Are you ready to watch two of Detroit’s biggest truck brands duke it out in a three-quarter ton off-road showdown?
Ford fans who have secretly been coveting the Ram Power Wagon their buddy is wheeling off-road may soon be able to hit back with an answer of their own.
Pawing through remarks made by Jim Farley, Ford’s president of global markets, at an industry event in Detroit yesterday, we find some fantastic fodder for speculation about an off-road focused Super Duty.
“Everyone loves the Raptor. With the new Super Duty, we got another new version that no one’s ever seen; not a Raptor, but something different,” Farley said at the Global Auto Industry Conference in Detroit on Wednesday.
One word to that: awesome.
Let’s unpack Farley’s statement a bit. The “not a Raptor, but something different” remark could logically allude to a truck that is off-road focused but not as extreme as the 450-hp brute in the F-150 line. Super Duty trucks are inherently heavier than their half-ton cousins, so it would make sense.
If such a truck makes it to market, Ford should call it the Highboy. Blue Oval fans will recognize this name from the ‘60s and ‘70s when the Glass House was building F-250s that sat a few inches taller and could accept a 35-inch tire without any lift. These trucks left the factory sitting higher than normal thanks to s divorced transfer case and 4-inch blocks under its rear leaf springs.
Using a historical name seems to be working well for Jeep and its Gladiator, after all, not to mention the Power Wagon itself at Ram. The latter truck had a successful run in the last-gen Ram Heavy Duty and was continued as a trim in the new 2019 model year lineup. By not offering a direct competitor, Ford must know they’re leaving money on the table.
Also buried in Farley’s remarks is a nod to all of us who have been suspecting the Bronco name will be applied to a range of off-roaders and not just a single model, saying “…and Bronco which is think more broadly than just a Bronco.”
A new F-150 might be closer than we think, too, with Farley also saying “…our upcoming next-generation F-150. Actually, we recently market tested this new truck against the new competition Ramin [sic], Silverado and GM products and we won hands down.”
Ford has honed its off-road chops with the Raptor, a truck that is currently imbued with a terrain management system, trail control, KO2s on bead-lock capable wheels, and variable compression damping Fox Racing Shox. Applying what they’ve learned to fight the Power Wagon is the logical next step.
Whatever form this Blue Oval off-road mystery takes, we won’t have long to wait. At the event, Farley also said, “We’re going to be launching a new Super Duty later this year and showing it to everyone in a few weeks.” This timeline matches up with when the Chicago Auto Show is scheduled, so expect to see the new Super Duty at that event. It also confirms our earlier suspicions that Ford will have their new F-250 and F-350 pickups ready for the public before the end of 2019.
Ford, if you’re listening: Build It!