Lingenfelter Reaper Takes Aim at Ford Raptor

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By Sue Mead

I am in a sea of sand in Michigan's Silver Lake State Park. Windblown ridges and valleys are punctuated by scrub brush and dune grass. A crystal-clear cerulean sky sits above and as I throttle to crest a tall, mountainous dune with a curved lip, my feet point upward at the blue horizon as the cockpit fills with the rays of the fiery sun and the seductive sound of 550 high-performance horses.

For a moment I experience a time warp, and I am teleported back to Chile's Atacama dunes and the 2011 Dakar Rally, motoring in the Ford SVT Raptor through the world's highest desert. At that time, and until recently, this high-performance pickup-on-steroids was unchallenged in its class and surprised many — including Ford — with its runaway success. But the gauntlet has been thrown and a new thoroughbred has come to play in the dunes and other extreme off-road terrain as well as travel about the pavement.

I tested the all-new 2015 Lingenfelter Reaper in a 3,000-acre park along Lake Michigan's shoreline with performance guru Mike Copeland of Lingenfelter Performance Engineering sitting shotgun. Copeland, VP of operations at LPE, has been coming here for 35 years, using the dunes as a test arena. It was in this sand-box proving ground that the amiable executive, who is addicted to automotive performance, put the early test Reapers through their paces.

Our test drive truck was powered by Chevy's already-powerful 6.2-liter 420-horsepower V-8 — but pumped up to 550 hp through a Magnuson TSV1900 supercharger system, tuned by LPE, with a Corsa Performance Exhaust system. The four-door Silverado 1500 was Chevy's top-of-the-line High Country trim with a tan leather interior, a cadre of upscale amenities and a short box. Although the interior is largely unchanged — with the exception of special badging, a custom red-backed gauge cluster and auxiliary switches for the Reaper's bumper-mounted LED off-road lights — the Reaper's brawny and slightly-menacing exterior leaves the Silverado's factory looks in the dust.

Reaper's Back Story

Unveiled at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show in February, the amped-up Reaper is a joint-venture project co-branded and created by LPE and Southern Comfort Automotive. It's designed to appeal to GM truck enthusiasts as well as others seeking a specialty-performance pickup. The Reaper pairs LPE, which came to the union with decades of experience in performance engineering, engine and suspension tuning, to vehicle upfitter SCA, which has 35 years of wizardry with automotive design and graphics, plus a strong dealer network and worldwide distribution channels.

"We've shipped about 250 Reapers, and we can't build 'em as fast as we can sell 'em," said Copeland, who retired from GM on Jan. 1, 2011, and "took an eight-hour retirement." Copeland started at LPE on Feb. 1, 2011, but also runs his own performance company, Diversified Creations, a full-service performance and off-road shop.

When Copeland joined LPE "everyone was hopping on the Raptor bandwagon," and LPE was no exception. The company started working on an off-road Silverado concept dubbed T-Rex. It was during this time period that SCA contacted LPE, asking if the company would help build a GM-based competitor to the Raptor.

Copeland and LPE owner Ken Lingenfelter hopped on a plane with their T-Rex components, heading to SCA's Alabama headquarters. "We engineered the performance components and suspension, and selected the tires and they installed them and did the full body," Copeland said. SCA named the baby, and the Reaper was born.

"We took possession of the first truck in May 2013 and ran the engine on the dyno and have been running it for 11/2 years since. We now have three LT-based engines running nonstop — that is what you do to build a dependable power plant," said Copeland, who is a hot-rodder, racer and off-roader. Copeland also built the Ram Runner upfit package, which was inspired by the Raptor.

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And even though the Reaper is built for off-roading, "What's nice about it is you can still haul your boat and pick your kids up from school," Copeland said.

How It Drives

If you have any thoughts that the Reaper is simply a trim package, they will vaporize the minute you sit in either the driver or passenger seat. One of the pickup's best attributes is its suspension, which allows it to float along roadways and over bumps and jumps yet at the same time keeps you feeling grounded and in control of all directional maneuvers. That's the result of the Fox shocks' valving and all-new Ride Tech lower A-arms.

