave of new trucks with added seating capacity has opened up a new arena of practicality and function for off-road enthusiasts. Now one can load up and head out to backcountry adventures with ample seating for family, friends, or race crew inside one cab. For larger families, this is great. It is also an added bonus with a group of buddies heading out for the weekend to rage off-road. For OFF-ROAD magazine, it was an excellent vehicle to mock up as the new millennium's chase truck for Baja desert racing.
Ford had shown an eagerness to participate in our Desert Chase Truck project. It was hot to trot with the release of its new Ford Explorer Sport Trac, based on the Ford Explorer platform. What better way to showcase the Sport Trac's capabilities than in OFF-ROAD magazine?
After we penciled out our project, we contacted the participants on the list. The first stop was RW Automotive Designs in Sylmar, California, where the front and rear bumpers, the rollcage, and the bed cage were fabricated.
At the same time, the crew at RW Automotive were thrashing away to meet our tight deadline. Next, we contacted Mastercraft Seats in Santee, California, and ordered a pair of seats for the front and the rear of our project Desert Chase truck. Mastercraft quickly began construction of our suspension-designed seats. While the staff was at it, they also stitched up a set of five-point harnesses and storage bags for tools.
RW Automotive went at it double-duty; while the truck was at its facility, Superlift sent out its new new 4-inch lift kit for the Sport Trac. The guys at RW burned the wick at both ends and handled the installation of the new suspension system.
With our theme for the project, function was imperative; we needed a set of wheels and tires that would fit the bill. Ultra Wheels in Buena Park, California, sent out a set of Type 62 wheels to Champion Wheels to be machined for the installation of its bead locks. For rubber, we went with Pro Comp tires and its all-season tire.
Under the hood, the Sport Trac's performance has been slightly enhanced with a Borla stainless steel exhaust system and K&N's filter element replacement.
This has only been a synopsis of the first four-week buildup to be displayed at the SEMA Show. However, up next for our Desert Chase Truck Project Sport Trac are some hand-fabricated changes, including a new front and rear suspension system with longer travel and skin and metal around the truck. Over the course of the year, we will also squeeze more ponies out of the engine. Stay tuned for upcoming stories.