Welcome to Fraser Fast Facts • Vol. 1, Issue 32
Jurassic Joy Ride
The 1992 Ford Explorer XLT Debuted In Jurassic Park
Legendary. Not for its engine, but for its paint job!
To be honest, the Ford Explorer was a pretty boring vehicle in the early 90’s. It replaced the station wagon but waned with the emergence of the minivan. Yet, if you slapped a jungle-themed bright green and yellow paint job on one, it’s gonna get some attention. Add a few dinosaurs, and you’ve got one exciting ride. Especially considering (in the movie at least), there were no door locking mechanisms. Safety first, of course; don’t want the passengers getting stuck in the ride. But what about the critters trying to claw their way in? Whoops!
Strategically, on Jurassic Park’s mythical Isla Nublar, the tour vehicles were all 1992 Ford Explorer XLT models. They were electric, and ran on a track that supplied them with juice. The tracks ran around the parks, and each “movie” Explorer had self-navigation, leather interiors, on-board drinking water, and night-vision goggles conveniently stored under each seat. Even though the vehicles were powered by the track they ran on, when the T. Rex pushed Explorer 04 off the track, flipping it over, miraculously, the lights continued to work. Hmmm.
In researching this cool, pioneering SUV, we did discover that the film launched sales of the Explorer into outer space, but on the “awesome movie stunts” scale, it barely moved the needle. We did find, however, tons of info on the 40-foot long, 9,000-pound animatronic monster that accurately recreated the appearance and fluid motion of a full-sized Tyrannosaurus rex. On a side note, it was so massive that a technician was nearly killed inside it when the power on the set was cut off and the hydraulics and motors in the T. rex relaxed.
In the SUV’s defense, the 1992 model was the first generation Ford Explorer, introduced to the market to replace the Ford Bronco, and positioned to compete with the Jeep Cherokee and Chevrolet S-10 Blazer. It was bigger than Ford’s outgoing Bronco, and went on to become a massive sales success for Ford, due in no small part to the movie.
The Explorer was available in both 3-door and 5-door body styles, and the first year Explorer was based on the Ford Ranger, sharing it’s chassis and underpinnings. The XLT model, used for the film, was the middle of the range trim, sitting above the XL and below the posh Eddie Bauer trim.
It came equipped with a 4.0 liter V-6, sporting 145 horsepower, a top speed of 108 mph, and weighed in at 4,000 lbs.
Think you’ve seen the iconic Jurassic Park Ford Explorer lately? Just check your local Walmart parking lot. Walmart featured the decked out Dino-tour vehicle in their latest grocery pickup commercial.
Fraser Fast Facts
- In the scene where the Tyrannosaurus Rex breaks the sunroof, the kids screams were entirely real. That’s because the glass wasn’t supposed to break at all, and it caught everyone so off-guard, that they kept it in the movie.
- In the “cup of water on the dash ripples” scene, the effect was achieved by attaching a heavy guitar string under the dashboard and plucking it to the rhythm of the soundtrack footsteps.
- In the “Dr. Grant distracts the dinosaur with a flare” scene, actor Sam Neill was seriously burned by a piece of flare phosphorous dropping on his arm and getting lodged under his watch. It ate a chunk out of his wrist.
- One of the most destructive hurricanes in Hawaiian history, Hurricane Iniki, hit exactly where the crew was filming its final scenes. All 130 cast and crew members were forced to find emergency shelter in their hotel.
- The film made $914 million, world-wide.
Thinking about building a replica with an american-made engine? Fraser has the right engine ready for you!