Kyle Johnson
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Make the Explorer Surf, Ford, You Cowards

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1990 Ford Explorer Surf Concept
Bask in the purple glory of the 1990 Ford Explorer Surf Concept
Photo: Ford Motor Company

Every once in a while, it’s possible to hit on an idea so revolutionary, so unmissably perfect, that you have to capitalize on it with absolute immediacy. We are unfortunately 30 years removed now from Ford having missed the opportunity of a lifetime by not bringing its 1990 Explorer Surf Concept to the masses.

What were you afraid of, Ford? Was it the purple? Was it all of the purple? That’s actually pretty understandable. After all, the 1990 Ford Explorer Surf Concept debuted at the 1990 North American International Auto Show, which would have been a mere six months removed from Tim Burton’s Batman hitting theaters and demonstrating to the world the true intoxicating power of the color purple.

Well, with Joker sitting pretty at this year’s Oscars (even though that movie has maybe a tenth of the purple and four times the edgelordiness of Burton’s movie), what better time could there be to bring purple back in vogue in the auto world? And what better vehicle for the job than the Ford Explorer Surf?

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What did the Ford Explorer Surf offer up? Removable roof, tie-down bar, swing-out stereo speakers. Oh, and did I mention the purple? Look at those wheels. Look at those beautiful lavender wheels. My, my. At the time, Ford called it “a leisure vehicle that makes getting to and from the beach as fun as being there.” How can you not love it?

And look at that grille with the four-light arc clustered in the center. Doesn’t it ever so slightly resemble the cover of Prince’s Art Official Age? It’s almost as if the Purple One is sending Ford a sign (o the times, no less) to stop hemming and hawing about it and just go ahead and make the Ford Explorer Surf a reality already.

Or, hey, you don’t even have to call it the Ford Explorer Surf. Ford’s rumored to be making a pickup based on the Bronco, so why don’t we just call that the Bronco Surf and make it look, like, exactly like this beautiful thing. Right down to all that lavish purple.

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