By David Boldt
It's been 15 years since the Ford first aligned itself with King Ranch, Texas' largest — and arguably most historic — South Texas spread. With that alignment came an entirely new category: the big-buck luxury truck. Of course, Ford's large SUV, the Expedition, wasn't immune from the King Ranch upgrades, which were first applied in the 2005 model year, and neither is the newish update rolling out now. Ford unveiled the 2015 Expedition King Ranch at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, which runs through March 23. Somewhere, ranch founder Richard King is smiling.
Beyond the many changes to the 2015 Expedition announced at this year's Dallas Auto Show (including a new front clip, enhanced interior and EcoBoost drivetrain), the King Ranch Edition brings unique interior and exterior trim, an enhanced level of standard equipment and special wheels to both the Ford showroom and what — anywhere other than the King Ranch — might be known as the "back forty." As Aileen Barraza, a color and materials designer for Ford, explains, "King Ranch models evoke luxury that is earned … a reward for hard work, which is what has made the ranch so successful."
To better document the launch, Ford has enlisted Texas' official state photographer Wyman Meinzer. Roughly 4,000 images were taken over the course of four days, serving to fully establish the newest King Ranch Editions — the 2015 F-150 and Super Duty were announced at the same Houston program — in their native setting. Those images can be seen at Ford.com.
Robert Underbrink, the ranch's CEO, suggests that "King Ranch editions aren't merely trim levels. They are representations of an authentic American story that parallels that of Ford Motor Company." And somewhere, Henry Ford is smiling.
For a list of new King Ranch features for the 2015 Expedition, F-150, and Super Duty, click here.