When most people think of the already iconic Ford Raptor, the name evokes one of two things: either a large bird with clawed feet, sharply curved beaks, and a carnivorous appetite, or a prehistoric animal that was mostly dreamed up by Hollywood screenwriters. These make sense when you’re talking about most Raptors, flying through the desert looking for its next obstacle, but this Raptor-esque creation is far different than any Raptor we’ve ever featured on these pages.
The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor is a twin-engine, single-seat, stealth fighter aircraft developed for the U.S. Air Force. The F-22 Raptor is considered a key component of its tactical air power, and claims that the aircraft is unmatched by any known or projected fighter. The Raptor’s combination of stealth, aerodynamic performance, and situational awareness gives the aircraft unprecedented air-to-air capabilities and for a time was considered to be the most outstanding fighter plane ever built. But due to the high build cost, the F-22 Raptor was being phased out just as the Ford Raptors were beginning to dominate the market.
When Neil Tjin picked up a 2014 Ford F-150 he had just two things in mind: Create something that had never been done before, and do it in 10 weeks to make the 2013 SEMA show. The concept was simple: to build what appeared to be an airbagged and smoothed-over Raptor. But the stance, lines, and color had to be just right. Neil is no stranger to the pressure; in addition to being the marketing director for Vortech, he has turned out over half a dozen Camaros and Mustangs in the past for debut at SEMA.
To get the truck down to stealth fighting stance, Neil called on Adam Carpenter and Josh Freeman at Unique Fabrication in Irvine, California, for some one-off airbag suspension and metal fab work. They started with a handful of components from Alston Chassisworks and a few Raptor pieces to be modified and used in conjunction with a handful of one-off parts. To achieve full frame-laying status, the gas tank was raised, along with the frame’s crossmembers, and the bed was tubbed. An Accuair e-level and i-Level package was installed to manage the ride height. A set of Baer six-piston calipers were bolted up for additional stopping power and to add to the good looks behind the one-off rolling stock in the form of 24-inch Rotiform DIA Wheels and Falken rubber.
The custom fabrication continued throughout the exterior of the F-150. Using the factory grille and hood, modified Raptor fenders and a Raptor bed were worked into the mix. The fenders were lowered 1.5 inches to line up with the hood, and the body lines had to be matched up. Two Raptor bumpers were welded them together to tie everything together and sit 4 inches lower to match the rest of the truck. A Street Scene roll pan and a Webasto dual sunroof package were added before the custom-mixed Axalta Osbert Gray was sprayed by DTM Auto Body.
At this point, nearly 600 hours had gone into the truck, and, luckily for Neil, the rest of the build was plug-and-play. Light Wurkz headlights and taillights were added to the exterior while a complete Katzkin leather kit was installed in the cab, along with a full audio system from Sony and Scosche and a Glow Shift boost gauge. The Ecoboost was warmed up with components from Motiv and, of course, a Vortech intercooler and custom tuning. The custom MagnaFlow exhaust was bolted up just in time to roll out to Las Vegas. Since then, Neil has become extremely fond of the looks he gets when overtaking other vehicles on the highway, especially when he’s towing one of his other projects!
Neil Tjin decided to create an extremely stealthy Raptor that resembles the fighter jet much more closely than the bird or Jurassic Park character. And judging by the result you see here, he hit the nail on the head. We’re hoping this build sparks some of you to think out of the box for some even wilder creations.
|Inside the Build|
|Year/Make/Model: ||2014 Ford F-150 EcoBoost|
|Owner and City/State:|| Neil Tjin, Irvine, CA|
|Type:|| EcoBoost V-6, Vortech intercooler and tune, MagnaFlow side-exit exhaust, Motiv components|
|Mods:|| Custom-fit Raptor fenders and bedsides, custom bumper, Street Scene roll pan, Webasto dual sunroofs, RaceMesh grille, Light Wurkz headlights, taillight, and LED bars|
|Stereo:|| Katzkin seat leather, Sony Audio with Scosche components by Car Stereo Warehouse|
|Suspension:|| Custom-built by Unique Fabrication, Alston Chassisworks components mixed with Raptor parts and handbuilt pieces, Full air suspension setup with AccuAir eLevel management system, raised gas tank, modified crossmembers, tubbed bed|
|Brakes:|| Baer six-piston|
|Wheels & Tires|
|Wheels:|| 24x10 and 24x12 Rotiform DIA step lip|
|Tires: ||295/35R24 and 305/30R24 Falken Ziex |