Pristine Explorer: Beautifully Preserved 56k-Mile 1997 Ford Explorer XLT 4x4

  • March 30, 2021
The Rundown
  • Excellent Condition & Great Appearance
  • Equipped for Excellent Usability
  • SOHC 4.0L V6 Engine w/ 5-Speed Automatic Overdrive
  • Equipped for Towing & Behind-RV Towing
  • Just 2-Owners & 56k Seller-Stated Miles from New
  • Fastidious Service & Maintenance
  • Exceptionally Well Documented Including Window Sticker
Why We Like It

Cutting right to the chase, this incredibly pristine 1997 Ford Explorer XLT is a fabulously well preserved and presented example of Ford’s wildly popular SUV of the 1990s. Advertised by the seller as a “garage find,” it looks far nicer than that term might otherwise suggest, offered with two owners from new and just 55k original miles. Powered by a SOHC 4.0L SEFI V6 engine and 5-speed automatic overdrive transmission, the Explorer is extremely well optioned with a 3.73:1 Traction-Lok rear axle and Trailer Towing Package, plus Control Trac 4WD system, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, and factory fog lamps. The “Neutral Tow Option” allows the vehicle to be towed behind a motor home without drivetrain restrictions, and towing electrical wiring is found front and rear. An image of the factory window sticker confirms options and factory data, along with the Explorer’s $30,915 MSRP when new.

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pristine-explorer-beautifully-preserved-56k-mile-1997-ford-explorer-xlt-4x401313 9aTkUWdGu1oz 0CI0t2 1200x900Offered with all 1997 sales literature, plus the factory-issued books, manuals, and guides, the Explorer also includes all known maintenance records from 1997-2021. They also advise that those records, dates, and mileage validate the Explorer’s history and awesome originality. In 2021, a new set of Goodyear Wrangler Trail Runner AT 235/75R15 (DOT 2020) tires were installed with a tire rating of 580 AB, plus four new premium Bilstein Series 4600 gas shock absorbers, new upper control arms equipped with serviceable upper ball joints, replaced lower control arms, and replaced lower ball joints. Further, the torsion bars were adjusted and aligned for load and ride height. An added cam adjustment kit allows full serviceability and front-end alignment, and computerized front-end alignment is confirmed by a printout. Wheels/tires are high-speed balanced, and all work was performed by 4WP in Riverside, California. According to the seller, this premium-level SUV “…drives super solid, tracks well, starts, steers, and stops excellent,” with the objective of the service and maintenance work to make the vehicle ultra-roadworthy for travel. Currently smog-certified and California-titled, the Explorer retains the original paint, leather interior, and exterior, with no performance mods and an all-original drivetrain. Overall condition is beyond excellent and this vehicle could be one of, if not the, finest and most original late-1990s example in existence anywhere.

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Valuation Verdict

Admittedly, this Zero260 contributor has never been a raving SUV fan – until now. This 1997 Ford Explorer is an excellent offering and warrants a closer look. We also suspect it will sell in short order at the seller’s accessible asking price, representing ‘Fair Market’ in our opinion. For the condition and options, it’s hard to beat!

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