Calling upon its Baja desert racing heritage, Ford’s SVT division has created an awesome road-legal racing bakkie.Based upon the hugely popular F-150 range, the new SVT Raptor version features a significantly reworked suspension set-up to ensure a perfect blend of on-road dynamics and high-speed sand-racing ability.A key difference between the Raptor and ‘stock’ F-150s - beyond the oversized grille and orange hue – is its aggressive stance, especially considering it’s 177mm wider. Interior design is outlandish yet borders on right side of tasteful. The steering wheel is wrapped in black leather and features a molten-orange leather strip that serves as a centring sight line.“With the F-150 SVT Raptor, we changed the axle, the whole front suspension is different – new upper A arm, new lower A arm, new tie rod, new half-shaft joints,” said Jamal Hameedi, Ford SVT chief engineer. “It’s well beyond what SVT has ever done with one of our vehicles.”In addition to a beefed up suspension, the F-150 SVT Raptor also boasts unique internal bypass Fox Racing Shox, the only internal bypass shocks on a street truck. It endows the Raptor with 292mm worth of wheel travel op front and 330m at the rear. A position sensitive dampening internal bypass feature allows the shock to become significantly stiffer as it travels, preventing the truck from bottoming out.Boosting traction are a radical set of BF Goodrich All-Terrain TA/KO 315/70 tyres running on 17-inch mags, bolstered by a rear differential lock which can be engaged on the move. The range of stability systems are tailored to an off-road bias, ensuring optimal stability during dune jumping manoeuvres; ABS though, stays engaged at all times, enabling the hill descent control to function.Powering the heavily styled Raptor on display at SEMA is a 235kW 5.4l Triton V8 which also brings 529Nm to the game. The range is expected to be bolstered by a 300kW 6.2l V8 by the end of 2009, though the large capacity V8 engine – codenamed Boss by Ford insiders – had the skids put on its development cycle at the height of the oil price spike midway through 2008.