2009 Ford F-150 Raptor - Sneak Preview 2008

There hasn't been a new factory-built, high-performance version of Ford's F-150 since the 2004 death of the SVT Lightning. That 380-hp, $34,000 hauler was considered a bargain, especially since it could sprint to 60 mph in little more than five seconds and tow 5000 pounds. Ford has confirmed that there soon will be a new SVT truck, and a new F-150 variant seems to be coming - a truck built for more extreme off-roading than any late-model Lightning.

Photographers recently captured this shot of a heavily disguised F-150, complete with a modified suspension, 35-inch-diameter tires, wider fenders, and a bulging hood. Rumors continue to swirl about this sporty off-roader, but sources indicate that the truck will have a long-travel Fox Racing suspension and that it will be powered by a version of the next Mustang's V-8. On close inspection, the spy photos also show a "premium fuel only" sticker above the instrument cluster, furthering speculation that the Ford isn't powered by an ordinary, farm-league powerplant.

THE BAJA 1000 IS JOB ONE: If the Raptor is indeed aimed at production, then it should have a good chance at success. Few things are cooler than factory specials and desert racing.

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