Special thanks to Tim Goldmann, Adam Barrera of Highmileage.org and Matt Hardigree of Jalopnik.com for assisting with the video and driving duties. Extra special thanks to Jonathon Edwards for being our guide and spotter.
Speed:Sport:Life recently managed to acquire the keys to both a Ford F-150 SVT Raptor and a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. Our sole mission: to go out and have fun with them. Unfortunately, Houston doesn’t have the awesome rock trails and canyons of the Moab to drive the Wrangler or the deserts of Southern California to run the Raptor in at wide open throttle. Around here the canyons are made of concrete. Our trails are narrow, lined with pine trees, and full of thick mud. We knew the Wrangler would cope, but how would the wide, heavy Raptor run?
Faithful Ford truckers often fall into a dichotomy. Lightning enthusiasts crave quick rigs to gain cred at the track. Bronco fans miss muddy rockcrawlers meant for trails. Ford’s Special Vehicle Team could’ve easily built a truck for either purpose, but as guardians of automotive culture, it’s not their duty to take a safe route. SVT rethought “speed truck” ethic entirely. Instead of engineering a tire-shredder, SVT focused on sustaining high speed off-road in a way that no stock vehicle has before. The 2010 Ford SVT F-150 Raptor tackles both asphalt and desert sands so masterfully that it is instantly deserving of supercar status. The Raptor’s victories in design, safety, navitainment and ergonomics mean that it isn’t just a great truck — it’s a great vehicle. Children will mount posters of this desert bandit on their walls. In an era of lowest-common-denominator commodity cars, that’s indicative praise indeed.
If you weren’t able to follow my Tweets from the introduction, this video preview of the 5.4-liter V8-equipped model should tide you over until this winter, when Ford will begin shipping faster Raptors equipped with a new 6.2-liter V8. You can expect a full review from Speed:Sport:Life then.
Last night I attended the premiere of the new film “Raptor – Born in Baja” which is a joint production between Ford Motor Company and Brentwood Communications. The premiere was held at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood and it came complete with a few celebrities and a red carpet that covered a makeshift dirt entrance. The movie was certainly intriguing; telling the story of the Raptor team and their quest to build and race the truck in the Baja 1000. However the truck itself was the most interesting part of the night.