Spared No Expense: Cloning The Jurassic Park Explorer

While you’d be hard pressed to find any serious figures on such things, we’d wager there’s never been a vehicle from a TV show or movie that has been duplicated by fans more than the Staff Jeeps from Jurassic Park. Which is no great surprise: not only do they look cool, but it’s a relatively easy build. A decent paint job and some stickers will turn a stock Wrangler into a “JP Jeep” that John Hammond himself would be proud of.

While no less iconic, there are far fewer DIY builds of the highly customized Ford Explorer “Tour Vehicles”. As a rather large stretch of the film takes place within them, the interiors were much more detailed and bears little resemblance to the stock Explorer. Building a truly screen accurate Jurassic Park Tour Vehicle was considered so difficult that nobody has pulled it off since the movie came out in 1993. That is until [Brock Afentul] of PropCulture decided to take on the challenge.

In an epic journey spanning five years, [Brock] has created what he believes is the most accurate Jurassic Park Tour Vehicle ever produced; and looking at the side by side shots he’s done comparing his Explorer to the ones from the movie, it’s hard to disagree. A massive amount of work went into the interior, leaving essentially nothing untouched. While previous builds have tried to modify the stock dashboard to look like the one from the movie, he built a completely new dash from MDF and foam and coated it in fiberglass. The center console featuring the large display was also faithfully reproduced from the movie, and runs screen accurate animations, maps, and tour information. The seats also had to be replaced, multiple times in fact, as he had a considerable amount of trouble getting somebody to upholster them to his standards.

But perhaps the most difficult component of all was the clear acrylic roof bubble. These were critical to filming the movie, as they not only let the viewer see down into the Tour Vehicles but also let the characters see out during the iconic tyrannosaurus attack. But because the roof bubble was created only for the movie and never existed as a real aftermarket product, it usually gets ignored in Tour Vehicle builds. It’s simply too difficult to produce for most people. The omission of the bubble was always considered a case of artistic license; in the same way nobody expects a replica DeLorean from Back to the Future to actually fly or travel through time.

But [Brock] wanted to take his Tour Vehicle all the way, so he partnered up with a local glass shop that let him rent time in their oven so he could heat up acrylic sheets. Once heated to the appropriate temperature, they could be removed and wrapped around a mold to make the bubble. The process took weeks to perfect, but in the end he and a few friends got the hang of it and were able to produce a gorgeous roof bubble that they fitted to the already very impressive Explorer.

While previous Jurassic Park Tour Vehicle replicas were unquestionably awesome, this build really does take it to the next level. Short of equipping the garage with a movie-accurate super computer, it’s hard to see how the bar can get any higher.

48 thoughts on “Spared No Expense: Cloning The Jurassic Park Explorer

    1. I know what these are – Ford Explorers. And I’m not bashing the work that was done on this vehicle. But they used three Mercedes M class SUVs in the first movie, and my statement is still the same. My favorite is still the three Mercedes M class SUVs used in the first movie!

      1. The first film used Ford Explorers, not Mercs. The original novel used Toyota Land Cruisers instead of the Explorers. I believe the Mercs were used in Lost World: Jurassic Park 2, and were 1997 models, which couldn’t have been used in the first film, which was released in 1993.

  1. That fat guy from Seinfeld drives a Jeep, and in characteristic Jeep fashion it’s incredibly unstable and unreliable and thus gets him killed-unlike the explorers which protected the children from a tyrannosaurus

      1. As much as I ROFL’ed at this, I would be remiss if I didn’t point this out:
        It was not his recklessness, lack of understanding, OR the Jeep that got him killed, it was the script, director, producer and in the end, the author of the book. :)

      2. We didn’t see him die. There was a struggle between him and a Dilophosaurus then it cut to the next scene.

        Due to the confines of the vehicle, Dennis may have been able to find a safe space which the dino could not reach him. And if he happened to have set the AC to low, it’s just a waiting game till the cold blooded reptile expires.

    1. No car ever killed or hurt anyone. Poor maintenance, poor design, poor manufacturing and people who aren’t competent to handle a car in the conditions often get people hurt or killed, but no car ever killed or hurt anyone. This applies also to anything else that is not a person, excepting natural disasters. Also a defender would beat them all

        1. That is quite possible. But I love our landrovers and they pretend not to love me back. I’d be safe though cause I’d be underneath it, fixing it. When they are working, which is most of the time for me, they are amazing.

          1. The mechanisms are not irrelevant when they make it easier or harder. Prime example is the US’ stupid gun laws and their much higher death rates. A person is always responsible, it’s the fool who doesn’t put rules in place to stop toddlers accidently shooting people! :P

          2. Lets take this to the extreme, a nuclear weapon. I can set a nuke on the table for a million years and except for the cancer risk it won’t harm anyone. This doesn’t mean that everyone and their dog should have a nuke. The mechanism used is extremely relevant when it comes to collateral damage and accident risk.

  2. > we’d wager there’s never been a vehicle from a TV show or movie that has been duplicated by fans more than the Staff Jeeps from Jurassic Park

    My money’s on the BTTF DeLorean.

        1. Or 82 Trans Ams (KITT)…. or a 76 Firebird (Smokey and the Bandit). All of the 70’s and 80’s movie cars have tons of replicas because for the most part they are easier/cheaper to purchase and modify to be screen accurate.

          1. Transmarobird is how one Internet denizen described those cars….

            P.S. before clicking the “Report comment” button, Transmarobird is a portmanteau
            of “Trans Am, Camaro, and Firebird”; all General Motors “muscle” cars built with the same coach section.

  3. This is ridiculous! Let me get this right. You had the time, money and tools and DID NOT spend it recreating the last of the V8 interceptors from Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior? You’re out of your mind and should go apologize to the internet, your family and anyone within eyeshot for your grave mistake! Lord Humungous is shaking his hands at the heavens at the mere thought of this.

    Now that you’ve learned your lesson…. nice build dude!

    1. I would love to have an electric actuated supercharger…. so cool in the movie

      One can only assume that holes would burn thru the pistons worst than nitrous once activated. 8:1 compression flips the switch now.. 20:1

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