Driving it both moderately and aggressively in the Michigan sand, we bottomed out only when motoring at speed over hard-packed corduroy sand bumps. The Reaper's linear steering, surprisingly tight turning radius and cornering stability combine to make spinning dirt doughnuts and sand-throwing maneuvers on uphill climbs a breeze. Also helping out is the Reaper's custom bumper, while damage to the undercarriage is somewhat mitigated by an aggressive skid plate.

The modified truck has 9.2 inches of front wheel travel and 11.2 inches of rear travel, which is less than the Raptor's reported 11.2 inches in front and 12.1 inches in back. Even so, the trucks seem similar in ride quality and suspension travel.

The Reaper's power is its most compelling trait; two supercharged engines are available in 5.3-liter or 6.2-liter displacements. The base 5.3-liter boasts a 64-hp gain over the factory Raptor, and the 6.2-liter gains a whopping 139-hp advantage over Ford's bigger V-8. Our test pickup, with the larger L86 GM engine, had optional headers and a flamboyant exhaust note that exits from twin chrome tips.


We pushed full bore in the dunes, making steep climbs with ease, and backed off during most of our highway drive, although we hit three digits in a lightning-quick burst on a safe and untraveled stretch of macadam. Our only problem was the seductive nature of the Reaper's rumbling sound, which was appealing for the dunes, but too brash when making passing maneuvers on pavement. However, there is no whine from the supercharger, a feature that comes from GM's soundproofing in the front of the pickup, Copeland said. The Reaper will be available with several exhaust tuning options.

Copeland — who said that LPE chose supercharging because it creates more power, torque, speed and better fuel economy — reported up to 17 mpg on the highway during his testing. We noted 13 mpg combined during our overall drive, which included our aggressive time in the sand dunes.


While some everyday drivers and non-enthusiasts might balk at the Reaper's confident and brash looks — it sports an eaglelike hood and bold-faced grille — we found it alluring and certainly in the same stable as the Raptor's self-assured, ostentatious look. Boxed fender flares enhance the message, which is amped up by the Reaper's graphics, badging and LED lighting.

Pricing, Features and Options

The Reaper is available in three versions ranging from the mid-$50,000s for the base version to the mid-$60,000s and more for the fully optioned supercharged Reaper. It can be ordered as a regular-cab short bed, or as a double-cab or crew-cab model.

Standard features include a 3-inch lift with long-travel off-road suspension, Fox Racing performance remote reservoir shocks, 20-inch Reaper wheels mounted on General Grabber light truck tires and a Lingenfelter Performance exhaust system.

Outside styling enhancements include a custom hood fitment and grille assembly, high-clearance bumper, wide-body fender flares and a wheel-to-wheel rock guard with removable side steps, a brushed stainless-steel skid plate, custom LED off-road lighting and integrated LED driving lights, side front fender marker lights and an integrated off-road floodlight system.

In addition to exterior Reaper badging, the pickup boasts interior and exterior Lingenfelter/Southern Comfort Automotive Reaper badging and material upgrades. Inside the Reaper features embroidered headrests and door panel accents, a Reaper gauge package, painted interior trim pieces, an auxiliary switch panel for the floodlight system and/or future accessory upgrades.

Optional upgrades include LPE's Magnuson TSV1900 supercharger available on the 5.3-liter or 6.2-liter V-8, 17-inch beadlock wheels mounted on General Grabber Red Letter tires, Reaper graphics and a frozen matte paint finish.

The 2015 Reaper models with the 6.2-liter V-8 will get GM's new eight-speed transmission, replacing the six-speed in the 2015 editions.

The Reaper carries Lingenfelter's three-year/36,000-mile warranty in addition to SCA's three-year/36,000-mile warranty on all restyled parts.

Reapers are available at select Chevrolet dealers. To find a dealer near you, visit photos by Sue Mead


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Forward facing camera?
Locking rear diff?
Torsen front diff?
Wider track?
Integrated and controllable stability control?

