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Mercedes 6x6, Hilux V8, Shelby F150: Mzansi’s five maddest bakkies

2018-06-07 08:09

Lance Branquinho

Which are the five most extreme bakkies ever marketed in South Africa? We list them. 

The announcement by Shelby that it would import and convert a limited number of Ford F-150s to right-hand drive, has set a new high-tide mark for the swell of interest in SA high-performance bakkies.

The best of the bunch

For many years South Africans were denied those appealing North American market bakkies with an indecent turn of pace such as the GMC Syclone and Dodge Ram SRT10.

Of late we’ve seen that situation resolve itself remarkably, with a new offering of custom bakkies with tremendous performance credentials available to local buyers. But which are the greatest? The bakkies which truly put the fear into GTi drivers?

1. Mercedes-Benz AMG G63 6X6

There will never be another quite like it. The world’s ultimate double-cab bakkie and a bizarre blend of Unimog and AMG parts. 

Radically expensive too and despite being priced at R13.5m, G63 6X6 still managed to find enough demand locally to see a total of ten imported during its production run from 2013-2015.

Those lucky owners have a bakkie which is absolutely the last word in off-road ability, with 460mm of ground clearance, five differential locks, the additional traction only six tyres can provide and portal axles, borrowed from the legendary Unimog’s design.

Powerful too, with AMG supplying the turbocharged 5.5-litre V8 – which boosts 400kW. All that power was very necessary considering the 6X6’s kerb weight of 4105kg. 

2. Chevrolet Lumina SS

The Australian import is still regarded as one of the purist performance cars with a loadbin. Lumina was far too low for gravel travel, it only had 110mm of ground clearance, but there was a bakkie-credible 662kg load capacity and nothing at fault regarding its pace.

                                                                  Image: General Motors SA

Lumina’s detuned Corvette V8 might have lacked overhead camshafts but at 6-litres of capacity it powered up to 270kW and 530Nm, which rounded off to a very brisk 0-100kph time of 5.4 seconds. And best of all, you could order these Lumina bakkies in the most ridiculous colours – such as purple. 

3. Hilux V8

No South African bakkie list would be complete without a Hilux and this one-off special is most worthy. Built by the same technicians who assemble the Dakar racing specification Hilux V8s, it featured an IS-F 5-litre Lexus engine in the throatiest state of tune.

                                                                           Image: Quickpic

With 335kW to push it along this lowered Hilux V8 managed a top speed of 235kph and its exhaust note was pure Dakar drama. It’s a shame Toyota never seized the initiative to convert the idea’s execution into a limited-edition production run.

But the one lucky owner of this custom Hallspeed celebration edition Hilux V8 will forever cherish their unique bit of South African bakkie history. 

4. RTR 660

A Ford Ranger with all the imitation Raptor styling kit and more than sufficient go to match the show. Road To Race’s 660 is a South African attempt at building something resembling a V8-powered Ranger Raptor.

Beyond all the styling trinkets there’s heavy-duty Fox racing suspension and a supercharged version of the Ford Mustang’s 5-litre, quad-cam, V8. The belt-driven boost is good for an enormous 500kW, with 825Nm on standby to melt tyres at the merest hint of throttle indiscretion.

If you simply must own a bakkie capable of running with GolfRs, this is it, as the 660 is capable of 0-100km/h in only 4.9 seconds. 

5. Shelby F-150

The latest local high-performance bakkie option is effectively an enlarged version of the RTR660. Evolved from the F-150 platform by blue oval performance engineering specialist, Shelby, this is the Raptor that Ford’s technical people wished they could have built.

                                                                       Image: Shelby SA

Extreme in every way, from the OTT styling to its long-travel Fox racing suspension and sheer size, this Shelby F-150’s anchor feature remains its engine.

Unlike the current Raptor, powered by a 3.5-litre turbocharged V6, Shelby has done it the traditional American way: where there is no replacement for displacement and supercharging is the only acceptable form of forced induction.

Although the engine is similar in configuration to the RTR’s 5-litre supercharged V8, Shelby’s technical wizardry has managed to extract no less than 565kW from it. For anyone willing to spend the near R3m required for a right-hand drive converted one, they will never find it wanting in either sheer spectacle or speed.


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