The Engineering Wars
Speed demons and power mongers lost their minds when Dodge introduced the Ram 1500 TRX full size pickup truck nearly two years ago, featuring 702 hp from a 6.2-liter V8 with an 8-speed automatic transmission for a base price of nearly $84K. The Blue Oval countered with its F-150 Raptor R, with a new 5.2-liter supercharged V8 that cranks out 700 hp and 640 lb.-ft. of torque for even more extreme off-roading, born from racing.
The F-150 Raptor R is estimated to weigh 5,950 pounds, almost identical to its V-6-powered brother, but 490 pounds lighter than the TRX. Always feels good watching manufacturers duke it out for engineering supremacy, because consumers benefit most. But I’m getting off track from the Bronco Raptor, which is not a truck; it’s an SUV. Not apples to apples, chum, except for the FOX Live Valve suspension.
Insight From the Inside
For nearly four years I worked for FOX shocks in Scotts Valley, California. The house that Bob built in the early 1970s has worked closely with Ford on the popular F-150 Raptor model, suspended by Live Valve 3.1-inch Internal Bypass semi-active electronic dampers to handle aggressive offroad behavior. Now in its 3rd generation, the F-150 Raptor was joined by the heavily-promoted production Bronco variant in 2022 after making its racing debut for the 2019 SCORE International Baja 1000.
I had a front row seat for all the tuning and development, as the FOX Motorsports division worked closely with Bronco drivers Jason Scherer, Loren Healy, and Vaughn Gittin, Jr. plus Ford Performance chassis engineers to get the right tune while maintaining comfort and control. Their playground is King of the Hammers, an annual racing event that draws amateur and professional drivers from all over the world to bang fenders and clean mobile home-size rocks on a dry lakebed in Johnson Valley, California every late January into early February.