Just another one-trick-pony like the Ram Runner

As a fan of GM... What is up with the front end? They need to Un-Fix the nose. It isn't a bad package, but would much rather see it come from the factory with similar options, so you aren't taking a brand new truck, and junking a bunch of equipment, resulting in an over inflated price.

I think Ford still gets credit for an out the door sand machine. Ram runner is great, but you have to pay for an all new truck on top of a new truck. This isn't bad, but still aftermarket and the front end doesn't help the pickup look better. It reminds me of the old GMC and Chevy box vans and RV's that had an extended nose to accommodate a larger engine. Looks goofy. Plastic surgery gone wrong.

Just another one-trick-pony like the Ram Runner

Posted by: Toycrusher | Sep 22, 2014 7:37:48 AM

I didn't see Toy 0 Ta or Ford whip the Ram Runner. That one trick pony is pretty trick.

Ram runner is great, but you have to pay for an all new truck on top of a new truck.

Posted by: BenThere | Sep 22, 2014 8:14:12 AM

WRONG. You can start with a used truck.

Ha, they list the 17" wheels as an upgrade with the 20's as standard. I agree that they are an upgrade, big wheels don't belong on a truck like this.

Ford dumped the Raptor for 2015. Better go out and get one now before they are all gone.

The roots-type blower and a pushrod V8! Perfect for offroad excitement.


You might be confused as I don't think Toycrusher is a Toyota guy if memory serves me correct. His name throws people off.

I'm sure it's a beast, but I can get over that butchered front end.


Not a bad package but I agree the front needs work looks wise. Its like they put a different grill on but ran out of money to change the headlights to match the rest of it.

Yeah this truck is nice and so is the ramrunner but these trucks are outsourced and not a factory package. That kinda turns me off. Reminds me of ordering this stuff from JC Whitney. The Raptor on the other hand is ready to go out the door from Ford. That means a lot when spending all these hard earned dollars required to get one. And oh yes the Raptor will return as a 2016 model.

This truck is ugly! and the knock off Raptor graphics are a joke! I think they should leave the front end alone and it will look a lot better. My brother bought Z71 and added a mild lift and some 33's and it looks waaaay better than this thing.

Hey HEMI, don't get too excited. The Raptor will be back.

Anyway, as mentioned, this truck-while cool-is missing some pretty important stuff: Wider track, locking diff, etc. Oh, and a decent looking grill.

As an all-around package, MotorTrend picks the Raptor. They note: "Flying over big bumps is clearly what the Ram Runner is all about. The Raptor is a far more well-rounded package. Ford's tuning allows its truck to be faster and easier to drive in every other condition. For me, a truck needs to be a multipurpose tool that excels at whatever task you throw at it. The Ford Raptor is the clear winner in those concerns. The Ram Runner is too focused on a single objective." Sounds like a one-trick pony to me.

@Hemi V8

"I didn't see Toy 0 Ta or Ford whip the Ram Runner. That one trick pony is pretty trick."

You have to modify a Ram to make it a Ram Runner. Didn't you say Ram's don't need to be modified and that you don't like aftermaket modifications?

Funny that you need $20,000 in modifactions making even a Ram SLT quad cab truck into a $60,000 truck(not including labor). Slap the same amount of money in modifications to make a $45,000 Super cab Raptor to match the what you put in a that quad cab rab. Hell, just the Hennessy 475hp kit is $10,000. Throw in some Icon shocks with a more travel upper control arm to match the $60,000 of tha Ram Runner and there would be a different story.

Ro you can just have an SDHQ Ecoboost Raptor with 430hp and 530lb-ft of torque.

Good god that's one ugly face. From the side profile it looks like they tried to put a Ram hood and grill on this thing. This thing looks mashed up with copy cat written all over it. This thing would look right at home built by the Chinese!

Raptor hasn't gone anywhere. Sales keep going up and up and last month was the best sales month ever for Raptor. There will be an announcement about the new Raptor later.

