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Extreme bakkie for SA: Would you retest your licence to drive a monster Shelby F-150?

2018-06-06 08:04

Lance Branquinho

We are a nation of committed bakkie fanatics and it reflects in our buying patterns and huge interest in any content which journals something remotely related to single- or double-cabs.

Suffice to say that an announcement by Shelby South Africa of its intention to deliver right-hand drive (RHD) F-150 bakkies  to the local market has been met with predictably massive interest. 

READ: South Africa's love affair with bakkies

For every statement Ford makes concerning an update of its popular Ranger bakkie, there will always be a slew of comments lamenting the absence of a local RHD F-150 option. The Shelby solution won’t be cheap, you are looking at bakkies between from R1.5m upwards to R3m, but as AMG proved with their G63 6X6 double-cabs: South Africans aren’t shy when it comes to spending on outrageously priced bakkies. 

These Shelby F-150s won’t be the first American specification Ford bakkie to become available in RHD to South Africans since the turn of the century. In 2005 Ford took the unexpected decision to import a bunch of F-250s for the local market, all official factory products from Brazil, built in RHD.

Specifically targeted at the agriculture and heavy-duty construction market, they were enormous at 6.2m bumper-to-bumper and could carry 1.5t with ease. The 4.2-litre in-line six turbodiesels might not appear that powerful by 2018 double-cab bakkie standards, but in 2005 the F-250’s outputs of 132kW and 500Nm were plenty. 

Local bakkie buyers were ecstatic but there was an issue: you required a C1 licence to drive one. This limited the F-250’s ownership suitability for most urbanites, who couldn’t see themselves into the additional burden of admiration implied in gaining a higher grading of driving certification. Farmers weren’t too bothered as most South African agricultural producers have a C1 licence to operate their own trucks when delivering cattle or produce to market.

If you wanted the ultimate double-cab back in 2005, even the most committed bakkie fanatic had to schedule time for the training and eventual testing procedure to acquire a driver rating that would enable them to operate their own F-250. Truth be told, how many people are keen to go through the administration and investment in time to gain a new licence once they have passed their original driver’s test? 

With these RHD converted Shelby F-150s, it could a similar scenario. Official GVM ratings are nearly impossible to come by, considering the range of customisation and diversity of options available, but the possibility of these bakkies tipping over the 3500kg GVM code C1 licence requirement is possible.

Ford’s own V8-powered Raptor was a 3380kg GVM bakkie. Shelby uses the F-150 Lariat as its platform which tallies a GVM certification of 3560kg when powered by a 5-litre naturally-aspirated V8. The normal wheelbase F-150 Lariat double isn’t much lighter at 3447kg.

Add all those trick Fox suspension bits, a supercharged V8 engine, additional cooling components and it is very unlikely that a Shelby F-150 will licence below the 3500kg threshold. And that would require you to go for some training and a new licence evaluation before you are allowed to drive your multi-million Rand Shelby bakkie. Unless of course you are a farmer of transport company owner, with a zen for speed, and possess a code C1 licence already.

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