Ford plunged into the high-performance pickup market through the Special Vehicle Team (SVT) in the early 1990s. Its first sporty trucks were the road-focused 1993-95 and 1999-2004 F-150 Lightnings. Despite their F-Series platforms, these Lightnings were aimed at performing on the pavement, with rear-wheel drive and big V-8s. The 2010-14 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor, however, took a different approach, with off-road high-performance as its focus.
The 2010 Raptor was a heavily modified Ford F-150, available as an 2+2 door SuperCab with a 133-inch wheelbase, 5-foot 5-inch short bed, aggressive off-road tires and a wide track. A regular cab Raptor was never offered, but in 2011 a 145-inch wheelbase four-door SuperCrew Cab was added. The Ford Raptor’s grille shares only its headlamps with the ordinary F-150. Ford’s blue oval was replaced by FORD in huge letters, the hood is composite, and its unique 86.3-inch fenders are 7 inches wider than stock with SVT badging.
Fox Racing shocks were the only internal-bypass units available on street-legal trucks at time of the Raptor’s launch. They stiffen up progressively on compression and were designed not to bottom out. The Raptor’s base engine was a 320-horsepower, 5.4-liter OHV V-8 with 390 lb-ft of torque. An optional 411-hp, 6.2-liter V-8 with 434 lb-ft of torque was offered, and was standardized in 2011 when the smaller motor was discontinued. Both were coupled to a 6-speed automatic transmission.
The Raptor was designed to have more than 12 inches of suspension travel in front and almost that much in the rear. With soft suspension and a wide stance it is smooth-riding for a truck that weighs 6000 lbs. Raptor-specific heavy-duty parts include axles, tie-rods, and CV joints, while stopping is handled by 13.7-inch power disc brakes.
The first-generation SVT Raptor has Ford’s first hill descent control in which ABS reduces driver braking input to assist steering. Off road, the Raptor can be driven in sport mode without traction control or full off-road mode with no electronic intervention except ABS and throttle. The ABS was reprogrammed to handle slippery surfaces.
Prices of 2010 Raptors started at $38,995 for the 5.4-liter engine model and $41,995 for the 6.2-liter option. First year colors were Oxford White, Tuxedo Black Metallic, Blue Flame Metallic, and Molten Orange. Later, Race Red, Terrain, and Ruby Red and Ingot Silver were added.
Raptors were sold to off-road enthusiasts and many went in harm’s way. Any prospective purchase should be preceded by a full inspection on a lift by a professional technician. Look for off-road damage including suspension parts and check out the floor pan, brake lines, bushings and axles. Failing seals can be spotted on a hoist, along with visible skid plate damage. A clean Ford SVT Raptor, however, is a fun, fast and capable modern collectible pickup with few real rivals.