Cool truck, ugly as sin though. That being said I'm not too fond of the Raptor and Ram Runner either. Not really fond of anything no matter how useful it actually is that is sold to appear like a "race car/truck".... Read any road car with wings on it, factory or aftermarket, or street driven pickup trucks with big droopy long travel suspensions. It just screams that you are trying too hard and will never be as useful as something purpose built to for the track/ off road racing.

I agree with Taylor. Raptor graphics and Ram snout.

The local dealer in my town outfitted a Ram with the Ram Runner kit. It has been sitting on the lot for 2 years now.

"Good god that's one ugly face. From the side profile it looks like they tried to put a Ram hood and grill on this thing..."

And from the front it appears the Tundra got thrown in as well judging by the trapezoidal look.

I thought for sure the Silverado was already so ugly that any change to the front end would be an improvement, guess I was wrong...

Please, guys! I've been reading these "Raptor killer" articles since 2010. I can't believe Fiat and Obama Motors haven't been able to successfully copy the Raptor yet (in terms of performance, not in terms of big talk and graphics), but they simply haven't. The obvious conclusion? They can't. So now the aftermarket guys are trying to take on the right-off-the-assembly-line Raptor with their heavily modded wannabes, which shouldn't be a fair fight, but it is. Compare apples-to-apples (Lingenfelter vs. Roush Raptor) and...well, I guess that isn't apples-to-apples after all, is it? More like cranberries-to-apples. My guess is that the new Raptor (and it is coming) will be closer to a cranberries-to-watermelons metaphor.

@ devilsadvocate

"Not really fond of anything no matter how useful it actually is that is sold to appear like a "race car/truck"..."

The Raptor was not made to "appear" like a race truck. Where are you get that? The Raptor also has a mid travel suspension, not a long travel suspension. Race trucks have a long travel suspension, but the Raptor was not made to be a racer and was made more as a prerunner.

The wider stance and wider fender flares are not there just to make it look like a race truck, and actually serve a purpose. The wider stance provides more stability at high speeds the truck is capable of. The wider fender flares is because of the wider stance and due to how much wheel travel the truck has. If the Raptor had a regular trucks fender then the tires would go straight into the fender on every hard up travel tearing up the tire and fender. It is not just for looks or to pose as an off reader like most other lifted truck. Don't believe me then just ask the US Border Patrol that uses Raptors in the desert on the southern border or the baja race crews that use these trucks as prerunners to map out a course. So no, it's looks actually serve a purpose and not to just look like a race truck. It was never marketed to be a race truck either.

GM should put a 5.3 in the Colorado with a true offroad package and call it a day. (Or better yet, the 6.2 with 8 speed)
Any 1/2 ton is going to get panned as a Raptor clone and any 3/4 ton will get panned as a Power Wagon clone.

@Gregory: that's the best they could do with it, considering the "like a brick" Chevy front end.

swing-and-a-miss. Maybe if it wasn't so ugly...... Who wants to pay all that money to have a truck that is a lot uglier than it was stock? The fenders, headlights, and that beak on the front all go terrible together. Who cares how it performs. You have to start by making it look good. I think the main reason the raptor sells so good is because people love the way it looks and it's relatively cheap. This fails on those two very important things.

Driving thru sand on a beach, going thru 3 inches of water isn't off-roading to me! Heck! I can drive a Honda Civic thru that!
They ought to be embarrassed to show pictures of terrain like that!
Come over my way, I will show you some serious off-roading! Vertical rock mountain climbs, waist deep mud, climbing over downed trees!

My wife got me to believe in religion, until I married her I didn't believe in hell.

Every time I look at the front of this truck I start to gag and even vomited once.

This pickup makes the Raptor look like a Hot Wheels truck. The Raptor is not even in the same class this pickup is in.

Acutally the wider stance of the Raptor isn't to do with Ford improving it's stability.

The control arms had to be lengthened to give it additional suspension travel. An effect of the extended control arms is a wider vehicle. This is cheaper than modifying the chassis (narrowing it).

I've mentioned I would love to see a V8 mid size off roader. Using a mid size chassis would produce a better off road vehicle.

But, on the other side of the coin I would rather see a performance version of a 3 litre class diesel in a mid sizer for off road. They raced these in SA and beat modified V8 pickups.

