At the world's largest car show — where wild and crazy is the norm — finding a pickup truck that's distinctive yet displays a great deal of functionality is more difficult than you might think. But that's exactly what we saw in this 2017 Ford Raptor PreRunner concept from DeBerti Designs at the 2016 Specialty Equipment Market Association Show in Las Vegas.
The Ford booth was packed with dozens of eye-catching, custom-built F-Series pickups (and Mustangs too), but at the front of the display, in the highest traffic location in the expansive hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, sat a well-equipped race truck, looking very much like a next-generation Ford F-150 Raptor. Yes, it has all the visual cues of an all-new 2017 Raptor (quite popular with consumers) with Ford spelled in large capital letters in the grille, a wider stance and big tires. On closer inspection, you'll notice this truck is more than a foot wider, the BFG race tires are 39 inches tall and the entire truck sits several inches taller due to a custom race suspension.
A quick look inside the front fender wells exposes a set of high-performance, dual-bypass Fox Racing shocks with a set of multicompression-rate coil springs. In back, the custom coil spring setup (mounted through the bed floor) and monster remote reservoir shocks are designed to dissipate huge amounts of heat and harsh impacts. We calculate the total amount of wheel travel on this truck to be almost 50 inches (close to 20 inches in front and more than 28 inches in the rear). Both the front and rear axles are designed for high-speed desert racing, with the rear using a Ford heavy-duty 9-inch extra-wide differential.
As wild and notable as the engineering and construction is on the outside and underneath of this truck, the interior is much more subtle, but no less impressive. The roll cage in the cab offers a padded and wrapped seven-point heavy-duty roof structure with appropriate rear mounting bars for aftermarket four-point seat belt harnesses (for front and rear seats). In the backseat, a full-size display screen that acts as an entertainment center and global positioning locating device can topographically plot your location on a map, no matter where you are.
This concept uses the familiar F-150 Raptor front dash and center console, so the look is looks quite stock. Likewise, this truck has the recently upgraded 3.5-liter V-6 EcoBoost under the hood and the brand-new 10-speed transmission as well as the push-button multiterrain system complete with an upgraded "Baja" race algorithm. The only thing missing for a more comfortable ride would be fully air-suspended seats to provide a marshmallow-soft landing after every high-speed jump.
Our favorite part of the truck is the at the rear of the truck where two full-size spare tires and wheels are strapped into the rear of the bed (to provide the truck with better weight distribution), a 3.5-ton hydraulic jack and a set of three monster subwoofers (all pointing at the butts of the rear-seat passengers) for the upgraded sound system.
A vehicle like this is a special one-off project, but if there were one vehicle we would offer a pile of cash in trade for the keys and a few hours of unchaperoned driving time, this would be the truck.
Cars.com photos by Evan Sears