Yes, you read that right... No, this isn't the F150 ecoboost pickup. No I'm not smoking a bong full of salvia. Come read about this seldom heard concept truck of the 90's after the break!
I have been a fan of Ford's first and second gen explorers for a long time now. For a brief moment of my life I even owned a 1994 Eddie Bauer with my brother. I like to think I know a good amount of info about the Ranger Based Vehicles, so it came to my surprise when I just heard about this concept explorer from 1998.
The 1998 Tremor concept was based on the (at the time) current explorer, which was the 1995-2001 era of explorer. This was the last era of the RBV explorer. You could get it with a 4.0 Cologne OHV V6, a 4.0 SOHC Cologne V6, or a 5.0L Windsor V8. But a second gen explorer with a modular V8? Never!
Ford never actually made a sport truck out of the explorer. Some of you may remember the Saleen XP6/XP8, or the Sport Trac Adrenalin, which was great as a concept but nothing more than an appearance package in production. But apparently back in 1997, Ford came out with this radical concept for a sport truck version of the explorer.
It featured a 4.6L 5V V8. Let me say that again, 4.6L FIVE Valve V8. (You know, like Audi does). Ford teamed up with Yamaha (who did the engines in the taurus SHO) to come up with these heads for the modular V8. It took the compression from 9.85:1 to 10.5:1. Featuring a twin 70mm throttle body, and dual spray high flow injectors, this engine put out 380HP @ 6400RPM and 350TQ @ 4000rpm. For comparison purposes, a 1996-98 Ford Mustang Cobra made 305hp, and a 93-98 Lincoln Mark Viii made 290HP in LSC form.
It gets better though, as the engine wasn't the only unique piece of this concept truck. Ford backed this engine with the tried and true 4R70W using a torque converter from the Mark Viii. They also retained the V8 explorers all wheel drive system (not to be confused with the 4wd system of the v6 explorers). For the back, Ford ditched the standard 8.8" solid axle, and completely re-engineered the back half of the explorer frame to accept a MN12 Thunderbird Independent Rear Suspension. A Mark Viii rear end with airbags was considered but scrapped due to time constraints. Engineers did keep the aluminum diff houisng from the Mark Viii which replaced the Thunderbirds cast iron housing. They installed 4.10 gears in the Mark Viii housing and stuck the IRS in place.
To make this truck stop and handle, Ford fitted 13" vented front rotors from the 1995 Mustang Cobra R, and kept the Thunderbirds vented rotors for the rear. They fitted 19" wheels with 245/60/19 Goodyear Tires.
Its a shame this was never produced. Like the original Sport Trac Adrenalin concept (which had a 4V Supercharged V8), the Tremor looks like it was an incredible concept in its day. On paper the truck should have been good for 0-60's somewhere in the 6 second range, and 1/4 mile runs in under 15 seconds. That would roughly put it in the territory of a second generation Ford Lightning F150, which didn't come out until 1999.
As with most concepts, most times the styling cues will be a tip towards future generations of the vehicle. In this case, I believe this truck was a hint at the Third Generation Explorer. The third gen ditched the RBV platform, gained a 4.6L 2V modular V8, a 5spd transmission, and an IRS. I mean hell, they even look similar!
If anyone has any information to share, feel free to share. I tried looking for pictures of the engine, or the interior, or anything else, but I can't find a ton of information about this truck.