The story inside the Ford Ranger Raptor V8. Why it was never an approved program and likely won’t be built. Will Ford dealers now refund deposits?
A Ford Ranger Raptor V8 won’t be arriving in Australian showrooms this year – or most likely – an extensive investigation by CarSuggestion have found.
Contrary to media reports claiming the “upcoming” Ford Ranger Raptor V8, “has been approved by Ford Australia”, to be “sold through Ford dealerships (with) a full five-year warranty”, and “anticipated” by the end of 2020, CarSuggestion have learned that programs never approach the approval stage.
CarSuggestion had been told that the Ford Ranger Raptor V8 was shelved last year when the idea was in its early stages – more than six months before it made news – and was not “delayed” due to the recent “tightening of financial restrictions” driven by the coronavirus crisis, as has been reported. claimed.
Despite media reports saying “there are two things we know for sure: that a V8-engined Ford Ranger Raptor is coming, and that long lines are already forming for it”, the idea doesn’t make it beyond an internal presentation.
It is understood that a running demonstration vehicle was put together to check suitability as a basic starting point, but the program never made it to the prototype stage.
The closest thing to a Ford Ranger with a V8 in it CarSuggestion to be found is a repair shop equipped with a supercharged V8 from the Falcon GT being used as a “vehicle to run and have a little fun” by a local engineering company.
While Ford Australia boss Kay Hart said the company had “a desire” to introduce a more powerful version of the Ranger Raptor – and CarSuggestion had learned that the concept was discussed during a secret dealer meeting last year – a well-placed insider claimed “there is a fundamental difference between wanting to do something and an approved program”.
Also apparently untrue are claims the Ford Ranger Raptor V8 will undergo an engine transplant in Australia.
Media reports have speculated that the standard vehicle’s 2.0-liter twin-turbo diesel four-cylinder engine will be replaced in Australia by the Ford Mustang V8 – and that a local engineering firm has been appointed to tackle the project.
However, CarSuggestion have been told that local engine swaps were quickly sidelined because they were very expensive and would push the price of the Ford Ranger Raptor V8 closer to or over $120,000.
The reuse of the Ford Ranger Raptor’s 2.0-liter dual turbo diesel engine that was removed from the donor car also proved to be a significant hurdle.
Investigation by CarSuggestion found that Ford Australia was investigating the idea of having one of its engineering partners in Thailand bring the Ranger Raptor V8 to life – either by assisting with assembly on the main production line, or doing engine swaps at its own facility.
The company, RMA Group, owns “a superior automotive conversion facility” and offers “engineering services”, according to its website.
However, RMA Group’s expertise is in equipping defense and emergency vehicles with bolt-on equipment, rather than performing engine swaps or performing major engineering reworks on existing vehicles.
The RMA Group’s Thailand facility is about 40 km east of the two factories currently producing the Ford Ranger, but they are still facing logistical problems when swapping engines off line.
RMA Group also has a facility in Brisbane, Queensland, but the company specializes in installing parts bolted to vehicles used by mining companies.
The high cost of converting the Australian engine also ruled out other potential Ford engineering partners, Premcar, Tickford and Herrod Performance, all three of which have been linked to the Ford Ranger Raptor V8 in several media reports.
After speaking with many well-placed sources, CarSuggestion has learned of the other significant hurdles that stopped the Ford Ranger Raptor V8 from launching: time, engineering resources, and the vehicle’s final cost.
While the idea of engine swapping sounds easy, such a program would require a new round of crash testing, engine and transmission calibration, emissions compliance, endurance testing, and revisions to the suspension and stability control systems.
Replacing fuel tanks and lines (contrary to popular belief, modern diesel bladders are not optimized to store gasoline over the long term) are among the troubling technical challenges that also weigh on the program.
Even if all the additional technical tasks were done concurrently with multiple vehicles, company insiders say the process would take at least two to three years – at a time when Ford’s engineering team has already been burdened with production of the next-generation Ranger coming next year. late 2021 or first half of 2022.
Another stumbling block for the Ranger Raptor V8: Ford already has a number of power solutions coming up for its next model.
The next-generation Ford Ranger lineup is expected to be available with a 2.0-liter twin turbo (157/500Nm) four-cylinder diesel engine and a 3.0-liter turbo diesel V6 with nearly 185kW and 600Nm.
It’s believed there may also be a V6 petrol turbo power option and, eventually, a petrol hybrid on select models, but it’s unclear if these will be available globally or only in North America.
The only hope for the Ford Ranger Raptor V8, CarSuggestion has been studied, is with the next generation model.
However, we have been told that the odds are slim unless the company can find a way to install the machine on the main production line, to make it more cost effective.
Even in that scenario, the next-generation Ford Ranger Raptor V8 faces engineering resource challenges and tightening global emissions standards, which makes it difficult to share such vehicles with other major markets for increasing volume.
Given that the current 5.0-liter Mustang has an output of 343kW/556Nm – a torque rating similar to other engine options being developed for the next-generation Ranger – it is unclear whether Ford can justify investing in a V8 alternative for the relatively niche model.
Internal proponents of the Ford Ranger Raptor V8 idea say it’s more about the character and emotional attachment of the engine than outright power.
However, they also admit there are petrol and diesel V6 options coming for the next-generation Ford Ranger that will match or exceed the power and torque of the V8 Mustang.
The current-generation Ford F-150 Raptor sold in the US (pictured below) shows that the company isn’t afraid to make the tough call to go with a dual-turbo V6 engine, although many die-hard fans mourn the loss of the V8 from the previous model.
When asked about claims that Ford is preparing a Ranger Raptor V8, Ford Australia boss Kay Hart said CarSuggestion it is a “purely speculative story”.
In an interview, he said: “There is nothing to confirm, nothing to speculate. We have no Raptor V8 to speak of.”
However, Hart admits: “There is a very clear customer desire for an upgraded Raptor. We’re continuing to see how we can improve (the Ranger line-up).”
For its part, media outlets that say the “upcoming” Ford Ranger Raptor V8, “has been approved by Ford Australia”, will be “sold through Ford dealers (with) a full five-year warranty” and “expected” by the end of 2020, are gradually stepping back from original claim.
A recent article claims that the Ford Ranger Raptor V8 has hit an “insurmountable barrier” and the project is now on “indefinite suspension”.
An earlier report claiming the local outfit “has been selected to handle engineering for the upcoming V8 Ranger Raptor project”, also saying the project “remains a work in progress, with the program not yet officially signed by Ford”.
As for the Ford showroom that accepted the Ranger Raptor V8 deposit, an old dealer told CarSuggestion: “I haven’t taken a deposit yet. It’s not worth the hassle. I don’t feel comfortable doing that unless I know it’s coming.”
However, the dealer added: “I know a lot of dealers who (take deposits). Some customers can’t help themselves, they have money to burn and there are lots of dealers who are happy to take the money just in case it comes true.”