Even before the pandemic, the “safari” trend of taking cars not originally meant for off-roading and modifying them for that exact task was gathering steam. The fad grew so popular that manufacturers themselves got in on the action, with official offerings like the Porsche 911 Dakar and Lamborghini Huracan Sterrato appearing within the last year. The new Ford Mustang is now rumored to be next in line for safarification.
According to Car and Driver, Ford is developing a Mustang Raptor, an off-road style ‘Stang in the vein of the F-150, Ranger, and Bronco Raptors. The report is certain enough of the project that it’s even predicting the powertrain: the 5.0-liter V8 tuned to 500-horsepower and mated to a 10-speed automatic. Output will be routed to all four wheels via an electronic center diff.
True to the the safari formula, the car must also look like something ready to lead an assault on the Thunderdome. C/D reports a new suspension with Fox Live Valve shocks and springs that provide a 2.0-inch lift. Naturally, beefy-looking skid plates, black fender cladding and all-terrain tires will round out the visuals.
Furthermore, C/D says an even more radical Mustang Raptor R will follow. They expect that one to run a 5.2-liter V8 supercharged to 700 horsepower.
The safari trend seems to mandate, with perhaps a dash of irony, that the more sporty or luxurious the base car, the better. Various generations of the Porsche 911 have been popular donors, along with Bentley Continentals, Lexus LS and the Mustang itself (hello Thomas Crown). Be sure to throw in plenty of tube-frame guards and racks, and don’t forget the auxiliary lights.
When the Mustang Mach-E debuted purists lost their minds at the idea of a Mustang crossover. If the Mustang Raptor had come out first that may have tempered the pitchforks grabbers.