Jumat, 11 April 2008
Spied: 2009 Ford F-150 Raptor
Ford’s extreme pickup, the F-150 Raptor, is becoming more real by the minute, presumably with the long-awaited Boss V-8 engine under the hood.
Here are the latest spy shots of the monster truck that is expected to go on sale as a 2010 or 2011 model, restoring our faith in Ford for recognizing the need for specialty performance vehicles and for resurrecting plans for a Hemi-fighting V-8.
The camo’d mule in an F-150 body was caught by photographers about the same time that Ford officials in Vegas—there for the automaker’s 2008 Dealer Show—were teasing their audience with video footage of a Raptor mule bombing across the desert at high speeds. Ford’s new marketing chief Jim Farley reportedly was downright giddy as a picture of the production grille was shown, with the Ford name stamped into its black mesh.
Here Comes the Boss
The anticipated Boss engine was quoted as being rated at 380-horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. However, everything Car and Driver has learned to date has us expecting a 400-plus hp 6.2-liter V-8 from the new modular Boss family. This would one-up the 6.1-liter Hemi, the 5.7-liter V-8 in the Toyota Tundra; and GM’s 6.0-liter V-8. And since the future of Ford powertrain evolves around EcoBoost—direct-injection and often turbocharged gasoline engine technology—we expect this to be a hallmark of the Boss engines, as well, although the 6.2 in the Raptor would be naturally aspirated.
Workers at Ford’s idled Essex Engine Plant in Windsor, Ontario, have been awaiting approval to build a new fuel-efficient V-8. While Ford officials have not confirmed the product tentatively slated to be built at the Canadian plant, the low-volume Boss appears to be a good fit. Windsor workers built the Triton modular V-8 that was in the Ford SVT F-150 Lightning pickup until it was discontinued in 2004.
Timing of the Raptor dovetails with recent confirmation from Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s product development chief, that we can expect a new modular V-8 for trucks by the end of the decade. This would be fruition of a project that dates back to 2005 when the engine was codenamed Hurricane.
Dealers in Vegas were also treated to a look at one of the Raptor's long-travel shocks, sourced from Fox Racing and specially built for the Raptor program. We are told it looks similar to Fox's 2.0 Piggy Back reservoir shocks with 12 inches of travel—four more than the eight-inch shocks currently on Ford's FX-4 off-road trim package. In other words, this baby is ready to rock both on and off the road.
Ford execs are fired up about the new truck as well, telling dealers the Raptor is “the first and only Baja 1000 Trophy Truck you'll be able to buy from a dealer," and promising to "drive this (and other vehicles shown to Ford dealers) right up Toyota's a**." Now them’s fighting words!
SVT a Still Virile Team
Ford created its Special Vehicle Team in 1992. The performance team crafted the Mustang Cobra and F-150 Lightning pickup, followed later by SVT versions of the Ford Contour and Focus. When the Lightning was phased out in 2004, it left the Dodge Ram SRT-10 as the undisputed performance-pickup king.
But the super-Ram has also since been discontinued, and Ford continues to insist SVT is not dead, just diminished. The most recent use of the badge was to produce 1000 of them to slap on the limited-run 2008 Shelby GT500KR Mustang. Prior to that, the last SVT vehicle was the 2007 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. Ford has insisted the division was on hiatus, but continues to exist and that is has been working on an SVT truck—presumably the Raptor—since the fall of 2006
As for the Raptor itself, the front clip of the mule running around appears to be modified version of the new and pending 2009 F-150. The air intake in the front bumper is larger and sports a wide grin, although we don’t think it is to feed more air to an intercooler for a turbocharger—at least not initially. Cooling vents atop the hood would function to lower engine compartment temperatures when this beast is in full steam.
“Premium fuel only” labels have also been spotted on prototype instrument panels, further fueling our optimism the Boss is on track.
And the photographers got close enough to read the tires: Toyo Open Country All Terrain Light Truck LT 325/70R-17s, which convert to 35 X 12.50-inch tires on 17-inch wheels—perfect for gnarly terrain.
All we can say is: bring it on.
NB: AmericanTrucks.com has all the Ford F150 Parts you need.