2001 Ford Explorer Sport Trac - On The Right Trac
An SUT Lies Low At A Freaky Show
The engineers in Detroit have tried to breed the best traits that pickups and SUVs offer into the sport utility truck concept, but, by doing so, can wield some unusual aesthetic results. While this cross-pollenization has successfully created a great compromise between a pickup's open-bed utility and an SUV's passenger-friendly cavernous interior, the downside can be tall, bulbous bodies punctuated by the incongruous jut of the shortened bed.
While cruising the Freakfest truck run in Bakersfield, California, last year, we spied a Ford Sport Trac that didn't look quite right - that is, if we hadn't almost missed it completely. Not that it wasn't worth a good look, it certainly was, it's just that if someone had said, "Dude, look at that sweet Sport Trac over there," we would have glanced about a foot too high, passing over Dan Sather's unexpectedly lowered SUT. Once we spotted it, it still took us a minute to figure out what it was.
Who knew that the '01 Ford Explorer Sport Trac would be such a good candidate for a mini-truck-style rebuild? Apparently, Dan Sather did. The Orangevale, California, resident bought the vehicle in 2002 and decided that he wanted to do something different with it, which is exactly what happened. And the Sin Wagon was born.
House of Kolor Cobalt Blue dominates the factory silver body pain and interior design. James Cashman, of Cashman Customs in Concord, California, painted skulls, ghosted nautical stars (in gold candy), and created flames that lend an edgy but whimsical quality to this ride. In addition, IPC HID headlights, stock bumpers, taillights - none of these escaped Cashman's brush. Meanwhile, a Trenz plastic, billet-colored insert dresses the grille, while the roof rack was shaved, and the third brake light bubble was widened to accommodate a custom LED. A billet FBI antenna replaces the stock one.
Dan installed a cool audio and video system along with most of the other interior appointments. A Pioneer AVX-P73000VD in-dash DVD and video unit heads up the entertainment system. Powering the two Audiobahn AW1006T 10-inch subwoofers is an Eclipse PA4212 amplifier that is bridged at 1 ohm for 100Wx2 of performance. Audiobahn powers the Alpine SPF171A component speakers in the factory door locations with an A4401Q 100Wx4 amplifier. The subs and Audiobahn amp reside in a sealed, fiberglass enclosure built by Sean Dehart and stashed under the rear seats. Meanwhile, the Eclipse amp is located behind the rear seats. PS2 satisfies itchy trigger fingers during those long hauls, while the subsequent video chaos can be viewed on a Micro MS14.5 141/2-inch flip-down video monitor. Backing up the system is a Yellow Top battery from Optima.
Katzkin leather seats, colored gray with dove gray inserts, match the gray carpet from Central 4 Wheel Drive and gray headliner, all of which goes well with Cashman's cobalt blue undead astral works painted throughout the interior. Dan also added extra touches, such as a Trenz billet mirror, a Nu-Image blue flame instrument panel, billet headlights, and HVAC controls.
This Sport Trac is lowered 11 inches from stock, thanks to a Monster Notch from FBI (Fender Bender International) and some fast Slam Specialties Blitzluft 1/2-inch valves. Dan and buddy Chris Krohn did all the suspension work. They cut down the Monster Notch to fit under the bed, rather than cutting the bed itself. After removing the stock torsion bars, they replaced the torsion bars with torsion bar-style brackets from FBI. They also tweaked the four-link setup with an FBI triangulated four-link with 3/4-inch Heims. DJM shocks damp all four corners, while the Wagon rolls down the road on 22-inch Sinister wheels wrapped in P285/35R22 Nitto Extreme ZR tires.
While this Sport Trac looks high-speed, it is, according to Dan, powered by a "4.slow" V-6, which has a "slow" quarter-mile time, a governed top speed of 105 mph, and "not enough" horsepower. Did we mention that it was slow? While Dan may not be pleased with the performance, it must do better than stock, if nothing else, because the engine and powertrain do sport a few tweaks. Take, for example, K&N air intake (painted by Cashman) and throttle-body spacer, 3-inch Flowmaster exhaust with two-chamber cat, narrower AAA Driveline driveshaft, and Motorcraft distributor, spark coil, and plug wires.
Dan thanks a lot of people for supporting him in this project: his fiance (and probably wife by the time this goes to print) Candice, the crew at FBI (which is where he works and no doubt gets a great discount), Jeff at AVS, Tyson at K&N, Cashman Customs, Steve and Phil, Chris Kohn, Bulletproof Bedliners. Dan built this project because the Chevy S-10s were so common. He wanted something that prods people to ask, "What is it?" A question that the judges ask, too, as they struggle to squeeze the oversized, mini, truck, SUV, utility whatever into the proper category. Don't even try - this Sport Trac is in a class by itself.