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Ford's Explorer Sportsman Concept

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
    DETROIT, Jan. 9 The new Ford Explorer Sportsman concept is
designed to fulfill fly anglers' dreams of finding the calm and unspoiled
waters of the perfect, wilderness fishing location.
    Based on the 2002 Ford Explorer, the concept vehicle is designed to take
the angler into the wilderness for a "back to nature" fly-fishing adventure
and outdoor experience.
    Outfitted with Scott Flyfishing Rods, the Explorer Sportsman is finished
in a low-gloss, satin metallic green, coupled with satin-finished front and
rear chrome skid-plates that provide ultimate durability for two-track
expeditions to rivers, lakes, streams and the woodlands in between.
    One of the most prominent features on the Sportsman is the fully
detachable roof rack.  The rack extends forward and folds down so that fishing
rods, nets, and other items can be loaded from the side of the vehicle.  In a
fixed position, the roof rack arms swing outward to form a basket for carrying
flyfishing equipment.
    Also featured on this four-door concept are 17-inch custom designed alloy
    The spacious interior is well suited for the seasoned or the amateur
angler.  The seat-inserts and lower door trim panels are wrapped in medium
pebble woven leather.
    The instrument panel features a GPS screen that is operable by an on-board
"mouse."  The seat backs also have detachable carry packs that deploy out to
function as "workbenches" for fly tying.  These 'benches' are removable to
allow the angler to tie flies on site.
    A 30-gallon live fish tank, complete with a clean-air filter, locks into
position in the middle of the back compartment.  The tank has rollers for easy
loading and unloading.
    Many of the Explorer Sportsman concept features and improvements are
borrowed from the all-new 2002-model Ford Explorer.  The new Explorer is
redesigned from the ground up -- with major improvements in package,
suspension, powertrains and safety.
    The Explorer has been the best-selling sport utility vehicle every year
since its introduction in 1990.  It also has been among the top-10 best-
selling vehicles -- car or truck -- since it was introduced, ranking third in
2000.  Ford sold more than 440,000 Ford Explorers during 2000, establishing a
new calendar-year sales record (the old record of 431,000 was set in 1998).