Usually, most businesses rely on some type of vehicle to get the job done. For Lethal Threat, a pick-up truck was always the go to ride for both work and play. We have had every brand of truck over the 32 years of our existence. For sure some trucks where better than others. I had a Dodge Ram SRT-10 with a Viper engine, it was fast as F@ck, but not really practical as a work truck. The Viper Truck was designed for racing. It had two-wheel drive, race slick tires and a top speed of over 150mph, driving this truck was like riding a bucking bronco. Driving in the rain was a white-knuckle experience and if it snowed the truck was garage bound for the winter. Nothing against the truck, but not what I needed. I sold it to a guy for his eighteen year old son, to me it was like handing him a loaded revolver. Too much truck for an 18-year-old, but the kid proved me wrong and is still enjoying the truck now a couple of years later. I would say the pick-up truck, that always delivered for me was the Ford F-150. I know plenty of you are loyal Dodge, GMC, Toyota or Chevy guys or gals. Honestly, I had no brand loyalty when it came to cars or trucks. If it looked good, had good consumer ratings and provided the performance I needed, I was sold.
My company has no affiliation with Ford. In my opinion the Ford F-150 is the best overall pick-up truck on the market. Technology, styling, towing capabilities and performance make the Ford F-150 the top selling truck in the United States for the last ten years. At the very start of Covid 19, everything shut down in the New York Tri State area and car and truck dealers were over stocked on inventory with little to no sales. I was always impressed with the Ford Raptor truck the first year I saw it at the SEMA show a couple of years ago. The Raptor was designed for off-road racing, so not really practical as a work truck, but F@ck being sensible. During Covid lock down the only way to buy or trade in a truck was to do it online. I reached out to a couple of Ford dealers, and found one in New Jersey, who offered a great deal on our trade in truck and dropped the price considerably on the 2020 Raptor. A year before Covid, no deals were to be had on a Raptor truck, many dealers were getting full sticker price or even above sticker. Now was the ideal time to buy one. We did the deal all over the phone and a couple of days later the salesman showed up at our headquarters and dropped off the new Raptor and headed back to his dealership with our trade-in truck. No games, not hassle pretty straight forward transaction.
Soon after taking ownership of the Raptor a letter showed up from Ford offering a two-day training class in Utah to put the truck through its paces. The class was free, you had to pay for your travel to Utah and hotel accommodations. You had one year to go the class from the purchase date of your Raptor. The class was called The Raptor Assault. No vehicle I ever bought previously offered a course to show you what your new car / truck is capable of, so I would for sure take Ford up on this offer. Almost to the one-year mark of the truck purchase I decided I needed to sign up for the course and set up my travel arrangements. Next stop, Salt Lake City Utah, and then a 20-mile drive West to the town of Tooele, Utah. This was the first time flying, for me, in almost a year since the Covid mess started. Before Covid I would average one or two flights a month, so getting back on a plane again felt strange. Once in the Salt Lake City Airport, I headed to the Rent A Car place, a huge line and one counter person. The first night of the Raptor Assault had a meet and greet diner for an overview of what would happen the next day. I would have made it if not for the two-hour rent a car delay, so I missed the Meet and Greet. The girl from Ford gave me a call and said it’s not a problem, just be there the next day at the training course at 7 AM. Once I got to the town of Tooele, I checked in to the closest hotel. Tooele is a small town with views of the Oquirrh Mountains and the Great Salt Lake.
Next day, started off with a bit of a surprise like no other I ever had before. Up around 5:30 AM to get ready for the days Raptor Assault adventure, still half asleep, a pulled out the ironing board from the closet and reached for the iron from its holder. I hear a thud and look down and there on the floor is a 10-inch sex toy. I was like what the F@ck!!! What do you do in a situation like this? Call the front desk, leave it on the floor or put it back where it was hiding. I choose the third option. No, I didn't touch it with my bare hands. I used a washcloth to place it back behind the iron for the next victim of this dildo prank. I was for sure awake now.
