Rare Rides: The Very Special 1998 Ford Expedition SeaScape

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides the very special 1998 ford expedition seascape

There’s nothing especially unique about a first-generation Ford Expedition, given that the company sold hundreds of thousands of them in the late Nineties. But things get a bit more exciting when the Expedition in question was a custom build for SEMA.

So today let’s remember the boat times, with this 1998 SeaScape.

Ford’s first three-row SUV bowed for the 1997 model year and rode on the same F-150 platform as its premium upscale brethren, the Lincoln Navigator and Blackwood. Available in a single wheelbase for its first generation, all Expeditions were powered by 4.6- or 5.4-liter versions of the Triton V8.

The Expedition and Navigator were Ford’s successful attempt to grab some market share from GM full-sizers that had mostly zero American competition for decades. If you can recall back to 1997, Expedition was a big deal. Such a big deal in fact, that it’s unsurprising the creative forces who compete at SEMA turned one into a nautical-themed masterpiece.

What started out as a standard 1998 Expedition was modified by a company called Advanced Automotive Technologies in 1999. Wanting a real show-stopper, AAT took their nautical Expedition edits seriously. Starting with the exterior, the metal roof was replaced with a retractable canvas arrangement. Heading aft, a modified C-pillar contained the CHMSL, styled to resemble a power boat. The running boards and bumpers were also custom jobs, with teak inserts for standing in Sperrys.

At the rear the entire hatch was removed, replaced with a padded tonneau cover and some boat-like chrome railing. That rear cover is the SeaScape’s party piece. It has a power lift feature that raises it up from hinges at the stern and stows the rear window. With a few adjustments, the Expedition becomes a nautical targa, or “boatarga” perhaps. The look is competed with turbine-style chrome wheels and purple and hot pink tape stripes.

Inside, the Expedition combines the luxury of the Blackwood and theme of a Town Car Spinnaker Edition. White leather matches with navy accents, and the steering wheel and door pulls are wood from the Forest of Gladiator Conversion. The dash and console complete the look with two-tone, in ivory and khaki. Rear passengers use powered captain’s chairs, just like those at the front.

AAT struck gold with their SeaScape, winning Best Ford Concept Truck that year. Since then, the special Expedition was moored in Mississippi and then Ohio, where it’s presently for sale. In need of TLC, you can easily B.O.A.T with the SeaScape at $6,500.

[Images: seller]

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  • Tassos SNAAB shot itself in the foot when it BASTARDIZED its unique brand by BADGE ENGINEERING its vehicles with GOD DAMNED GM, OPEL, CHEVY, LANCIA and who knows what other automotive RIFF RAFF. I know of no Saab Enthusiast (they do exist) who felt sorry when the stupid maker went BANKRUPT.
  • 28-Cars-Later Example is located in Coldwater Michigan, so..." needs work -- including new brakes."Brakes, brake lines, probably fuel lines. Probably should hit the master cylinder too unless there are seal only kits for it."It has an automatic transmission."Likely needs a new one of those as well."an exhaust leak"Add an exhaust to the list."an inaccurate speedo."Wow and TMU to boot!These days five to six bills isn't too horrible but this example could turn into a headache really quick due to parts availability. The right buyer for this is a small time tradesman, the HVAC guy who was just leaving my house is rolling a late P80 Volvo 850 sedan in manual which he treats like a truck. Said he'd love a wagon if he ever came across one... if you're local to Coldwater Michigan this is a nice work beater. Annual inspection/registration tax probably costs nearly as much as the car.
  • 2ACL Amazing price, but that's (IMO) a reflection of the interest in an old 2.0T repmobile made interesting only by being a wagon. The Epsilon 9-3 was a sanitized take on the Saab formula. That's not to say it lacks interesting variants, but this isn't one of them. If it had a stick, maybe. But this generation's automatics are sealed and known to become temperamental if not serviced. If the owner can't provide proof of regular servicing, run.
  • Tassos The 3 lt turbodiesel should be FAR, FAR more efficient than the 6.2. ANything that walks would be more efficient than the 6.2. Are you kidding me?The 3 lt turbodiesel in my 4,000 lb+, 208 HP, 400+ LBFT E320 Bluetecs is more efficient than even the 2.2 lt ICE with its meager 125 HP in my 1990, only 2,822 lbs, Accord Coupe 5 speed LX. 100%. I have the full detailed records to prove it beyond any doubt. I consistently get over 35 MPG HWY, which I never got with the Accord (usuallt 32-33 tops)The big question is, will GM ask $5k more for the diesel than for the gas version, as usual? Mercedes only asked $1k m ore for the diesel, $51k vs $50k for the gas back then, which you would recover in just ONE YEAR of average miles driven.
  • Cprescott Lucid has the right idea about building cars - I agree that these have a presence to them and certainly make all Teslas look like cheap golf carts with doors in comparison. I hope Lucid survives because they actually build luxurious products and not pretenders like Tesla.