If you've ever dreamed of running flat-out and off-road for miles at a time, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the place to do it. This country on the Persian Gulf, a federation of seven "states" overseen by emirs, has wide open desert spaces like Las Vegas has slot machines. In other words, they spread out in all directions. It's the perfect place to wind it up and see what your truck will do.
Special care was taken to wrap the exhaust tubes with DEI header wrap to keep temps down.
As the oil money keeps flowing there, more and more Middle Eastern enthusiasts are finding the means to do just that. The thing is just like drag racing, or any other speed-based endeavor, the original thrill normalizes. Running an 11-second vehicle at the strip is exhilarating the first time but becomes commonplace soon after. So, you look to the output to go quicker, chasing a 10-, 9- or 8-second timeslip. And in the desert, all that more or less flat terrain saps some of the visceral feeling of speed.
It was that all-too-human desire to ratchet up the experience another few notches that a UAE-based enthusiast approached Livernois Motorsports' Dan Millen to build the ulimate desert cruiser—a truck that would blast the sand with the velocity of the Millenium Falcon in hyperdrive and a suspension to keep connected (mostly) with the ground. Millen, a drag racer who's taken his 6-second Mustang to races in the UAE, knows all about keeping up with the need for speed. He was the right guy for the job.
At the customer's direction, a new, 6.2L-powered Ford SVT Raptor SuperCab was procured and immediately torn apart. Already designed as the most serious factory off-road runner ever built, it would merely serve as the starting point for a more-capable desert machine. Let's start with the engine. The 6.2L engine was rebuilt with a longer stroke crankshaft that took displacement from 379 ci to an even 400 (or 6.6L). A set of Carrillo forged steel H-beam connecting rods and coated pistons were attached to the forged stroker crankshaft after it was set back in the block. The entire rotating assembly is a new, exclusive package from Livernois, with the pistons featuring friction-reducing Teflon-coated skirts and a thermal coating on the heads to protect them against the higher combustion temperatures that come with forced induction.
The boost comes from the Livernois-designed turbo kit, which uses a pair of Garrett GT-35R ball-bearing turbochargers and a very healthy intercooling system to ensure dependable performance and optimal inlet-charge temperature in a country where the air temps can exceed 115 degrees farenheit in the summer. There's plenty of thermal wrap on all of the system's flow tubes, too. The turbos are mounted high under the hood, on either side of the engine and blow into the Raptor's stock intake manifold and down through a set of Livernois' CNC-ported cylinder heads. After spinning the turbos' turbines, the exhaust finally exits through a CORSA stainless exhaust system. The stroked V-8's pressurized combustion, with a comparatively low, conservative boost level of about 6 pounds, put down 680 hp to the humongous rear tires, as measured on Livernois' chassis dyno. Typically, a drivetrain parasitic loss factor of about 20 percent would put the output of the engine at around 815 hp, but with the transfer case and rear wheel/tire combinations that weigh more than 100 pounds apiece, we figure the twice-turbo'd engine is making about 830-850 horses at the flywheel.
All that power is channeled through the stock Ford 6R80 six-speed transmission and out to the stock axles. Apart from custom engine badges on the doors and the intercooler's heat exchanger visible through the grille, there is no external giveaway that this pumped-up Raptor is putting down more than twice the power of a stock model. The turbos are unusually quiet, too, perhaps due to all of the thermal wrap on the system absorbing much of the sound. Regardless, it sounds like a whole lot of power trying to push through the hood.