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.

Impressions

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.

Exterior

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 reaperperformanceusa.com.

Cars.com photos by Sue Mead

 

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Comments

As far as the if you go slow you automatically buy a Power Wagon and if you just want to go fast buy a Raptor that gets throw around a lot, but is often misleading.

In the Ultimate Off-Road Shootout, Power Wagon lost the hill-climb and came in 4th place by pretty large margin, Raptor won 1st place unanimously.

On the stair step climb, Raptor won 1st place unamously, and the Power Wagon came in second place but had a pretty rough going.

On the rock garden Power Wagon finally won 1st, but Raptor came second place.

So if you just want to go slow over boulders, maybe you go with the Power Wagon. But don't automatically assume Power Wagon is for the slow stuff and Raptor is just for fast.

Also note the poor fuel economy, Power Wagon 11.9 mpg vs the 16.4 mpg in the Raptor. The end result is the Power Wagon has a mix of highs and lows — but landing in last place by a good margin in the hill climb and fuel economy -is not how you can be the best all-round off-road truck.

And as far as GM goes, Reaper is not a factory off-road package, and they screwed up the All Terrain HD concept by making it just a sticker package.

http://special-reports.pickuptrucks.com/2012/09/ultimate-4x4-shootout-off-road-testing.html

http://special-reports.pickuptrucks.com/2012/09/ultimate-4x4-shootout-results.html

I agree with Jason. The All Terrain HD had a lot of potential and should have debuted 3 years ago, 1 year after the concept, and GM would have been working on the 2nd gen by now. But they really screwed up and made it into an emblem package. The non-factory Reaper at "select dealers" is not going to cut it!

By the sounds of it there is a lot of confusion on how to rate a 4x4.

4x4s come in a wide variety of sizes and applications, which does impact it's performance off and on road.

Full size trucks whether 1/2 ton or HD have three factors limiting there ability to be better off road vehicles.

1. Size. Due to their size full size pickups have reduced rampover, agility in tighter spaces and a lot of unnecessary weight to move around.

2. Ability to carry a decent payload off road. If you want to carry a couple of thousand pounds or so off road you will generally need to go up to a HD, which again reduces your off road ability. Remember just because your truck is able to carry 2 000lbs doesn't mean it will do it off road without damaging your vehicle.

3. Gasoline engine, this can be contentious as in some off road instances endurance is a prime goal. But, from what I've read in the US there isn't too many areas that are truly isolated, so a gas station is near by and not up to 1 000km away.

Lou is correct in stating that the smaller the off road vehicle, the better it's performance, but this will come at the cost of endurance and load capacity.

Most who buy these exspensive kinds of 4x4 pickups buy them because they can and they look pretty sitting in the driveway.

Most who buy these have never been off road, so the off road ability of these vehicles only matter to a very few.

As someone stated most who spent $50k on a vehicle will not take them off road.

The argument of which is the better 4x4 has little meaning between the vehicles. The best 4x4 is able to suit a particular application.

It's like stating a Class 8 truck is better than a F-350 because it can carry more weight. A specific vehicle for specific use.

A full size 4x4 pickup would be ideal driving up and unimproved tracks etc. But I don't think they would survive in any real arduous situation. Then you will need to spend lots on a 4x4 that goes well off road and will be poor on road.

@Big Al and Lou BC

I could not have said either post better myself...... especially on this damn phone and its damn auto correct which is a PITA to type any long posts.

I have a 14 raptor, wanted the 6.2 before it's gone. There are many great features over looked in these discussions. The electronic wizardry of the raptor is one thing over looked by most and if you don't know you have no room to comment on it. Raptor is a way better truck then the aftermarket built reaper at a fraction of the cost.

Also I don't believe that the ram runner package from a ram dealership is available beyond 2012. You can not get a 2014 ram runner.

"I didn't see Toy 0 Ta or Ford whip the Ram Runner. That one trick pony is pretty trick.
Ford dumped the Raptor for 2015. Better go out and get one now before they are all gone."


