It’s no secret that the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor is one of our all-time favorite pickup trucks. From the 411hp 6.2L V-8, 35-inch tires, and off-road-tuned suspension to the comfy leather seats and commanding controls, the Ford Raptor has little competition from the 1⁄2-ton OE truck market, especially if desert two-track is your favorite trail of choice. Nonetheless, a common misconception about the capable Raptor is that it has long-travel suspension. It’s true that the 11 inches of front and 12 inches of factory rear wheel travel are more than what you’ll find on a typical 1⁄2-ton truck. However, in the off-road world, it’s still only considered a mid-travel prerunner. The stock Raptor isn’t designed to hit deep whoops at 60-plus mph. When put in this situation, any sane driver will quickly realize the truck is out of its element. So what do you do when mid-travel suspension won’t work for your off-road needs? You drop your zero-mile ’13 Ford Raptor off at JD Fabrication in Escondido, California, for a complete six-month suspension, chassis, and interior makeover.
The crew at JD Fabrication quickly went to work and stripped the suspension from the brand new truck and gutted the interior. To start, a full bumper-to-bumper rollcage made from 1.75-inch, 0.120-wall DOM tubing was added to provide increased chassis stiffness and safety for the occupants in the event of a rollover. The factory Ford Raptor front suspension was scrapped in favor of true long-travel A-arms, while the rear leaf spring suspension was lopped off and replaced with a custom JD Fabrication four-link. The wider stance and 37-inch BFG tires required more coverage, so JD Fabrication installed a fiberglass front fender and hood kit. In the rear, the crew at JD Fabrication dumpstered the stock Raptor pickup bed and hung fiberglass fenders over custom aluminum bed panels. With the rollcage tucked and hidden in the body of the Raptor, V&J Custom Upholstery in Vista, California, was free to slather the headliner and other interior bits in luxuriously padded suede leather, maintaining the top-tier sentiment of the F-150 inside and out.