Raptors, Rangers & Badass Bullnoses Stole the Spotlight in 2017

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Lots of major announcements, hotly-anticipated reveals, and exciting events made 2017 the finest year of the Ford truck yet.

Toward the end of 2017, Ford just celebrated 100 years of building pickups. And yet, it might have been the finest year yet for the venerable Ford truck. The whole thing kicked off with a bang as we laid eyes on the updated 2018 F-150 at the Detroit Auto Show in January. But even bigger news came just hours later as we learned Ford was bringing back both the Ranger and Bronco in 2019 and 2020, respectively. And as usual, pretty much every Ford truck model racked up multiple awards in the process.

We here at Ford Truck Enthusiasts live, eat, and breath everything Ford trucks. Of course, that includes everything from the Model T pickup to the Transit van. So, it was obviously difficult to whittle down all the great things we saw this year into a tidy Top 10. But, of the hundreds of amazing moments we witnessed in 2017, these stood out as Ford Truck Enthusiasts‘ most memorable stories of the year. So, take a trip down memory lane with us, and here’s to another incredible year in 2018!

#1: The Ford Ranger Raptor Is Official!

In 2018, a Raptor version of the Ranger will go on sale — at least in the Asia Pacific market.

Needless to say, we’re excited that some of our friends around the world will get to experience the joy of a Raptor product. But what the United States?! A new Ranger is coming for the 2019 model year!

#2: Ford Confirms Michigan-Built Ranger and Bronco 

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“We’ve heard our customers loud and clear. They want a new generation of vehicles that are incredibly capable yet fun to drive,” announced Ford President Joe Hinrichs earlier this year when revealing the long-awaited return of the Ranger and Bronco.

“The Ranger is for truck buyers who want an affordable, functional, rugged, and maneuverable pickup that’s Built Ford Tough,” said Hinrichs. “The Bronco will be a no-compromise midsize 4×4 utility for thrill seekers who want to venture way beyond the city.”

#3: Arizona Truck Owner Takes ‘Built Ford Tough’ to the Most Extreme Level

How often do you hear of an F-150 hitting the ultimate goal in automotive reliability: 1 million miles? Well, an Arizona resident rose to the challenge, and fortunately for us, he’s tracking it.

Arizona resident Dave Wright works a marketing job that requires frequent travel to surrounding states. He estimates that he puts roughly 75,000 to 80,000 miles on his 2003 F-150 annually. Plus, in Arizona, temperatures can easily reach triple digits for several months throughout the year. Even so, Wright says that his Ford truck is still running with its original engine.

However, the odometer recently gave out at 937,000 miles, which puts a wrench in his plan to bring the truck past the million-mile mark. But he is paying close attention to his trips and keeping notes of his miles via a pad and paper. How awesome is that?

Wright said that he reached out to Ford to help with the odometer issue. But even if they could fix it, the odometer stops at 999,000. Apparently Ford wasn’t worried about making their odometers run that high, as Wright says they told him, “they’ve never seen a truck with that many miles on it.”

#4: Ford vs. Chevy & Ram: 2017 Dually Drag Race 

There’s only two reasons for buying a heavy-duty dually truck. One: mammoth towing capacity. Two: unparalleled towing stability.

Let’s assume for a moment that we all have such needs, and we’re in the market for a 2017 dually pickup truck. Would you allow your passion for Ford vehicles to win you over, or would you consider what the competition’s got to offer?

The folks over at The Fast Lane Truck pondered the situation earlier this year in the best way possible, by pitting three of the newest six-wheeled beasts — from Ford, Chevy and Ram — against one another!

#5: Chevy Put a Fake Oval on the 2019 Silverado Test Mule

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A scholar once said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that’s the case, then folks at Chevy are genuinely nice people.

The reason: Truck enthusiasts over at Chevrolet Forums recently published 25 photos of a heavily-camouflaged half-ton pickup truck. According to their story, the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado, and quite possibly the GMC Sierra are hiding underneath the heavy layers of vinyl.

The biggest rumor surrounding the next generation of GM trucks is aluminum body construction, as well as turbocharged and hybrid 6-cylinder engines. In other words, everything Ford has already been doing for several years.

#6: Chevy’s New Silverado vs. F-150 Commercial Is Beyond Desperate

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A good chunk of the American population has been subjected to one of the most horrendous advertising campaigns ever: the Chevy “real people” commercials, in which Chevrolet targets people who’ll basically believe anything they see on TV, and therefore buy an inferior truck.

We’ve seen Chevy put bears in cages, drop rocks into an unprotected truck bed, and even take samples of “damaged” aluminum F-150 beds to auto shows across the nation. The truth is, they’re just desperate. How desperate? Just watch this commercial Chevrolet recently launched, featuring several “real people” who claim to own a Ford F-150. We’re warning you, it’s painful. Brace yourselves.