But these trucks are about eye candy as much or even more so than actual performance.

How much easier will it be for someone to break one over a stock standard 4x4? To maximise the use of one of these or even a Raptor the person driving it will require better off road skills or the advantage is a waste of money and you are better off just buying a normal 4x4.

Or, you can buy one to cruise around shopping malls in.

@Big Al

The only commentor who understands off road. Lol at LPE.

Who wants a cheap Ford Raptor knock off? PASS!!!

@Big Al

"Acutally the wider stance of the Raptor isn't to do with Ford improving it's stability."

Yes, it does. The whole reason why the Raptor has such a wide stance is to accommodate it's mid travel suspension. The reason for the mid travel suspension to for stability/control at high speeds off road. So yes, the basic reason for it's wider stance is for stability at high speeds like I stated. I just didn't want to go into the detail you did because I really don't think it would have mattered in my response.

The Ram Runner is too focused on a single objective." Sounds like a one-trick pony to me.

Posted by: lray801 | Sep 22, 2014 10:47:13 AM

Of course. Sounds like a Ford loser to me. :..-(

Both are purpose built trucks. What is the purpose?

@greg. Does this truck come out of gm's factory looking like this?? Does chevy produce this truck on its own?? No they don't. Does Ford produce the Raptor and roll it out their doors, yes they do. JC Whitney makes a lot of this stuff so why not do it yourself. You will get almost the same results as this truck and the ramrunner. Just aftermarket goodies that the Raptor already comes with. Thankyou Ford.

Kill this thing with flame!
Can somebody explain to me please, what people use this vehicles for ? I don't see any use for them.

This gets me all the time. I can't stop laughing.

2014 Roush F150 Raptor Crew Cab

590hp - 590lb-ft (that is 40hp more than the GM Reaper 6.2)

Kit costs $7,500 and can be installed with a warranty at a Ford dealer that is also a Roush dealer.

Where is the article on this?

@zviera, I will see you and raise you 90 feet. lol

Before i get all the Ford hate posts. I do give credit to the Ford Raptor. It will not match a Ram Runner but it's a great factory off road truck no dought. To many federal hoops to make it a true off road racer. No one else has a 1500 to match it from the factory.

I was unaware of Ford coming out with a 2016 Raptor. I would buy one now before they stop selling them. One with a V8 at the least. ;--) I could care less honestly. I need the mighty Power Wagon to haul and tow all my other off road toys. Raptor can't do that.


If you are basing your whole premiss on that jump video you have posted then you need to do more research. Taking a jump wrong or at the wrong speeds can cause you to wreck no matter how much your truck's suspension is made for it. Even these professional drivers in actual race trucks will wipe out if they take a bump wrong even if it looks like a harmless one.

For someone who says they ride quads, I would think you would know this.

Yep, bad engineering all over. On second thought , people using Raptor for stuff it wasn't meant to be.
Can somebody explain to me please, what's the Raptor purpose?
My friend imported one of the first ones and except of cool orange wide look and parking in the curb, it didn't offer anything else.
He traded it in for VW Tiguan after 6 month, because he is technically challenged and was driving Raptor in 4x4 mode on dry surface, calling me what's that rubber burning smell.

I don't need to blow $60,000 on a Reaper or a Raptor when the stock truck will handle more then I'll ever need.

The Reaper is the Windows Phone of pickup trucks. Only fanboys will swear it's better. Their users will use dumb phrases like "welcome to 2010" (when the product they like didn't exist). Just like Windows Phone users should thank Apple for inventing the iPhone, Reaper lovers should thank Ford for the Raptor because they didn't have the guts to do it until someone else did it first.

Because I didn't ask All1 what's the purpose of the Raptor and he feels that he talks behalf of everybody, I am asking again if somebody can tell me the purpose of this truck, because I don't see any except of cool factor. Please.

If you wanna go factory and go offroad fast you buy a Raptor.

If you wanna go factory and go slow offroad you buy a Power Wagon.

If you wanna go factory and want moderatly capable you get a TRD or PRO4X.

