Ever since Carroll Shelby stuck a Ford V8 into the AC Ace roadster in 1962 and beat the world’s best teams to win the FIA World Sportscar championship, no other company than his resultant Shelby American has been more synonomous with creating rip-roaring Ford products than it — and they’ve gone and done it again. The tuner is known for its works on models such as Cobras and Mustangs but this mighty F-150 might be their best effort yet. With a full 755 horsepower of supercharged V8 fury, this is the perfect way to one-up your Ecoboost V6-driving Raptor pals. It really is the incredible truck.

 

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Photos: Stefan Lindeque

I know what you’re thinking: “Pick-ups aren’t supposed to be that potent, are they? They’re meant to tow trailers and haul cargo...” Well yes — if you’re still living in the Fifties. Things have moved on a fair bit since. To recap, they’ve been getting quicker over the years and there have been some tremendous muscle trucks in the past such as the ’68 F-100 with the optional big-block 390; bales of hay never got to the farm so fast. Dodge introduced the Lil’ Red Express as part of Mopar’s “Adult Toys” lineup (give them a break, it was the Seventies...) based on the Sportsman; it was a real eye-catcher replete with massive side pipes, gold accents, and a free-breathing 360 cubic-inch V8 that could do the 0-100kph sprint in less than seven seconds. Who could forget the GMC Syclone in the early Nineties or the time when Chevy took some serious inspiration from Nascar to put together the SS in the mid-2000s, while more recently the 2015 Ram 1500 R/T Hemi has left plenty of elevens on the tarmac and in our hearts — but none have come close to the output of Ford’s latest offering. Not even Texan tuner Hennessey and their bonkers 25th Anniversary Velociraptor with 700 horses can compete. The F-150 Shelby makes them all look positively tame because of that monster of a motor. To the 5.0-litre engine finished in Ford Racing Blue Shelby has added a supercharger, high-flow fuel injectors, a big aluminium intercooler, performance aluminium heat exchanger, upgraded billet throttle body and a carbon fibre intake tube to get it to that colossal output. It’s mated to a 10-speed automatic which makes this pick-up highly capable and ever so powerful. It makes 300 horses more than the Raptor’s 3.5-litre Ecoboost V6. Floor the throttle and you’re met with the glorious whine of the supercharger and the ferocious roar of the Shelby tuned Borla performance exhaust with black ceramic tips. I’m not sure what sounds better. At full pelt, this truck is music to the ears. It’s been a common criticism of the Raptor that it just doesn’t have that muscle truck soundtrack anymore, but is it better at tackling the beaten path than this Shelby, which is clearly designed to eat up the black top at a rate of knots? Well, considering this has rear-wheel and four-wheel drive modes and features the exclusive Shelby-engineered Fox shock system and that includes Raptor Style Fox shocks for all four wheels, adjustable dual speed controls on all four shocks, front and rear 2.5in Fox Aluminium body reservoir shocks, and Fox top-of-the-line internal bypass technology, they probably have very similar capabilities — but in a straight line race, there’s only ever going to be one winner.

 

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Photos: Stefan Lindeque

Shelby American has made various improvements to the exterior, (it remains a Super Crew Cab Styleside) including a functional ram air hood scoop, fender flares, ground effects, a tonneau cover and a set of 18in wheels wrapped with BFG All-Terrain T/A KO2 tyres to ensure good grip — but the best new addition of the lot has to be the new wire-mesh grille. No, make that the classic racing stripes. Wait, it’s those requisite Shelby badges. If you hadn’t guessed, I find the whole package is simply gorgeous — it looks and sounds like nothing else on the road. It also has an upgraded bumper with extended rocker panel extensions, steel rear bumper complemented by LED lighting and shackle mounts that enable you to achieve off-road recovery when needed. This is without a shadow of a doubt the best looking truck you’ll see or sadly, with just 500 being produced, not see. Like every new F-150, the huge interior features a ton of standard comfort features like Ford’s Sync infotainment system, a backup camera, and heated and ventilated seats with Shelby snake embroidered headrests (the Shelby snake badge console lid is a nice touch too). It has a seating capacity of six passengers with its front headroom and legroom being 1,036mm and 1,115mm respectively and a shoulder room of 1,694mm. Those in the second row ample space with headroom at 1,026mm, legroom at 1,107mm and shoulder room measuring 1,673mm.

If you wanted a cool truck with a bunch of features that was fast both on and off-road then chances are you would have opted for the F-150 Raptor but this F-150 Shelby throws a huge spanner in the works; it’s way more potent and is worth the huge Dh446,145 price tag for that soundtrack alone. It’s on a whole different level.

Carroll would have been so proud.