Throwback Thursday: A Ford Explorer Pickup Truck?

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Classic Ford truck commercial explains how the Explorer was born, and it certainly wasn’t an SUV.

In the modern age of the American auto industry, the Ford Explorer is hands down the most popular SUV. Not only that, but it’s one of the vehicles that helped make the SUV segment so popular once upon a time.

However, back in the 1970s the Ford Explorer wasn’t an SUV, it was the premium trim for the Ford F-100 and F-150. More specifically, the optional trim was offered as the next step up from the Ranger upscale trim, as this week’s ‘Throwback Thursday” video shows us.

As the commercial details, the 1978 Ford Explorer trim added unique paint and stripes, along with eye-catching unique colors, jazzy hub caps, and upscale materials in the cabin. It could also be fitted with power steering, cruise control and a variety of engines, including several V8 options.

In case you’re still confused (it happens), instead of calling it the F-100 or F-150 Explorer, Ford simply called it the Ford Explorer. That would be like Ford marketing the current F-150 Platinum as simply the “Ford Platinum.” The Blue Oval sold both the F-100 and F-150 back then, but the trim continued beyond the F-100, existing until the 1987 model year.

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Patrick Rall is a regular contributor to LS1Tech and JK Forum, among other auto sites.

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