Not quite a month ago, we brought you spy photos of a heavily camouflaged, clearly brawnier variant of Ford’s overseas Ranger. So angry was an Australian engineer along for the ride that he challenged the photographer to a fight.
Now, thanks to Ford’s Australian and South African divisions, we can see what the engineer (and some suspect underbody netting) was attempting to hide: a Ford Ranger Raptor.
You’ll recall that Ford plans to bring the Ranger to American buyers — and production to Michigan — for the 2019 model year. It now looks like the off-road-ready Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 and Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro will soon have a Blue Oval rival, as overseas customers receive the Ranger Raptor for the 2018 model year.
Unfortunately for fans of vehicles originating from Dearborn drawing boards, Ford’s video tells us very little about the actual product, besides its obvious ability to conquer the outback with dirt-throwing aplomb. However, the Ranger Raptor’s previously camouflaged suspension takes center stage in this tease.
The Ranger Raptor’s beefy front suspension setup differs greatly from a stock T6 Ranger, now looking more like that of its bigger brother, the F-150 Raptor. The shock mounts move further outboard, closer to the spindle, providing for longer suspension travel. As well, the lower control arm appears to be of cast aluminum construction, rather than the T6’s stamped steel.
While there’s no word on whether the smaller Raptor also sources its suspension components from FOX, the relationship exists to make it happen.
For now, Ford isn’t saying if or when North American customers will have an opportunity to purchase a Ranger Raptor. This one’s destined for the Asia-Pacific region. However, given the existence of competition within the domestic midsize pickup market, it’s hard to image Ford saying “no” to the variant once production starts up at the automaker’s Michigan Assembly Plant.
Should it get the green light, Ford has no shortage of brawny engines lined up for potential use. A possible powerplant exists in the company’s 2.7-liter Ecoboost V6, newly upgraded for 2018.
[Image capture: Ford Australia/YouTube]