For many South Africans, it is a travesty that you cannot buy a Ford F-150 Raptor in South Africa with its Baja-racing proven Fox suspension, 335kW engine and nine gears, it is the ultimate road-legal off-road racer. Looks the part too.
Wherever there is product injustice in the world, be sure that an entrepreneur will recognise the opportunity, which brings us to the RTR Ranger, the closest thing to a South African market Raptor you can buy.
Conceptualised by South African motor- and watersport racing legend Peter Lindenberg, and built in Port Elizabeth by world renowned Hi-tech Automotive, the RTR acronym unpacks as ‘road-to-race’, and once you realise the specification upgrades involved, it’s quite an apt moniker.
You’ll notice the 20-inch alloys, flared wheelarches bonnet scoop and all manner of other Raptor-like styling details, but this RTR Ranger 660 is all about the go, instead of the show. Powered by a supercharged version of Ford’s 5-litre V8 Mustang engine, it’s good for 0-100kph in 4.9 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 220kph.
Once you absorb the engine output numbers, the stupendous acceleration figure makes a lot more sense. The RTR 660 is good for 500kW and 825Nm, and it shifts through a six-speed Tremec Magnum manual transmission. Best of all, it’s rear-wheel drive (unlike the all-wheel drive Raptor), so you can go either very sideways, or cloak it completely in a haze of burnout smoke.
To ensure that customers don’t ramp the first traffic circle they encounter in a newly delivered RTR660, the bakkie has substantially upgrades brakes (hence the notably large 20-inch wheels, to accommodate corresponding generous discs) and some chassis strengthening has been applied. It runs a notably more robust rear differential too and Fox dampers at all four-wheel corners.
Peter Lindenberg has an established reputation for being a speed merchant in South Africa and his RTR project cars are planned to become available through a selection of dealers. Best of all are that you’ll gain a four-year/120 000m warrantee on your Raptor-imitation Ranger by RTR, which makes this an aftermarket conversion that has some element of customer care.
Cost? Beyond what should be radical fuel consumption and tyre wear, the RTR 660 conversion adds R798 000 to the price of a Ranger double-cab. If you want RTR to supply the source bakkie too, you can have a comprehensive deal for R1 275 000.
The ultimate in South African bakkie speed, certainly doesn’t come cheap… But if the heart yearns for a Raptor this is your only option, and by the number of those styling kits you see applied to Mzansi Rangers, many people exhibit that desire.