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2017-09-04 15:00

Lance Branquinho

Image: RTR

Johannesburg -  Few people understand the South African obsession with speed quite like Peter Lindenberg.

A multiple South African racing champion in both Wesbank V8s and powerboats, Lindenberg isn’t shy of being a dedicated petrolhead. 

His latest venture is RTR, an acronym which means ‘road-to-race’ and the business plan is to supply South Africans with what they truly desire: outlandishly styled and outrageously fast Ford Ranger bakkies.

The sheer number of imitation Raptor kits seen on South African Ranger bakkies are a clear indication that many owners yearn for the American F-150 Raptor, a bakkie with 335kW and Fox off-road racing suspension.

Partnering with Hi-tech automotive, the Port Elizabeth specialist famed for building Noble supercar bodyshells and continuation GT40s, Lindenberg will offer three RTR Ranger performance upgrades – and none of them are of the underwhelming variety. 

Image: RTR

Convert your Ranger 3.2-litre

For R179 900 RTR will convert your Ranger 3.2 to something with 185kW/550Nm and 0-100km/h sprinting capability of 8.9 seconds.

A huge bonnet scoop, grille, massive wheel arch extensions and all manner of Raptoresque bits ensure that even this diesel RTR Ranger makes a tremendous statement. 

Image: RTR

RTR Ranger 415

RTR’s real business is predicted to be its 5-litre V8 Rangers, powered by Mustang engines and capable of hot hatch humbling acceleration. The naturally aspirated version of these is RTR 415, powering up to 325kW, supported by 550Nm, and driving only the rear wheels. If you clutch-to-shift coordination is stellar, RTR claims the Ranger 415 to be good for 0-100km/h in 5.9 seconds. 

Image: RTR

To ensure harmonised performance, Ranger 415 runs on 18" with appropriately rated SUV tyres and all the implied styling drama you could imagine. Bilstein dampers replace the factory Ford items to mitigate against the potential increases in pitch and dive - due to radically increased cornering, acceleration and stopping forces. If you want a contemporary Ford XR8 bakkie, this is it; for all of R528 000. 

Ranger 660

RTR’s 415 double-cab is not the ultimate, though. That billing is conferred to Ranger 660, which is a supercharged version of the 5-litre quad-cam V8 and features Fox competition dampers at all four wheel corners. Peak power is a ridiculous 500kW and torque 825Nm. This is, in principle and comparative specification, the closest thing to a Ranger Raptor we’ve ever encountered. 

The performance numbers are simply astonishing, with 0-100km/h in 4.9 seconds and a top speed limited to 220km/h. It’s worth remembering that any double-cab bakkie, for all its best intentions, does not feature Adrian Newey aerodynamics and all manner of peculiar lift and drag characteristics start to happen when your double-cab starts nudging towards 250km/h. 

Image: RTR

To best balance the immense performance on offer with this RTR 660 Ranger, there’s a 20" option, creating room for notably larger brake discs. But undoubtedly the very best thing about both RTR’s V8 Rangers, is the fact that they’re six-speed manuals, instead of automatics. And rear-wheel drive too, which mean you can go as sideways as you’d like or replace tyres twice a month, if you take the opportunity of lighting them up at each and every traffic light. 

The ultimate bakkie? If you want the fastest possible bakkie in South Africa, then yes, inarguably. RTR’s Ranger 660 offers tremendous power, accelerative performance and the perfect rendition of that oft desired Raptor aesthetic.

Hi-Tech Automotive in Port Elizabeth through their Race Tech division were responsible for the development of both V8 bakkies. Road To Race are their appointed marketing and retail platform. 

And all that for only R798 000. Still not convinced? They’ll even sweeten the deal with an RTR 3-year/60 000km warranty. 

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