There’s more than one Raptor in town, and the truck’s lead designer took to the skies for inspiration.
As the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor nears U.S. dealers, the truck’s design team shared some more information on why the new truck looks the way it does. Apart from the usual evolutionary elements baked into the rest of the F-150 range, lead exterior designer Tom Liu drew on the aviation industry for key portions of the Raptor’s unique elements, including the air extractor, grille details and part of an available graphics package. Specifically, as you can probably guess by the name, the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor.
Liu said he was “blown away” by the original SVT Raptor’s design back in 2009, and took inspiration from fighter aircraft. Of all that, he landed on the modern F-22 as a fast, nimble symbol of Americana and engineering prowess. It’s not the first time folks within the Blue Oval’s design department looked to planes for their namesake cars. Mustang designer John Najjar floated the name to the original pony car to R.H. Bob Maguire, as he’d been reading about the notorious P-51 Mustang fighter. Maguire originally rejected the name as it sounded ‘too airplaney’, but ironically accepted it on the spot once Najjar honed in on the horse instead.
This time, at least, Liu’s interest is thoroughly based in the aircraft, a point Ford and Liu are keen to share in this generation. The name, in itself, is more a coincidence between the two entities in their respective industries. More directly, Liu also cited the desire to honor U.S. military personnel, veterans and their families, who include a large and devoted customer base for the Ford F-150 Raptor. “I wanted to bring the spirit of F-22 Raptor on board with this third generation. To work on an icon like this really means the world to me.”
A closer look at the F-150 Raptor
As for the truck, design elements Liu honed in on are the hood vent air extractor with two “wings” on the side, as well as the functional side vents above the fenders and the undercuts above the wheel lip. The optional graphics package, for its part, includes a “FP GN03” fender logo with an American flag, as a nod to Lockheed Martin’s fighter and the classification on its vertical stabilizers.
For another more detailed look at the Ford F-150 Raptor, check out the video below. If you’re looking up to the current second-generation truck, Andre also covered the details of our long-term fleet truck in this TFLtruck post and video.