It was February of last year when we broke the story on www.fourwheeler.com about the existence of a top-secret pickup truck that was being developed by Ford. The vehicle was so well hidden that our spy photographer looked back in her archives and realized she had shot the original mule several months earlier without knowing what it was. Camouflaged as a typical reader's F-150 with stickers, Glassworks fenders, and a JD Fab suspension kit, only a Michigan manufacturer's plate hidden in the back window gave the truck away. Even with photographic evidence, Ford reps likened our find to an urban legend.
Soon our story reached across the Internet to other automotive sites, prototypes were spotted and shot on a regular basis, anonymous tipsters dropped us nuggets of information, and readers informed us of local sightings. At the time, we put an educated guess together based on tips and conjecture, and surmised the truck would be available with a wide-track long-travel suspension, reservoir shocks, 35-inch tires, a selectable locker, and unique bodywork. It would be powered by Ford's upcoming 6.2L V-8, possibly a turbocharged version of the engine. Little did we know how accurate our educated guesses were at the time, the only indication being immediate responses by Ford's less-than-thrilled PR team.
The other piece of the story that SVT wanted to keep under wraps was that this F-150-based pickup, for all intents and purposes, would be replacing the beloved Lightning in its lineup. After reviewing the booming off-road market, SVT made the decision to go wheeling, a choice that would put a larger emphasis on chassis performance. This new truck would bring back to fulfillment SVT's "one car, one truck" brand strategy and would be unlike anything ever put into production.
Raptor, once a program codename, became the name of the production vehicle after the moniker was given legs in various reports that started with our coverage, as nothing else sounded as right for the truck...
Want to know more about the Ford F-150 "Raptor"? Well you'll have to pick up the January 2009 issue of Four Wheeler Magazine, available on news stands everywhere November 18th 2008, to read the rest of the story!
Until then be sure to check out our Video's section here on FourWheeler.com to see our exclusive video of the Ford "Raptor" out in the wild!