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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Top Deck 2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac Adrenalin

One of the hallmarks of collecting is finding a diecast vehicle that is made by a company that is rarely mentioned or find often or a vehicle model that has yet to be made in diecast. I've shown a few examples of these, most recently the 1:32 scale 2007 Toyota Camry from SunnySide.  The latest find is a company you'd least expect to make a decent-looking diecast vehicle, Top Deck.  Yes, the Top Deck sports trading card company has made the only second-generation Ford Explorer Sport Trac to tie in with its trading card line.

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The Ford Explorer Sport Trac began life as the Adrenalin concept truck in 1996 as a sport utility vehicle/pickup crossover designed for those who want a useable pickup bed yet still retail the SUV seating arrangement.  When the final production product was released in 2001 it was a bit tamer than the concept, but still it was one distinctive truck.  By 2006 the SUV landscape has changed: more crossover SUV's replaced the typical truck-based SUV's and gas prices were starting to rise, oh and the Explorer SUV has gone a major redesign with a new independent rear suspension in 2002 while the Sport Trac and 2-door Sport still reside on the older Explorer platform.  In 2007 the 2-door was axed and the Sport Trac was merged with the refreshened 2006 Explorer.  This means that the new Sport Trac now shares the same frame, engines, and even independent rear suspension with the Explorer.  The Adrenalin package, introduced later in the first-generation Sport Trac, reimerged as a more sportier trim package with the same aggressive looks as the 2007 concept truck of the same name.  This casting shown here is based in the 2007 concept truck.

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The front wears the Explorer's headlights with round signal lights and large Audi-like grille, also joined by lower side scoops with integrated foglights and a lower chin spoiler.  The hood has dual vents that exhaust heat from the engine bay, along with the side front fender scoops.  The sides now have a much smoother bodyline than the previous-generation Sport Trac with flush door handles and the external bed hooks eliminated to continue the clean flow look.  The rear now has parts shared with the stepside 2005 Ford F-150 including the fenders, taillights, and tailgate.  Since it is based on the new Explorer frame, which now features the fuel tank on the passenger-side, the exhaust exits out on the left side that looks rather awkward on the production trucks; luckily the concept has dual exhausts that are nicely blended in with the license plate holder.  Despite the baseball logo's the truck sill looks clean and the detailing on the lights are a nice touch despite the old school sticker graphics.

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The bed area is nice and deep with the correct ridge details, though the novelty bed extender from the previous-generation is gone, replaced with a fold-away unit, and trades space with an integrated toolbox in the bed (note the rectangular piece in the bed area just above the rear suspension).  Inside the interior looks mostly like the Explorer's with the comprehensive gauge cluster, radio above the air vents, 4-spoke steering wheel, and center console that now houses the transmission shift lever.  The rear seats are now a bucket design with a console on this concept truck, and they didn't leave out the little details like the detailed door panels as well.  Wheels are the chrome multi-spoke wheels with rubber tires that are correctly-sized and realistic.  The chassis shows off more of the new Explorer frame with four-wheel independent suspension and a new full-time four-wheel drive system for those who want an SUV for on-road duty than extreme off-road duty.  This pares well with the power from the concept's 5.4L DOHC Supercharged V8 from the Shelby GT500 that produces around 500 hp. through a six-speed automatic transmission.  Wow, that's one hot Sport Trac!  Indeed, Ford was planning on releasing the next Adrenalin package as the SVT version of the concept truck, but at the last minute the decision was tossed out and the package was just purely cosmetic, though you can now get a Sport Trac with a V8 thanks to the Ford Explorer it's based on.

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This is so nicely detailed that it makes you think is this a Greenlight casting?  Actually, no:  even though the 2007 Dodge Charger SRT-8 that Upper Deck also offered looked just like the Greenlight casting the Explorer Sport Trac is unique to this company (Greenlight didn't get involved much more with Ford until 2010).  Also the Charger and Sport Trac are the only decent castings from Upper Deck as some others range from so-so to horrible.  Still, if you're looking for one sleek and fast Explorer Sport Trac or the only second-generation of this model this Upper Deck casting is worth a look since now the Explorer Sport Trac has completely disappeared from the Ford truck line.

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