The much-hyped V8-powered Ford Ranger Raptor is highly unlikely to appear anytime soon, with the brand's Australian boss describing the hi-po ute as “pure speculation” and insisting work is yet to begin.
Sources have continuously stressed that, while talks have begun, a deal is yet to be finalised, and highlighted the time and cost required to ready a new engine for market, with between 18 and 24 months engineering and validation work required.
And with the Ford's President and CEO, Kay Hart, telling CarsGuide work is yet to begin on the project, it would seem fans in search of more grunt will need to wait until the next generation arrives, which rumoured to arrive in 2021.
“It’s speculation. Ranger and Raptor evoke such passion from our customers, and there’s always been speculation about what we could do to continue to enhance the brand. At the moment, that is all it is,” Hart says.
“I think there are great things you can do with the vehicle, right? We’re always listening to what customers say, and we continue to listen and see what we can do to deliver on what customers ask for. But currently it is speculation, we have nothing to confirm.”
Reports, which first surfaced in Wheels Magazine, pointed to Ford readying a engine swap for its top-selling ute, with the Blue Oval to partner with a local tuning house to swap out the Raptor’s diesel engine for the Coyote V8 from the Mustang, boosting Ranger’s outputs to sizeable 339kW and 556Nm.
CarsGuide has spoken to the three tuning houses most likely to carry out the work - Tickford, Herrod Performance and Premcar - and all have denied working on the project. But sources have suggested talks with Premcar are currently underway, though the project remains in its infancy.
Engineers were also quick to point out the complexity of the work involved, and suggested that, when the vehicle does arrive, it would have to carry a price tag significantly north of $100,000, with one even suggesting it would need to sail closer to $140,000 to cover the cost of engineering what will be a small-number project.