At what point does a truck become a monster truck? How big is too big? How extreme is too extreme? Those 40-inch tires are cute—check out these 46s. Torque? Try 1,000 lb-ft. My truck doesn’t move, it spins the earth underneath it.
I know nothing about truck culture, but I’m real eager to learn now, looking up at the steering wheel of The Garage’s MegaRaptor, a made-in-Canada version of Ford’s F-250. If Ford’s own F-150 Raptor just isn’t wild enough for you, The Garage will make you one of these, built to whatever spec you like, and to whatever level your bank account can support.
Yes, looking up at the steering wheel. I feel very short in the presence of these monsters. At least the MegaRaptor has running boards. Hike a leg on that, lunge for the grab handle and do a chin-up, but try to look casual. If you do it right, you’ll end up in the driver’s seat. It’s like driving a house.
Inside it’s all plain old F-Series: utilitarian. Twist the key and the 6.7-litre turbo-diesel V-8 motor fires up with a surprisingly civilized grunt. It doesn’t blow black smoke. This isn’t that kind of truck. If you get vertigo, best not to look down out the side window.
For the story behind the MegaRaptor – and its slightly smaller SuperRaptor sibling – you’ve got to talk to Martin Barkey, CEO of MBRP.
The family-run company is a major manufacturer of performance exhausts based in Huntsville, Ontario. They make everything on-site. The Garage, an off-shoot of MBRP, is a custom shop that does some truly eye-popping work, including these über-Raptors.
“Most truck owners are looking for something that says, ‘my truck’s different,’” Barkey explains. “They’re buying [MegaRaptors] because they’re ultra-rare, to have something unique.”
The Garage has built five so far, all the bigger Mega version. “Two went out west, to business owners. They’re using them to promote their businesses, to see and be seen.”
“My customers won’t have just 400 kilometres after a year like a Lamborghini owner. They’ll put 30,000 kilometres on them, on farmers’ fields, oil sands. These trucks are bought to be used.”
MBRP took their experience building one-offs for the annual SEMA custom car show and opened a custom shop. The Garage is in its fifth year now, and has seen slow, steady growth as the word gets out. Superchargers, turbochargers, suspensions, wheels, exhausts: they’ll put ’em all to work, taking on projects big or small.
People certainly do tend to gawk when you drive a MegaRaptor down the highway. Grown adults pull up alongside and take photos. It gets at least as much attention as any Lambo, if not more. It’s not a vehicle for shrinking violets.
The Mega and SuperRaptor kits were developed by Jeremy Dickson and his company F250R, which is based in Arizona. He created this up-sized Raptor bodywork for the F-250. Dickson met Barkey at SEMA, and a deal was struck: The Garage would be the exclusive builder of Mega and SuperRaptors in Canada.
The Mega Raptor kit includes the fiberglass bodywork; ICON suspension with five-inch lift; military-grade MRAP wheels wrapped in 46-inch Michelin tires; TMR rear-axle truss; 4.88 rear gears from Yukon Gears; K&N intake; a big MBRP exhaust; and more.
The SuperRaptor gets different suspension, with a 4.5-inch lift, and 40-inch tires. Because these are kits, everything is up for customization.
The MegaRaptor is an extreme example of the custom pickup trend, but you don’t have to go very far out of any Canadian city to start seeing lifted, lowered, or otherwise customized trucks.
Doing some mild off-roading, you appreciate just how invincible these things make you feel. Big obstacles suddenly look small, trivial. The MegaRaptor just rolls over stuff you wouldn’t have dared even approach in a stock vehicle.
In fact, the only apparent limitation in our (admittedly brief) off-road experience was the width. With those huge fenders and wheels, it’s a good foot or so wider than the F-250. Narrow trails are a no-go, unless you really don’t care about scratching the paint.
The heavy MRAP mine-resistant military wheels on the MegaRaptor aren’t ideal if you want to get going fast, either. It’s like asking someone to run with dumbbells strapped to their ankles. Barkey suggests the smaller 40-inch tires and wheels are smoother off-road.
I expected both trucks to ride like a concrete bed, but they were surprisingly well-mannered on our short highway jaunt. You could do serious highway miles in these things, as long as you’re willing to suffer the fuel economy. (I saw an average over 20 L/100 km, but we were doing a lot of stopping and starting.)
The trucks we drove both had Ford’s 6.7-litre turbo-diesel V8. They were close to stock under the hood, but still have plenty of power. Torque for that last-gen Ford motor is 840 lb-ft.
Because of the vertiginous height, these trucks don’t feel especially fast. The ground under you is whizzing past quickly, but you’re so far away the speed feels distant. It’s quite surreal. You can supply an F-250 (model years 2006 to 2016) with a diesel or gas motor for conversion.
The best bit is that the Mega and SuperRaptor retain all the utility of the F-250. It’ll still tow and haul, and you still have full use of the bed.
Prices? It depends how you want to spec it out, but budget around $40,000 for the MegaRaptor kit, including installation. The SuperRaptor is $35,000. An F-250 will run you anywhere from $40,000 to double that, depending on how much cowhide you want.
I’ve test-driven Italian supercars, British grand tourers, and American muscle cars. I’ve driven most of the German luxo-barges. I drove a pickup truck approximately twice before this experience. One of the trucks was green, I remember; the other was an F-150, I think.
They were both bad, uncomfortable and surprisingly expensive. Unless you’re buying a truck for real, actual work – not, like, the one time a year you go to the hardware store – I don’t see the point. How could a truck be fun?
Well, this is how. You supersize it. Trucks get fun when you exaggerate everything about them. They become larger than life, like this MegaRaptor. How can you not smile at the sheer absurdity of it all?