By Larry Edsall
So, you like the way the Ford Raptor looks, but you don't necessarily need — or simply cannot afford to purchase or to insure — a pickup truck that can fly across desert terrain at full speed.
If that's the case, consider the 2013 VWerks F-150 Predator, which offers a Raptor-like appearance but not that truck's extreme performance.
Or perhaps you've heard of VWerks' parent company, Venchurs Vehicle Systems, which does compressed natural gas powertrain conversions for Ford pickup trucks.
VWerks' latest conversion offering is the Predator, well, the Predator and the Sabre, but we'll get to the Sabre in a moment.
While the Ford Raptor comes only with a four-wheel-drive powertrain that includes Ford's 411-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8, the Predator package can be applied to any F-150 SuperCrew short bed. The add-on package — Predators are sold as turnkey trucks through Ford dealerships — includes a fiberglass hood, vented front fenders with inner splash shields, new rear bedside panels, front grilles, a front bumper valance and a Venom bumper, LED lighting kit, 2-inch leveling kit, V-Tec Wizard 395 black wheels, 35-inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain KM2 tires and graphics.
The suggested cost is $16,500 in addition to the cost of a new F-150, which can carry any of the available Ford powertrains.
If you want more, there are other options: Katzkin leather seating, side steps, a rear Venom bumper, cold-air intake, cat-back exhaust, rear leaf springs and a tonneau cover.
However, if, as VWerks General Manager Greg Golab puts it, you don't want your truck Baja style but somewhat more reserved, there's the Sabre, a sort of executive work truck.
The Sabre is designed for any F-150 SuperCrew. The conversion includes a new hood, 2-inch Superlift Level-It Lift kit, Flowmaster performance exhaust, 20-inch Moto Metal wheels in chrome or satin black with BFG tires and a Hypertech speedometer calibration, as well as floor mats and badging.
Options include a PHP EcoBoost Performance kit, Pro Comp shocks, Go Rhino nerf bars, Kicker audio, an UnderCover Lux SE tonneau, Katzkin leather seating and more.
The basic Sabre conversion adds $10,400 to the F-150's price. For information on either kit, call VWerks at 855-264-4372.