From September of 1999 until April of 2006 the newsgathering vehicle assigned to me for my daily newsgathering activities was the Black, 1999 Ford Explorer XLT 4x4 in the picture below and on the right. I'm now driving the 2006 White one on the left.
When new, the 99 Explorer had less than 100 miles on it when I loaded my old Betacam in it for the first time. It replaced a White 1995 Ford Explorer that had about 120-thousand miles on the dial. The black paint of this truck called Unit 15 and it's twin sister Unit 1 were a novelties among the all white news fleet in the station parking lot.
And now after 6 and a half years and 167-thousand miles with old Unit 15, the time has come for a new ride....and the end of a vehicle that was easily distinguishable from the rest.
This is the new Unit 15. It's a 2006 Ford Explorer XLS 4x4. It had about 85 miles on it when I loaded my XDCam in it for the first time.
On the window sticker it's a pretty basic Explorer, but as I've come to see, even the most basic Explorer has a lot of features.
I have gained a CD player(MP3 capable) in this truck, but no Cassette player like the old one. It has a thermometer. It tracks fuel mileage. It tells me distance till empty. It has a nice trim package with chrome accents. It has driver and passenger airbags in the dash and side airbags in both front seats.
It even has what Lenslinger likes to call, "The Weaver Button". I'm not sure why.;)
Not wasting any time after moving in to my new News Truck, it was time to Pimp it...I mean, add my news tools to it. What's a TV Photog worth anyway without his toys. And a TV Photog's number one toy is his...wait, that's the camera. A TV Photog's number 2 toy is his Police/Fire Scanner Radios. I have 2 that mount in my News Truck.
The center console shifter in this truck presented a bit of a challenge in mounting my dueling scanners, but it also allowed for a bit of a different installation that I really like. After a bit of searching to find just the right way to hide the cable routing, I mounted the scanners up in the center of the dash.
The location of the scanners is great and it will keep me from looking down to see which channel is active if I hear something interesting.
Today was the first fill-er-up for the New 15. I found out it has a 22 gallon tank, giving me more range between fuel stops than it's 7 year old cousin.
Yes that's my XDCam in the shot. I used my first fill up as a chance to get some b-roll for our gas prices story today.
The back has a lot more room, and a lot more space to stuff thing. I still haven't' got it quite like I want it, but I figure I've got 7 years and 170-thousand or so miles to figure it out. :)