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An off-road racer that is sold in any Ford dealership. This is one tough truck.
The SVT Raptor is a bit different from the other vehicles in this series, but makes more sense when you consider that the Jeep Wrangler was on the original version of the list. The obvious capability of the Raptor seems to outweigh the show-off-y-ness (definitely a word) of the loud and loud-looking truck. The Raptor says that you are capable and prepared for anything. The Raptor gets things done, and makes its own rules.
The Raptor is based on the F150, part of Ford's F-series of pickup trucks that has outsold every other vehicle in America for the last 28 consecutive years. The F-series was originally launched in 1948 for the 1949 model year as a replacement for Ford's earlier car-based pickups. The original vehicle was extremely utilitarian, with the options list containing such items as a passenger-side windshield wiper. A total of eight different model types were offered with seven different engines in the truck's first generation, but it was in the second-generation model where the naming scheme became the one we're familiar with today.
The vehicle evolved over the years, and it was in 1993, during the truck's ninth generation, that Ford came out with the Lightning, a performance version of the F150. The 5.8-liter V8 engine was tuned to produce 240 horsepower, which was ten more than was produced by the competing Chevy 454 SS. The first Lightning was in production only from 1993 to 1995, with production ending before the design moved to the tenth generation. The Lightning was then reintroduced for 1999, this time much improved. The truck shared the F150's 5.4-liter V8, but was here supercharged and produced 360 hp (380 from 2001 on).
Ford would also offer a slightly detuned (340 horsepower) version of this engine in the Harley-Davidson edition, but this wasn't quite as dedicated a performance model as the Lightning. This version of the Lightning would last until 2004, this time dying off only at the end of the tenth-gen production cycle. It was a few years before Ford would offer another performance version of the F150, and when they did, it was done with a slightly different idea in mind. The Lightning had really been more about on-road speed, but the Raptor would be a much dedicated off-road machine, hence the name change.
The Raptor was introduced in 2009 for the 2010 model year and sales would quickly outpace the modest production plans which Ford had for it. Two engines were offered in the first year, a 5.4-liter V8 and an optional 6.2-liter V8. The 5.4 was dropped after the first year and the Raptor is now offered only with the 6.2-liter 411 horsepower V8. Though Ford's production of the Raptor extends well beyond mere homologation, the truck was built with the grueling Baja 1000 off-road races in mind. It is here that the 500-horsepower race-spec SVT Raptor R competes, and it takes a tough truck indeed.
Even the non-race versions of the Raptor are built with high-speed off-road driving in mind, and the Raptor has a unique Off-Road Mode which allows for better control in these situations. The Raptor also has a suspension setup which is different from the rest of the F150 lineup, allowing for 11 inches of suspension travel in the front and 12 inches in the back. It has a towing capacity of 8,000lbs and there are even auxiliary switches in the center console connected to pre-wired pass through leads for ease of towing, but that really isn't what the Raptor is for. From the A-pillars on up, there are several changes to the F150 body, with a special composite hood and unique fenders.
The blue oval on the grille has also been replaced by a giant letters spelling "Ford". The rest of the body is basically the same as the standard F150. The Raptor has unique paint colors and the very noticeable "digital mud" graphics adorning the outside of the bed. It is not a subtle vehicle by any means, but it is one which is particularly well-suited to its purpose. It is this sense of purpose which makes the Raptor a hit. The assumption is that nobody would spend all that money over the price of a regular F150 to just go to the mall. This probably does happen in some cases, but the Raptor still exudes a certain confidence which comes with the knowledge that this is a vehicle which means business.
A man in a truck like this is adventurous, resourceful and not afraid of a little danger. He is perhaps a bit boastful, but if you have ever participated in a Baja race and come out the other side alive, you have earned the right to brag a bit.