After Ford signed on to become the title sponsor of the Ironman Triathalon in 2005, the company decided to create an Explorer "buzz vehicle" to celebrate the relationship. The result is the 2007 Ironman Explorer, easily the best-looking Explorer variant based on the current body style.
Up front, the grille gets blacked out, making it look more compact than it does on other Explorers. This is a simple change that results in a huge visual improvement. Below that, a U-shaped silver grille embossed with the Ironman logo is added. Again, a welcome change -- it adds contrast and looks tougher than the simple bulge on the lower bumper of the standard Explorer. This new piece is flanked by amber foglights, and the standard headlight assemblies get a sharp-looking blackout treatment as well.
The black theme continues on the lower body cladding and the new exposed-rivet wheel flares, while Ironman-specific six-spoke 18" wheels fill the wells. The net effect of the external mods is that the truck, in pictures at least, looks less massive and a whole lot sportier.
Inside, two-tone Black-and-Stone leather covers the seats, and the center stack gets done up in silver trim.
Five exterior colors are available, including Orange Frost, which is exclusive to this model. Look for the Ironman Explorer in Ford showrooms this September.
(Additional info after the jump)
The Explorer Ironman combines capability with the strength, endurance and passion that drive the Ironman competitors.
Just like the triathletes, the 2007 Ford Explorer IronMan Edition is unique in its class from the black body side cladding and rivet-designed wheel lip moldings to the black grille.
The Ironman Triathalon is the world's most challenging endurance event. This fast-growing sport now hosts 28 events worldwide, pitting participants in a grueling 140.6-mile event that comprises a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike race and a 26.2-mile run, all done consecutively and typically in just over eight hours.
After attending several events, Ford Explorer Marketing Manager Glen Burke saw a correlation between Ford sport utility vehicles and the Ironman participants.
"The strength, endurance, passion and dedication I saw in the contestants echoed the same attributes that are found in Ford sport utility vehicles," says Burke.
Combining that with the fact that a high percentage of the participants were sport utility owners, Burke saw a perfect opportunity for a tie with the Ford brand, signing a three-year agreement in 2005 to serve as the title sponsor for the Ironman World Championship.
"As we developed this relationship, we decided to generate a buzz vehicle within the Explorer lineup that would not just celebrate the relationship, but embody the spirit of Ironman," says Burke.
The limited-edition 2007 Ironman Explorer made its debut at the Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, Ironman Triathalon the weekend of June 25, 2006.
Just like the triathletes, the Ironman Explorer is unique in its class, with black body-side cladding, rivet-designed wheel lip moldings and a black grille. The Ironman wears its own 18-inch machined-aluminum wheels with painted pockets and P235/65Rx18 A/S outlined white letter tires.
Fog lamps with amber-tinted lenses flank the unique front fascia that features a bold silver bumper embossed with the Ironman logo. A blackout treatment on the headlamps and a black roof rack and crossbars complete the look.
Inside, front-seat occupants are greeted by comfortable two-tone Black-and-Stone 10-way adjustable leather seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The silver center stack bezel adds to the vehicle's tough image, and easy-to-clean rubber floor mats carry the Ironman logo.
Exterior color choices are a unique-to-Ironman Orange Frost along with Oxford White, Ebony, Redfire and Silver Birch.
The Ironman Explorer will be in dealer showrooms in September 2006