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It Would Be The Only Midsize Truck With Eight Cylinders

Next-Generation NextGen New P703 P703N Ford Ranger XL XLS Sport WildTrak XLT
Image via Ford

According to two Ford senior executives the brand certainly has the appetite to jam a V8 under the hood of the recently updated Ford Ranger to create the Ranger Raptor R. The engine will fit, the product seemingly has viability from an engineering standpoint, it’s likely a question of global demand and intra-product cannibalization.

According to Australia’s CarsGuideTrevor Worthington, the company’s vice-president of global product development, and Mark Rushbook, Ford Performance motorsports global director, both have expressed interest in developing a product like the Ranger Raptor R.

The report indicates the future of the idea will depend on the success of the incoming Ford Bronco Desert Racer. If you recall, the recently released Ford Ranger shares a large chunk of its underpinning with the reimagined Bronco.

Designed to take on the Baja 1000 out-of-the-box, the turn-key customer racing version of the Bronco features a competition-sped version of Ford’s Coyote 5.0L V8 and includes high-end kit like Multimatic’s 80 mm Positional Selective DSSV dampers designed specifically for the extreme duty cycles induced by off-road desert racing.

This would also imply that such a Ford Ranger R would not be legal for the road, as is the case of the Bronco DR, and would be regulated to the wide open desert wilderness.

2023 Ford Bronco DR
Image via Ford

“Twenty-five million people in the country the size of Australia, lots of desert, lots of places to have fun,” Worthington was quoted as saying. “There is a lot of that Bronco DR that is standard Bronco, and the underpinning of the standard Bronco and the underpinnings of the Ranger we’re just in the process of releasing is the same architecture.”

A V8-powered Ranger would certainly appeal to Australians (hell, everybody, really), but it remains to be seen how Americans would react. Ford Performance admits there is significant crossover potential between the Bronco DR and a possible Ranger Raptor R.

“There would be a lot that would transfer,” Rushbrook told the publication.

Photo via Ford

While the pair were happy to play thought experiments on potential parts swaps between the Ranger and Bronco, none of that is akin to confirmation such a project actually exists. In America, a truck like a hypothetical Ford Ranger Raptor R would be crowding itself with the incoming (V6-powered) Bronco Raptor, the (V6-powered) F-150 Raptor, and (Predator V8-powered) F-150 Raptor R. It’s unclear if Ford is confident the Ranger Raptor R can pull its own customer base instead of competing with company products for the same limited pool of customer cash.

If the future of a Ranger Raptor R is dependent on the success of the Bronco DR, it’s important to consider the possibility Ford could consider the Raptor R as a low-volume competition-spec vehicle, not fit for road use. If that’s the case, it could be built alongside the Bronco DR and would certainly help fill in some of that extra capacity at Multimatic’s Markham, Ontario, assembly facility.

Ford Ranger Raptor X
Photo via Ford

Written by Michael Accardi

Michael refuses to sit still, he's held multiple hands-on automotive jobs throughout his career. Along with being an investigative writer and accomplished photographer, Michael has wrenched on Fords as a dealership mechanic, worked with air-cooled Porsches in a small shop in Toronto, and Nautique ski boats in cottage country. Additionally, he was part of the Ford GT program at Multimatic, oversaw a fleet of Audi TCR racecars, and cared for Porsche GT3 Cup cars. Currently, he's working with a Duqueine LMP3 in the IMSA WeatherTech paddock, and a Tatuus USF-22 on the Road to Indy ladder.

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