2001 Ford Explorer Sport Trac 4x4 SEMA Vehicle - Straight From The Jachmann

    As I'm writing this month's editorial, several topics are shooting through my mind. First and foremost, I wish I had a little more time to turn this in. Not for the sake of time, but for the outcome of the presidential election. To be put in a position of voting for a candidate for only one issue is compromising, to say the least. But the truth of the matter is that our land use and rights to access millions of acres across the U.S. are at stake. So I hope we all voted for the right candidate. I know the last thing I want is more land closure for off-roading. By the time you read this, the verdict will be in.

    So what have I been up to for the last month? Building a S.E.M.A. vehicle for OFF-ROAD magazine. Yeah, I know - easy job, right? All my friends give me a hard time about my job. While it's a lot of fun and it has a lot of perks, the pressure under deadline leaves no margin for error. We generally have four weeks to produce an issue. There are no ifs, ands, or butts when 100 percent of editorial is due. You either have your publication done on time, or you won't being doing your job for very long.

    It's the perks and the love for off-roading that keeps me glued to this desk. I love the challenge, and maybe the truth is, I'm a glutton for punishment. It might really be the pressure that drives me, though. You know, third down with 20 yards to make a first down. The pressure is on, the crowd is roaring. The ball snaps, you fade back, and throw a bomb into the end zone for a TD. That's the feeling I get when we come through with an awesome issue - coming through under pressure when every odd is against you, and you come out a winner.

    I said it when I first took over as editor in December of 1999. "I'm not here just to fill the seat. I'm here to make a difference and contribute my talents and passion into the product every month."

    So anyway, the S.E.M.A. vehicle I was frantically building is a 2001 Ford Sport Trac 4x4. With the Baja 2000 around the corner from S.E.M.A., the theme was set. OFF-ROAD magazine's Project Sport Trac had three weeks to look and work like a desert racing team's chase truck. No problem, right? It wasn't a problem except that everything that could go wrong did go wrong.

    You see, I wasn't the only one building a vehicle for the S.E.M.A. Show; most of the automotive industry was as well. Getting aftermarket parts in on time was more challenging than I had anticipated. Luckily, we had a team of players that went into overtime to facilitate what we needed. I'd personally like to thank RW Automotive for working long hours on the rollcage and the bumpers; MasterCraft Racing Products for the race seats and the five-point harnesses; Superlift for the lift kit; Borla exhaust for the Cat-Back exhaust system; Ultra Wheel for coming through when the others couldn't; Pro Comp Tires for the All Terrain rubber and accessories; Champion Wheels for the bead locks; K&N for the air intake system; and Modern Image for the decals. If it weren't for the dedication of the companies listed above, I wouldn't have scored a touchdown on the 3rd and 20. Thanks a bunch, guys.

    Throughout this year we will feature tech on Ford's newest member in the Explorer line. We'll show you a mini feature next month, and we'll get into some core off-road situations with the Sport Trac. So far, it has performed, well, Ford Tough, and we have a whole lot more to throw at it. Toward the end of the year we will have a long-term evaluation. We will also bring you S.E.M.A. Show coverage and showcase what was the bomb and who built it.

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