Just before the SEMA Show, Shelby American announced its all-new 700 horsepower Ford F-150. More than just strapping a supercharger onto America’s favorite pickup truck, this package will turn the F-150 into not only a fire-breathing monster on the street, but a capable off-roader for nearly any adventure you can find.
The trucks are being built in a limited production run of just 500 units through a partnership between Tuscany and Shelby American. Final assembly will take place at Tuscany’s Elkhart, Indiana facility. In a departure from its Mustang builds and previous Raptor builds, Shelby is building these F-150s pre-title — meaning it will be the manufacturer of record.
The trucks are available with or without a supercharger, with the non-supercharged version retaining the 5.0-liter factory power output rating of 395 horsepower. Adding the 2.9-liter Whipple supercharger option (the only option available other than color) along with new 54-pound injectors, 132 mm throttle body, and functional carbon fiber cold air intake, plus a Shelby-specific pump-gas friendly ECU calibration, nets 700 horsepower at the flywheel. A Borla stainless steel exhaust system gives the engine a throaty and musclecar-like note from the tailpipes.
Each of these trucks features a three-inch lift from BDS and custom two-way adjustable Fox shocks with remote reservoirs. Shelby says they’ve conducted extensive off-road testing in these trucks to prove the durability of the package and components. BFG Baja Champion tires measuring 35×12.50 are on 18-inch wheels.
“We wanted this truck to be the complete performance package and it delivers, whether you’re looking for a daily driver, or something that can pull your boat, camper, or get you almost anywhere off road,” says Shelby’s Gary Patterson. “You can take it off road and not worry about getting stuck whether you’re in the desert or out in the woods … this truck can deliver the power and off-road capability necessary.”
Each truck receives a unique Shelby serial number and is cataloged at Shelby in its registry with its VIN number. “We know which trucks go with which serial numbers, and that allows us to maintain authenticity of and verify it in the future should ownership transfer, and protects the authenticity of the trucks,” Patterson says.
“The F-150 is the best-selling vehicle in the United States, and there is not going to be a Raptor pickup again until the 2017 model year,” says Shelby’s Gary Schechner. “We wanted to offer customers looking for a truck with the capability of a Raptor, and the performance enhancements that Shelby can deliver. Whether it’s a platform for a truck that will compete in the Baja 1,000 or just an off-road truck that performs, this is the closest to an off-the-showroom Raptor, plus more, that any customer can get for 2016.”
Each Shelby F-150 begins life as a Ford F-150 Lariat Ultimate edition. These fully-loaded trucks include navigation, leather, center console, five exterior cameras, and a host of other plush and functional options. From there, Shelby adds its own unique styling and modifications. On the outside the trucks receive a functional Ram-air style hood similar in appearance to the GT500 KR and Shelby 1000 hood from a few years back.
There is also a hard tonneau cover, unique grille, and of course plenty of Shelby badges and stripes. There is no mistaking this truck for anything other than a Shelby. Inside there is also a Shelby dash plaque, as well as a unique badge in the center console arm rest. Even the front seat headrests have Shelby logos embroidered into them. If you’re hauling delicate cargo, you’ll also appreciate the Shelby licensed carpeted bed liner as well.
Shelby American headquarters in Las Vegas invited us to take a ride in the new F-150. Patterson took us through the streets and backroads of Sin City to demonstrate how well the truck performs on the street. “We’ve had this thing through some pretty tight turns at high speed on the pavement with the shocks adjusted properly and there was never any worry or stability issues at all,” Patterson says. “Off-road, the suspension works great, and the tires provide plenty of traction and reliability. I was part of a test with these same tires during the Baja 1000 and I can personally attest to their strength, capability, and performance.”
In stop and go traffic you’d never know you were in anything other than a lifted F-150. In parking lots, the host of exterior cameras make getting around it tight places simple enough that anyone could drive this crew cab pickup. There’s a slight burble from the exhaust at idle, just enough to say this truck’s a V8 but no more than that, and it’s definitely not intrusive in the cabin.
Stabbing the throttle with traction control turned off yields the most satisfying effect for musclecar fans. Turning the BFG rubber into a cloud of smoke, there’s plenty of low-end torque and smokey so burnouts are no problem. With traction control back on, kick the truck into passing gear and you’ll fly by anything except a new Super Snake on the interstate or local four-lane. This truck has the power to take most modern and classic musclecars by surprise at stop lights and on-ramps.
We also were treated to a preview of the truck’s prowess and suspension travel on rocks in the Shelby American parking lot and can honestly say this is definitely the truck for enthusiasts who want it all.
The Shelby F-150 is available for order or purchase only through 200 authorized Shelby dealers. There will be only 500 examples offered, and aside from the supercharger, the only other option is color: blue flame, black, slate, red, or Oxford white. The naturally-aspirated version runs $85,995. Ticking the supercharger box will bring MSRP to $98,995. “We feel like with the volume of F-150s sold every year that there is a definite place in the market for a premium performance off-road capable truck like this,” says Schechner. No word yet if the F-150 will be offered again for 2017.