The mid-engine Ford Explorer concept from 1973 looks otherworldly today – an amalgamation of various body styles that form something that’s part car and part truck. Ford pushed the cab over the front axle, leaving plenty of room behind it for the truck bed, much like its Econoline trucks at the time. This was all before Ford made the Explorer name a standalone model, and the Econoline became a van. A new rendering reimagines that concept from nearly 50 years ago, giving it a modern makeover.
The result is just as kooky as the original. The rendering pushes the cabin over the front wheels, significantly extending the front overhang. The Explorer’s long hood disappears. It features a raked windshield, just like the original, though the doors look bigger, which would improve getting in and out of the thing. The squished front end puts the turn signal indicators on the door, just below the side-view mirrors.
The original concept featured a sharp crease down the side that extended from the chrome grille surround to the rear taillights. The rendering keeps this, though it updates it with a dose of modern styling, extending the thinning design line from the fog lights to the bed. In keeping with tradition, the rendering also features a fake vent behind the front wheels. The Explorer’s proportions look awkward with substantial front and rear overhangs and a super-short wheelbase.
The Ford Explorer wouldn’t arrive until 1991 when Ford put it on what many consider the first, modern SUV. The 1991 Explorer lacked the two-door design and truck bed of the concept. We’re unlikely to see cab-over trucks return to any popularity anytime soon, but small pickups aren’t entirely dead. In March, we reported Ford would develop a sub-Ranger pickup based on the Focus platform and wear the Courier name. Sadly, it doesn’t look like it’ll have a cab-over design.