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1 of 10 Made? 1999 Ford Explorer Saleen XP6

Here’s a find we didn’t expect to see on eBay: a Saleen XP6 Explorer, a rare, tuned-up version of Ford’s long-running SUV, but in exceptionally rare 6-cylinder form. Supposedly, Saleen received a batch of Explorers to convert into the XP8 – obviously, a V8 truck – that were mistakenly ordered with the 4.0L V6. Instead of risking delays and lost money and time, Saleen decided to make do with the six-cylinder trucks and give them the full XP treatment, just with a bit less noise under the hood. Some experts believe only a handful of XP6s are in existence today, which makes this rough example found here on eBay even more intriguing.

Bidding sits at just over $1,000 for this rare performance truck, and while that may seem shockingly low, this Explorer does have its share of issues. The obvious one is what you can see, which is the rough cosmetic condition of the truck. With rock blisters in multiple locations, tired paint, and various dings, scrapes, and scratches, this Explorer was clearly used like any other daily driver. The seller indicates it was “loved” at one time, but that’s not evident now. Mileage clocks in at over 205,000, so someone clearly enjoyed racking up plenty of time behind the wheel of this slick 90s performance SUV.

The interior is in similar condition to the outside, but it’s not trashed. There’s no heavy staining on the carpet or destroyed door panels. In my opinion, like the outside of the Explorer, this is the interior of a vehicle that has been used. Nothing more, nothing less. The armrest damage comes from someone’s elbow being slung over it for years at a time and is an easy fix. The ice scraper sitting in the console tells the story as to why rust is likely an issue, and the listing indicates this Saleen SUV has lived in North Dakota, not exactly a forgiving climate. One of the few options available for these rigs was a Recaro leather interior, which  this truck appears to have.

The rust, sadly, is in multiple locations, even inside the door jambs. The XP6 is a rare bird, but it wasn’t exactly a hot rod. Performance was fairly muted overall, eeking out just over 200 horsepower and making 250 lb.-ft. of torque. The seller mentions that the engine doesn’t run particularly well and that he suspects timing chain issues. The Explorer will make its way onto a trailer, but beyond that, your expectations should be modest. The question is, even with the rarity factored in, is this Saleen XP6 a truck worth saving? I certainly think so, but I’m not always logical about these sorts of purchases. What do you think the future of this sad Saleen should be?

Comments

  1. Avatar photo Aussie Dave Member

    We only got the “exploder” in V8 form over here, but I still want one.

    Like 2
  2. Avatar photo Aussie Dave Member

    We only got the “exploder” in V8 form over here, but I still want one.

    Like 0
  3. Avatar photo JCA Member

    Well, it’s definitely more than 1 in 10 because this one is number 12, lol. I think there were 12 made in total. As for being “tuned up”, I believe it’s all stock mechanically as my ’98 4.0 Explorer also had 205 hp. Many of the Saleen packages back then were just ground effect packages. These rims look exactly like the Mustang rims though which look great on a white LX 5.0

    Like 5
  4. Avatar photo Bob_in_TN Member

    I do vaguely remember Saleen’s project to “Saleen-ize” some Explorers. They did look good with the signature white-themed treatment. This one looks rough. I’m thinking there is not enough interest/value here to justify much effort.

    Like 12
  5. Avatar photo gtpred99 Member

    Doug DeMuro reviewed one of these.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rG-seqvZ5DY

    Like 1
  6. Avatar photo Jim

    I wouldn’t save any SUV. Send them all to the crusher.

    Like 7
  7. Avatar photo I_cant_drive_65

    Though rare, SUVs can have their place in the hot rod or cool ride world. This is at the low end of the scale, but qualifies as something I’d look at twice on the freeway and stop to check out at a car show like Radwood. This one is pretty sad with all the rust and needs a bodyshop guy with spare time and a complete spare vehicle to make it whole imo.

    Like 1
  8. Avatar photo rustylink

    looks like the owner had a dog that used to put it’s paws on the center console!

    Like 2
  9. Avatar photo Troy

    205k miles on a ford Exploder wow. That thing is at the end of its life Being a American car from the late 90s I’m surprised they got that kind of miles out of it.

    Like 6
    • Avatar photo Matthew

      nearly 12 years ago i bough a 95 explorer for $500. 4.0 v6 and 2wd, that thing was the best cheap rig ever. i beat it mercilessly as a beater. as did my brothers. got good milage and was very reliable. I finally sold it last summer for the same amount i bought it for. not too bad for a rig with 379K miles (i put probably 280k of that on on it. i think that little v6 has enough left in it to hit 400k, the guy daily drives it still.

      Like 2
    • Avatar photo MarveH

      Have a look at Facebook marketplace and Craigslist you will see plenty of domestics from the late 90s with way more miles than this.

      Like 1
  10. Avatar photo Timothy Hanson

    Another no thanks. The 4.0 has the worst timing chains in Ford motors. You have to pull the motor out to get the back one changed. And if your motor isn’t full of plastic from the tensioners you might get lucky. I have just replaced with remanufactured engines that have a better chain and tensioner.

    Like 4
  11. Avatar photo MarveH

    The whole performance pick up and SUV thing is completely lost on me. The terrible dynamics, massive weight, and automatic transmissions are not my recipe for enthusiastic driving.
    If that’s your thing may you have a long prosperous life but a two ton truck is never going to be my go-to for a dash through the mountains.

    Like 3
  12. Avatar photo Dan

    At least this Saleen was enjoyed as it was meant to be, but with the rust issues that can be seen, it makes me wonder about the frame. Desirable for its rarity and that it’s a Saleen but the buyer better have deep pockets. I may bid to $2k, not a penny more.

    Like 0
  13. Avatar photo Tman

    There were thousands of these that were sent to the crusher when dealers offered more fuel efficient cars and $1000 in trade and I still see these on the road.
    Maybe saving and restoring just one of the 12 is ok.
    But not for me. Not even for older Durango, GMC Jimmy’s or Chevy Blazer equivalents.

    Like 3
  14. Avatar photo Robert Atkinson, Jr.

    Given the rust and general wear and tear, I’m not feeling the love here. Strip it for the unique Saleen bits, and send it to the crusher! Then you can use the unique parts to convert another example in better condition to a clone of this car.

    Like 3
  15. Avatar photo PRA4SNW Member

    Ended at $3,550. Reserve Not Met.

    I guess 1 of 10/12 makes no difference when it is a POS model that no one cared about.

    A lot of what Saleen did was just cosmetic, not sure if that is the case here.

    Like 1

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