While it was reported earlier this month that Ford had put development of the Ranger Raptor V8 on hold due to the Coronavirus, a new investigative report by Australia’s caradvice.com.au has claimed that the project was never sanctioned by the Blue Oval as had been claimed, and that it was merely a way of canvasing interest.
According to the online publication, a whole series of challenges involving costs and engineering played a part in the eventual decision. Despite reports of Ford having discussed the project, a claim Ford Australia President Kay Hart admits did indeed happen, it never progressed beyond this point as not even a prototype allegedly existed.
“There is a very clear customer want for an enhanced Raptor [but] there is nothing to confirm, nothing to speculate on. We have no Raptor V8 to talk about,” Hart was quoted by the publication as saying.
In January, carsguide.com.au reported that three of Australia’s biggest engineering firms, Herrod Performance, makers of the Mustang R-Track, long time V8 Supercars partner Tickford and Premcar, which makes the Nissan Navara N-Trek Warrior and soon the Patrol N-Trek Warrior, had ruled out working on the Raptor V8 project in spite of Tickford having expressed interest in offering a supercharger kit if the 5.0-litre Mustang-powered Ranger became a reality.
Based on the Caradvice report though, this would have resulted in the V8 eclipsing the $120 000 (R1 403 517) mark, putting it in the same price range as the top-spec Ram 1500 Laramie with its 291kW/556Nm 5.7-litre Hemi V8, and in need of extensive modifications to cope with the extra grunt.
Another damper on the project is the actual current Ranger itself that will be replaced next year by an all-new model based on an evolution of the current T6 platform. Known internally as the P703, the leaking of alleged engine specifications earlier this month, which includes a turbodiesel V6 and a plug-in hybrid, has effectively nullified the need for a V8 given not only the roll-out of ever more stringent emissions regulations, but also time as the bent-eight Raptor would have taken between two to three years to be developed fully.
As it stands, a V8 only seems likely for the P703, but as mentioned, the chances of it happening, for now, are slim.