@HEMI V8,

Wrong. Ford hasn't dumped the Raptor. It is still being sold and the new one will be revealed at the Detroit Auto Show. However, Ram did discontinue the half-assed "Ram Runner" aftermarket package that you keep talking about. It was discontinued in 2012. Way to keep up.

"we made the business decision to discontinue the kit in 2012 or would have faced a redesign due to an all-new 2013 Ram 1500 design. We choose instead to focus engineering efforts on parts and packages more in line with street-compliant vehicles." - Ram

Via:
Ram Runner Developer Calls Chrysler Out On Half-Assed Off-Road Effort
http://truckyeah.jalopnik.com/ram-runner-developer-calls-chrysler-out-for-half-assed-1558444887


especially on this damn phone and its damn auto correct which is a PITA to type any long posts.

Posted by: ALL1 | Sep 23, 2014 3:43:49 PM

Autocorrect can be turned off. Read the manual please.

@zviera

"Autocorrect can be turned off."

Well no shnit Sherlock. I choose to keep it on because it helps cut down time in the many text messages I send a day for work, but it goes haywire when on Internet sites. What? Did you actually think I didn't read how to operate this phone? No I am not like some that don't even know the capabilities of what they buy like those that didn't even know the payload of their $40k+ truck when they bought it. Awwww did you think you actually had me on something? lol

@All1
I just tried to help you. Maybe you should buy a phone for purpose you need. Like I have a NOTE II for more screen real estate and easier typing. No problems.


@zviera

I had the Note 2 before this one. Now I have the Note 3 sooooo what where saying? I did buy a phone for my wants and I love that little pen for my daily use. Between me having to overcome dyslexia all my life and me never proof reading anything I post, I would do this bad with any phone. So don't act like you are trying to help when you are actually when you are trying to down me because it isn't working.

Raptor Who?

http://www.ennislaw.com/ford_fire_recall.html

@All1
I just needed to clarify that you know this function, because you were wrong once about RAM 3500 rear coil suspension somebody else corrected you, so it's always good to double check with you.
You were not upset with that other person, so you don't have to be now.
That's all.

@zviera

Really? You are going to throw stones at me from your glass house? How many times Lou and I proved what you said was wrong or just opinion based on zero facts? A LOT. How many times have you lied on PUTC every time you said you didn't overload your truck, when you called Lou a liar when he said overloaded your truck, or when you fibbed on your payload sticker? A LOT. So your point in all this is?

So your point in all this is?
Posted by: ALL1 | Sep 23, 2014 9:26:47 PM

I have to just double check with you all the time, so I know we are on the same page. You clarified you know this function. It's just hard to believe you , because you posted already twice ,that autocorrect makes you a problems. Stop posting this over and over and people like me won't try to help you. Problem solved.
BTW: I don't lie. Just making fun of you.
RAM doesn't have a truck for your needs and I overload my truck daily. He likes that, never bottomed.

@zviera

"Stop posting this over and over and people like me won't try to help you. Problem solved."

You are not trying to help. You are trying to get back at me, and not doing a very good job at it might I add because I still don't care. So again, your point is?

@ALL1
I said my point. What's yours.

@Lou
All1 can't ignore me. If somebody corrected him , that RAM 3500 didn't have a rear coil suspension, he doesn't even react. If I write, that he can turn autocorrect off he starts a flame war mentioning some lies , that he proved anything.
Have a good night everyone. I am going hunting tomorrow early morning and need to get a good sleep.
I didn't overload my truck today yet , but on the way back, who knows. I will definitely enjoy my rear coil spring suspension tomorrow.

@zviera

"I said my point. "

You did? You mean that rambling nonsense was your point? I didn't see a point in any of it.

Like I said, if your main premiss is to get back at me and make fun of me like you say then you are not doing a very good job at it because I still don't care. Either that or my "Give-a-damn" is busted.

@All1
You didn't care 20 times today. LOL. I will sleep peacefully.

@zviera

"You didn't care 20 times today."


Nah bro, it was more like 50. Sweet dreams cupcake.

What happened to it's face?



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