I always wanted an SUV, even back before they were called SUVs. After I wrecked my Volkswagen Scirocco, I went and bought an Isuzu Rodeo. I had that Rodeo for 3 days before I traded it in for my first Explorer - a 1995 Explorer Expedition Edition. The Expedition Edition was basically a 2-door Eddie Bauer. The Ford Expedition came out in 1997, so since I had a badge in the rear that said "Explorer Expedition" and both words were in a different font, it looked like I took an Expedition badge and put it on my explorer, but I swear up and down that is how it came. I've had to explain this story several times...
I think I paid $18K for it in 1998. It was pretty fully loaded, let me see if I can remember everything:
- 1995 Ford Explorer 2-door Expedition Edition
- Dark Green exterior with grayish-purple trim
- Carmel (brown) leather interior
- 2x4/4x4, but not Automatic 4x4
- 4.0L OHV engine (I think it was 160 HP)
- 5-speed automatic transmission with overdrive
- power mirrors, power locks
- fog lights
- sport style running boards
- premium wheels (top of the line stock chrome wheels, I think they were 17 inch)
- Factory in-build tilting/sliding moon-roof
- Awesome Seats - 8-way power with power lumbar and power cushion firmness adjustments, and they had these pop-up leg rests like a lazy-boy recliner.
- AM/FM/cassette radio - for as loaded as this vehicle was, I am very surprised that it didn't even have a single-disc CD player.
- off-road protection kit - a bunch of steel plates on the bottom of the truck would protect sensitive areas (engine, tranny, gas tank, drive line, etc) from damage when going off road. Sounds like a cool idea, but all it means is that I have to pay more labor at the shop for them to remove them to fix something.
Things I added:
- Lund visors, bug guard, rear spoiler
- 2" receiver and trailer wiring
- 3-ball hitch
- dash cover, steering wheel cover
- 6-disc CD changer (remember this was before off-the-shelf MP3 players were available in cars) under the passenger seat, FM modulated. And not just over-the-air - this one actually plugs into the antenna wire for better connection.
- floor mats
In 2002 I traded this explorer in for my 2001 explorer (visit my garage to see it). I don't have too many pictures of it, but here's what I could find:
That's Robin, my girlfriend at the time, come to pick me up from a church mission trip to Mexico.
That's me driving!
My dog Millie riding shot-gun! I think we were going to the lake.
My girlfriend-at-the-time Robin, my Sister Kelley, her dog Bud, riding to go play in the snow!
My girlfriend-at-the-time Robin and her friend Mel at the snow park.
That's my sister Kelley stuffed in the back of my explorer after we went shopping for Mothers day and bought so much stuff that there wasn't room for her anywhere else!
After a heavy rain, we had to go play in the mud!
While off-roading at night in the dark, I drove it off a 5-6 foot cliff and it nose-dived and hit pretty hard. You can see that I tore my lower half of my bumper off and bent my fog lights back up under the body. One of them broke off the cable and you can see it hanging down on the passenger side.
With those steel plates underneath, I thought I was invincible. I guess I was wrong!
I also messed up the alignment pretty bad - look at the picture of the front 2 tires and you can see them pointing in different directions! I took it to a shop and they asked if it was in an accident! They said it was bent out past the normal alignment adjustments so they had to install some kit to put it back where it belongs.
The next day I washed my truck off and I thought I could just hose all the mud down the gutter, but there was so much I had to go get a shovel and spread it in the flower beds!
Unfortunately I bought this vehicle just a few months before the big Ford/Bridgestone roll-over controversy in the late 90s. I watched the Blue Book value drop every month, usually by more than the payments I was making. I kept it for a few years, and I traded it in 2002 on a 2001 Explorer 4-door Eddie Bauer, but all I did was break even (trade-in value = what I still owed), but at least I didn't owe more than it was worth!