I arrived at the Raptor Assault center around 7 AM. Coffee and pastries welcomed us, and we were directed to a classroom. There were about 20 Raptor owners who would be taking the course, so we were divided into classes of ten. Each group of ten was assigned two instructors. We started the day off with our instructor, Donny, going over Vehicle Dynamics, Cornering Theory and the different Driving Mode settings the Raptor is capable of. This was the real deal, this course is going to push your driving limits, and have you step outside your comfort zone. After about 45 minutes, it was time to partner up and head to one of the twenty Ford Raptors they had waiting for us. My driving partner was a great guy from Arkansas who was an adrenaline junkie. If it had wheels, he was all about it from cross country cycling, mountain biking and he was also a Moto GP motorcycle racer. We were given a Black Raptor, truck #4.
All communication with our instructors was done with a two-way radio in each truck. Our instructor was in the lead vehicle giving you driving commands per truck number. We were instructed to drive as fast as you feel comfortable, the Raptor can handle anything you could dish out. First, we drove out to the course that Ford had set up. A series of cones set up along a winding dirt path, with bumps, dips, and 90 degree turns. We drove thru the course slow, with the instructor, telling us points where to slow down and where to accelerate. Again, you drove the way you felt comfortable, but they wanted you to push your limits. My driving buddy was up first, he stomped down on the gas and off we went. Both of us were wearing helmets and strapped in with a racing harness. We each got in three runs, both of us had a sh!t eating grin after completing this part of the course. Next it was on to the rock climb part of the course. The Raptor has different driving modes you can put the truck into simply by selecting the mode on your dashboard. Select Rock Crawl Mode and set your speed and the truck drives itself up and down the rocks, all you have to do is steer. Using the brake or gas disengages the system. Pretty amazing technology. Next, we drove the truck on a 30-degree lateral angle along a rock wall. Felt like the truck was going to tip over, but not this Raptor. It was totally stable. Again, both of us go in a couple of runs at this along with the other Raptors on our team. After an hour or two on this course, we headed up to Oquirrh Mountains for some off-road driving.
The scenery was beautiful while the trail was pretty steep and treacherous while climbing to the peak of the mountain. Once we got to the top, we parked the convoy of Raptors and had a box lunch with beverages supplied by Ford. We all got to relax a bit and reflect on this once in a lifetime experience. From the start of the day a photographer from Ford was there to capture every moment of the day. While off roading he would race ahead of us on a motocross bike. After lunch it was time to switch drivers again and head back to another Raptor Assault course. Descending the mountain and using all the features and driving modes the Raptor is capable of really sets this truck apart from the competition. Once back to the Ford course we had two exercises left with truck. First an all-out obstacle course and second jump the Raptor.
This second course was more of a challenge then the first one in the morning, but everybody was feeling confident. This time our instructor climbed up to the elevated portion of the course and would give you his directions in real time as we went thru the course. Speed up, brake, bank, turn commands echoed through our headsets. It was a really great time. Finally, it was time to jump the Ford Raptor. A dirt ramp was built with cones on each top corner of the ramp. From a standing start we had about 100 foot lead up before getting to the ramp, so basically slam down on the gas and when you are air born take your foot off the gas. The instructor told us that if you are still giving the truck gas on the landing you are in for a violent jolt. It was my turn, I got some good air, kept my foot off the gas in air and the truck came down as soft as could be expected. The Fox shock absorbers withstood the impact with no problem. An eight-hour day on the Raptor Assault had come to a close. We drove the trucks back to garage, got a usb with all the days photos, a swag bag and said our goodbyes to all and heading back to our corners of the country.
The Raptor Assault instructors and staff were awesome. The whole experience was well planned, and really taught you the many features and capabilities of the Ford Raptor. I don't think I would have figured it out myself. I have no affiliation with Ford, so this is a very unbiased review of my experience. I highly recommend the Ford Raptor if you want to kick it up to the next level of pick-up truck. For sure if you do buy a Ford Raptor do not miss the opportunity to take the Raptor Assault class. You will have a blast!!