#7: Badass Bullnose Ford Pickup is the Most Expensive 1985 F-250 We’ve Ever Seen

The Ford F-Series is easily the most beloved truck in the history of pickups. Amongst passionate truck enthusiasts, the most unloved are those produced in the early to mid-’80s. Interestingly enough, it’s those trucks that have skyrocketed in value in recent years.

Affectionately known as the “Bullnose,” these trucks had a “face” only a mother could love. Or at least that’s what people (not us) say! Here at Ford Truck Enthusiasts, we have a deep love for the most unloved trucks. So, we nearly lost it when we came across this gorgeous Bullnose, which just may be the nicest 1985 F-250 we’ve ever laid eyes on. Plus, the truck was purchased new and lived in a climate-controlled environment for 27 years.

Sounds great, right? Despite the Bullnose being in the early stages of appreciation, pricing on pristine samples are still pretty high. The price of admission for this gorgeous truck is $54,900, which makes this the most expensive 1985 F-250 we’ve ever seen.

#8: Shelby’s ‘New’ Lightning: Meet the F-150 Super Snake

If you love fast Ford trucks, you likely hold the SVT Lightning in high regard. And while the Raptor is one hell of a truck, it’s a poor consolation prize for some.

If you long for a Lightning, Shelby American has you covered with the F-150 Super Snake. Just 150 will be produced in 2017, so you better act fast. Speaking of fast, the Super Snake features a supercharged 5.0 liter V8 good for 750 horsepower.

All 150 examples will be equipped with a SuperCrew cab and a 5.5″ bed with a custom tonneau cover. Both 2WD and 4×4 variants will be available, however. Other exterior details include a honeycomb grille, custom rocker panels and roll pan, and of course the requisite Shelby stripes and badging. Inside, custom embroidered upholstery reminds you that you’re in a Shelby, while the Borla exhaust note will get bystander’s attention, if the stripes, wheels, and general attitude of the truck don’t do that first.

#9: Borrow $50,000, Drive to Georgia, Buy a New 2017 Ford Lightning

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Remember when we told you the reason why Ford couldn’t build a Lightning successor? We do, and it’s not a happy memory. Claiming weight issues and the economic climate, Ford focused on building an off-road truck now known as the Raptor instead of continuing the Lightning. Thankfully, a Ford dealership took matters into its own hands.

For sale at Pioneer Ford in Bremen, Georgia, is not one, but two 2017 Ford Lightning pickup trucks. Heck, if they run out, they’ll even build you one exactly how you want it! That’s the kind of work these folks have been doing as an authorized Ford dealer and Roush installer.

It all starts with a base-model, short-bed, single-cab, rear-wheel-drive, V8-powered 2017 Ford F-150, which still qualifies for all manufacturer and dealer pricing incentives. Then, the bone-stock 5.0-liter V8 is paired to a state-of-the-art Roush Supercharger, which takes the 395 stock hp all the way up to 650.

After the engine work is done, they add authentic Lightning badges, a handling-tuned suspension that lowers the ride height considerably, and 22-inch SVT wheels identical to the ones found in the original truck.

Because of the truck’s incentives, the F-150 comes to around $34,660 plus the $15,000 “Pioneer Ford Lightning Tribute Package.” All in all, this stunning “Lightning” is listed online for $49,660.

So, are you headed south yet?

#10: Ford Reveals 2018 Expedition in Texas

Earlier this year, Ford invited Ford Truck Enthusiasts to Texas to watch it unveil an all-new vehicle: the hotly-anticipated  2018 Ford Expedition.

The Blue Oval’s engineers shaved 300 pounds off by making the Expedition’s body out of aluminum. However, it was other parts of the new SUV that caused our eyebrows to raise. There’s a definite — and understandable — resemblance between the Expedition and the 2018 F-150, particularly in the design of their headlight casings and the way the grille juts into them. But the same can be said for the Expedition and other Ford SUVs. The shape of the openings for the foglights is reminiscent of the shape used on the Explorer. That goes for the taillights as well. Visually, the 2018 Expedition is largely its own vehicle, but it’s also definitely Ford’s vehicle, too.

Although we had anticipated Ford going with the 10-speed auto, the shifter they use was a surprise. For the most part, the cabin of the Expedition looked like it was grafted over from a new F-150. We recognized the steering wheel, the air vents, the center screen and the various dials.  It’ll be entertaining to see customer reactions to that not-so-little change.

We climbed into the Expedition MAX that Ford had on site. It was impressive. The ability to recline the seat back made us daydream about how comfortable being a middle-row passenger on a long road trip would be, especially at night, when the stars would poke their tiny points of light through the glass of the Panoramic Vista Roof. The tilt-and-slide second row seats made getting to the third row easy, and the amount of headroom in the very back was delightful, as was the many ports and chargers, which include four 12-volt power points, six USB chargers, and a 110-volt power outlet.

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