In Los Angeles, the Petersen Automotive Museum is putting the finishing touches on an exhibit celebrating 50 years of Baja Racing, dubbed Braving Baja. While the folks at Ford may not have the competitive history in Baja they enjoy at Indy, Daytona or LeMans, with the F-150-based SVT Raptor they’re no less prepared to compete. And with the announcement earlier today of a Special Edition SVT Raptor for the upcoming model year, it would seem that Parnelli Jones – or those of us wanting to be Parnelli Jones – will have a new favorite truck.
First launched in 2009 as a 2010 model, the SVT Raptor follows a simple, well-rehearsed formula: Take a stock, volume-specific model, inject steroids, and sell the resulting production like so many hotcakes. Shelby famously does it with Mustangs, Porsche does it with Turbos, Jeep nails it with the Rubicon and – over four model years – Ford has done it with its Raptor. In 2012 Ford sold some 12,000 Raptors, and well into the 2013 model year sales are up some 14%.
The mods necessary to make a cooking F-Series into a Raptor are straightforward, albeit extensive. To a beefed-up/buffed-up platform is added long-travel suspension, increased ground clearance, a 6.2-liter high-performance V8 and performance-tuned 4WD. Initially introduced as an extended cab pickup, in the second model year a SuperCrew 4-door was added.
As Doug Scott, Ford’s Truck Group marketing manager noted, “Raptor owners are looking for a high-performing, uncompromising off-road pickup…with the features and luxuries found in today’s premium trucks. Since its launch in 2009 we’ve continually moved Raptor forward in capability and design, and the 2014 Special Edition is the best Raptor yet.”
On sale this fall, the 2014 SVT Raptor Special Edition is made more ‘special’ with the addition of Ruby Red Metallic (follow the yellow rock road…) paint and graphics on the outside, along with brick red seat bolsters, a console top finish panel, and applique accents on the center stack and door panels. Notably, the Special Edition can also be had in Tuxedo Black Metallic; in that finish it should remain the truck of choice for Mexico’s drug cartels.
Although pricing for the SVT Raptor Special Edition has not yet been announced, assume you’ll pay more than you will for a ‘cooking’ Raptor, and less than you would for a ‘cooking’ 911. With that, we continue to wait for a Raptor with a boosted EcoBoost V6. Pursuing a more efficient path behind the wheel of a Raptor may seem beside the point, but then, for the majority of Americans the Raptor is beside the point. Kinda’ like a 911 Turbo…you may not need it, but you know you want it.