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2001 Ford Explorer Sport Trac - Form Follows Function

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Posted March 1, 2004

Mike Duval's Sport Trac Allies Style And Performance Into One Attractive Package

We don't have a clue as to why enthusiast-modified versions of Ford's Sport Trac aren't seen in large numbers. Based on the Ranger platform, the V-6-powered, crew cab-bodied ultra-shortbed truck is a handsome beast indeed when properly outfitted. Case in point: Mike Duval's functional, flashy '01 'Trac.

Built as a rolling showcase for Duval's company, X-Treme Toyz, the Blue Oval is a past winner of the prestigious Ford Motor Company Design Award, which is a much-coveted honor given to select trucks at the annual SEMA Show.

To impress Ford execs, Duval made use of bolt-on aftermarket accessories along with custom-fabbed goodies to enhance the style and stamina of his Sport Trac. The 4x4's suspension is based on a 4-inch-lift Superlift system, which was installed by the crew at Off Road Unlimited in Burbank, California. The lifted suspension made room within the wheelwells for Weld Racing's Outback wheels, which are wrapped with Parnelli Jones Dirt Grip tires. The rear wheels are hauled to a stop by Stainless Steel Brakes' rear disc conversion kit.

The 4.0L V-6 engine that powers Ford's Sport Trac is a smooth and reliable performer, but every engine can use additional power, so Duval installed an aFe intake system and air filter, a high-flow mass air sensor from Granatelli Motorsports, and a Borla Cat-Back exhaust system. Also found under the hood is an Optima battery.

Performance Accessories supplied a 3-inch body lift for the truck, and the custom front and rear auxiliary tube bumpers (as well as the front skidplate) are the handiwork of Reaper Racing. A Can-Back soft shell covers the bed and is topped with a storage rack from Con-Ferr. The bed's interior is coated with Line-X material, and PIAA lights make after-dusk trail rides a reality. Louie at L&G Enterprises in San Dimas, California, went wild on the Sport Trac's exterior, spraying a flashy mandarin gold over the entire truck, then toping it with white pearl and maroon Chroma-Flair stripes.

Once you set foot on the Warn entry steps and enter the cockpit, you're greeted by a CR Laurence sunroof, carpeting from Nifty Products, and seats equipped with Relaxor heat and massage units. A Clarion audio system featuring Planet Audio amplifiers and Clarion speakers delivers the sounds; Clarion also supplied the ceiling-mounted monitors. Rick Ross of Burbank, California, expertly installed all the audio and video equipment.

As noted, Ford's Sport Trac is an excellent starting point for a custom wheeler. As shown by Mike Duval, the small Ford can be modified to deliver a high degree of style and function; it's just a matter of choosing and using the right components, then hitting the trail with a unique, eye-catching, and capable ride.

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