Generation 'Raptor' Ford F-150?
Fresh from the arctic climes of Dearborn, MI come these hot photos of what might be the rumored future 'Project Raptor' Ford F-150. However, this truck is a current-generation F-150 and not a new 2009 model year pickup.
So what's the story?
Last week we received a picture of a similar truck in full cammo. From the background of that photo (immediately below), it was taken sometime last fall.
Here's what makes these new pictures so interesting.
They were taken in the past 24 hours outside Ford's Dearborn Test Facility (the fence and red brick buildings, below, are recognizable) and now the truck is totally bare, revealing it to be a 2008, or earlier, F-150. You'd think, and so would we, that the Raptor would wear 2009 model year sheetmetal.
These are probably early Raptor mules built using a mix and match of old and new parts. We're saying mules (plural) because it's very likely *not the same truck* in these photos. The back window of the F-150 in the fall season picture (immediately above) has no slider like the black truck does (immediately below). But the wheel cuts and wheels look identical.
The F-150 engineering team might have gotten an itch to create a single off-road 'toy', based on the last generation F-150. But two? Not likely, unless there was a formal program of some kind in place for an off-road F-150. Like, say, 'Raptor'?
You can also see two other 'mods'. The manufacturer plate is missing, even though this is next to Ford's Dearborn facility, and someone has gotten very excited about pasting certain stickers all over the back window and bumpers.
Remember, in Four Wheeler's earlier scoop on the Raptor F-150, Fox Suspensions was strongly rumored to be involved. Now we see blue and yellow Bilstein Shocks and red Eibach Springs stickers, along with a very specific 'Petersen's 4Wheel & Off Road' bumper sticker - a competitor on the magazine rack to Four Wheeler. The stickers also look like they were applied 10 minutes before the truck exited the gate for street conditions as icy and wet as those.
A sharp-eyed reader at Autoblog also spotted a test vehicle 'red kill button' mounted on the cowl above the instrument panel - a sure sign this is a test truck and not some Michigan resident's radical project truck.
We speculate this truck is driving around immediately outside Ford's test center for a reason. Ford could be trying to send a message using a current F-150 to make a next-generation Raptor appear to be an extra-urban legend. Then again, maybe it's not.