Is the Ford F-150 Raptor Named After a Bird or a Dinosaur?

The Ford F-150 Raptor pickup truck is an absolute beast. Since its 2010 debut, the Raptor has captivated extreme drivers who love the off-road allure of this designated dune-jumper. Whether it’s named for the bird or the dinosaur, the Ford Raptor is named after an extreme predator capable of unique feats. But which is it? Does the Ford F-150 Raptor name come from the bird or the dinosaur?

The Ford Raptor name

Back when it came out, the Ford F-150 Raptor name had a little trouble. According to MotorTrend, when the Raptor was a baby just breaking through the egg of development a few names were “tossed around.” Apparently the Raptor might have been called other names such as the Terminator or the Condor. The Condor would have been a name inspired by a bird that flies over the Ana Borrego desert site for the R&D team.

But the story goes that none of these other names quite got to the point of what the Raptor name projects. This is a Ford pickup truck with almost zero competition. It eats up desert dunes and off-road trails with only rare difficulty.

The trouble was with Mosler, a “boutique” sports car manufacturer. That organization owned the rights to the Raptor name in the automotive industry. However, SVT and Ford must have financially finagled an agreement and the Ford F-150 Raptor was born.

Ford F-150 Raptor on display
Ford F-150 Raptor | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

3 years ago, Ford battled Jurassic Park

When the new Jurassic World movie came out a few years ago, Universal Studios allegedly sought rights to the Ford F-150 Raptor name. According to Drive Tribe, the movie production studio wanted the name ‘Raptor Squad’ for a new line of children’s toys. For obvious reasons, Universal Studios wanted to produce toy cars based on the raptor tamer and his team of well-organized raptors. I can imagine my sons would be into any toy based on riding through the forest with a pack of raptors, so it makes sense.

Ford didn’t like the idea of the names getting confused, though. They appealed against Universal Studios for the Raptor rights. Ford also has a line of toys and they didn’t want any confusion caused by the name crossover within the toy industry.

Are all Ford Raptors SVT?

The first generation Ford F-150 Raptor, which was in production from 2010 – 2014, was the SVT Ford Raptor. This first gen Raptor bore the Ford Special Vehicle Team (SVT) badging. Its characteristic V8 engine is larger than the Ford Performance Raptor of the second generation, which has a V6 engine. So, no. Not all Ford Raptors are SVT, though both versions of the truck are generally well-loved and respected.

2019 Ford F-150 Raptor
2019 Ford F-150 Raptor | Ford

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Bird or dinosaur?

“Birds are living dinosaurs, just as we are mammals,” said Julia Clarke, a paleontologist studying the evolution of flight and a professor with the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin.

Live Science

If you want to get technical, birds are the modern dinosaur––according to publications such as Live Science. So, you could say that the Ford F-150 Raptor pickup truck name comes just as much from the raptor dinosaurs like the ones we see in the Jurassic movies as from modern-day raptors such as an eagle or a falcon.

2018 Ford F-150 Raptor pickup truck in the snow
2018 Ford F-150 Raptor in the snow | Ford Performance

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So, though the Ford Condor would have also had a raptor namesake, it wouldn’t have quite the beastly and iconic connotation of the animal kingdom as just using the term ‘Raptor.’ When most people think raptors, they think of a dinosaur. What better to maneuver with ease through intense terrain than a prehistoric predator?