First Raptor, now Scorpion! Ford knows how to pick the coolest names for its future truck programs. But while it's tough to camouflage the purpose-built nature of Ford's upcoming F-150 'Raptor' desert runner, don't let the subtle looks of the F-350 Super Duty mule in this picture fool you.
Reliable sources reveal that what's under the hood of this test truck is much more important to Ford. It's the all new, Ford designed 'Scorpion' 6.7-liter V8 diesel engine that will replace the current Navistar supplied 6.4-liter V8 Power Stroke by 2011.
How important is this motor? Diesels make up almost 80% of Super Duty sales. And the move is expected to permanently end Ford's longtime use of Navistar built diesel engines in its heavy duty pickups, due to an ongoing legal battle between the two companies over warranty and cost issues related to the old 6.0-liter V8 Power Stroke (model years 2003 to 2007). Ford has used Navistar diesels in its F-Series trucks since 1982.
Hard to believe but from the looks of this mule, the Super Duty may grow a bit bigger than the current truck to accommodate the larger displacement Scorpion diesel. The raised hood is taller across almost its entire width and it has an overbite, hanging slightly over the current model's big chrome grille. Our sources tell us the Scorpion-powered Super Duty will also receive a new 6-speed automatic transmission, to directly compete with General Motors' and Chrysler's 6-speed heavy duty pickups.