If you want stickers you get a Z71 or FX4

If you wanna buy a truck and pile on after market stuff, well anyone can do that and the budget and common sense or a lack there of are the limits.

Here is a great link that some on this site should read regarding off road vehicles. It simplistic and should be able to be comprehended by all.

Since suspensions are a relatively popular topic on PUTC it would be worth noting what are suspensions for;

1. To reduce the impact of irregularities/obstacles.

2. To maintain wheel contact.

3. To generate stability.

Now, the first two are very important for a 4x4 and are actually very similar in how to achieve. Any suspension regardless of the surface must have a suspension to maintain all wheels on the surface.

This gives you two significant attributes that a 4x4 requires.

1. Is wheel articulation to overcome obstacles.

2. Is traction, Traction is the most significant factor in a successful 4x4. As wheels lift off the ground your traction becomes reduced.

If you want stability in a vehicle you will want to lower the height of your vehicle as low as possible.

In a 4x4 you tend to go in the other direction and want the body to be lifted.

To achieve this the cheapest option is a live axle. If you have IFS or IRS you will want control arms etc to be as long as possible. This increases the distance a suspension can travel.


"Because I didn't ask All1 what's the purpose of the Raptor and he feels that he talks behalf of everybody,"

Yes you did ask me, and no I don't feel I can talk on everyone's behalf which is why I stated that I would only be giving you my opinion. I also stated that everyone's opinion would be different because everyone has different purposes for their truck. You can't say one truck is perfect for every off road situation like Hemi V8 like to say the Power Wagon is the end all be all of off road trucks. There are different types of off road from high speed off road to slow speed off road. Even then it breaks down to different surfaces and how much room m you have on a trail that will depend on what size of vehicle can fit.

You may have person in the upper east of the US that goes off road in tight spaced backwoods and a Power Wagon or Raptor would be about worthless to their off road while a small Jeep would be excellent for. On the other hand you may a person that lives in the Midwest where the off road is wide open desert trails that can be taken at high speeds where the Raptor would thrive in while a Power Wagon or Jeeps suspension and live axles were not designed for that kind off off road. So you see, you will get a different response from different people because the purpose of their off road vehicles may be different depending on what kind of off roading they do. Like i said there is not an end all be all truck that will be the best in every off road situation like Hemi V8 likes to claim the Power Wagon is. Sure the Power Wagon may fit his needs, but it might be worthless in someone else's so he is only giving his opinion on the matter and not a fact for everyone. So you can research it and find out if the Raptor has a purpose for you. Just remember, it is just your opinion on the matter and NOT fact because you cannot speak for everyone.

Not too shabby.

I'll take a 575 horsepower Ford F-150 S.V.T. Shelby Raptor though, thank you!

That front end looks hideous. Why did they wreck the square body design with that slant forward Ram nose? Regardless, the square body design only works in SFA form for off roading. It's more Super Duty/Power Wagon looking. That's what they should have gone for. I can't fathom why anyone would want this.

@All1 - I do agree that the whole "one truck is best" ideology is very misplaced.
Every vehicle I have purchased was based upon a set of criteria with more important items (at that time)weighted more heavily.

Criteria changes over time. That is why I've gone from owning small trucks to 3/4 ton back to small and back up to 1/2 ton.

The Raptor has its place and on more open logging road would be a great truck but tight stuff would cause a lot of body damage. Just like your example of the open desert West versus woodlands.
Same can be said for the Power Wagon. It unfortunately has been turned in to a 1/2 ton with big axles. I'd buy a regular 3/4 ton before a PW. A winch and a tire swap would put you in the same ballpark as the PW. Size is the limiting factor and since a 3/4 ton is just as big and heavy with more capacity......
I know guys with Jeeps and they are hardcore trail types. The negative is a lack of cargo capacity. That means you have to buy expensive compact outdoor gear if you plan on camping.
I can list pro's and cons for dirt bikes and quads since I've owned both. Same can be said for hiking.

Each has a different set of variables that can only be assessed and prioritized by the individual.

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