For those lamenting the disappearance of the Ford Raptor and who can’t wait until the new one arrives for 2017, fear not. Shelby Performance, the company that’s spent the past five decades building some of the most insane performance cars the world has ever known, has turned its attention off-road and onto the late-model Raptor. The result is the Baja 700, and it’s the closest thing to an all-terrain supercar since Lamborghini built the LM002 nearly 30 years ago.
Shelby has never been known for subtlety, and claiming to “call the Shelby Baja 700 a ‘Raptor’ is like calling the SR-71 a jet” is a lofty claim indeed. The stock Raptor became an instant icon by offering bona-fide off-roading performance straight from the factory.
Based on the F-150, the Raptor came stock with 17-inch bead-lock capable wheels, a long-travel suspension engineered for brutal terrain, Fox Racing shock absorbers, and an available 411-horsepower, 6.2-liter V8 engine. But if anyone can make such an audacious claim, it’s Shelby. From the iconic Shelby Cobra to the new GT350R Mustang, the company knows a thing or two about making Fords faster, and with the Baja 700, it’s proven that it knows how to take performance off-road, too.
The Raptor’s big V8 won’t return for the 2017 model, but Shelby knows V8s better than most, and it’s wrung an insane amount of power out of the old iron lump. With the addition of a Whipple supercharger, a new throttle body, fuel injectors, heat exchanger, and exhaust, power jumps to an even 700 horsepower — 100 more than Ford’s upcoming GT supercar. To keep that power going to all four wheels in any terrain, Shelby added a competition-focused suspension designed by Rogue Racing, as well as larger 18-inch wheels clad in ultra-rugged BFGoodrich tires.
Like any Shelby, the Baja 700 has plenty of visual evidence to let everyone else know the truck isn’t your average Raptor. Besides the iconic “Shelby” rocker panel stripe and a host of Shelby badges all around, the truck has a redesigned front bumper and heavy-duty skid plate to protect all the new go-fast modifications. Twin 40-inch LED lights are optional, as are electric side steps for easier entry and exit, in addition to larger headers so that people can hear you even when you’re miles from the nearest town.
Inside, the interior is upgraded with two-tone leather seats with more Shelby badging and floor mats, and added gauges to keep a better eye on the big V8’s performance. Unsurprisingly, all these modifications don’t come cheap. Shelby asks for $45,000 plus a clean 2011-2014 Raptor before it can deliver a Baja 700 to customers. As a well-optioned Raptor could easily creep above the $50,000 mark, it may seem like a steep price to pay, but for a 700-horsepower go-anywhere supercar, $100,000 begins to seem like a relative bargain. And since production is limited to only 50 trucks, a Baja 700 should more than hold its value for owners should any of them be crazy enough not to take their trucks off-road.
Even with an ultra-limited production run and prohibitive price, the Baja 700 should be more than enough to tide over some of the more rabid Raptor fans until the new truck arrives. Performance figures aren’t available yet, but with all that power available on any terrain, the Baja 700 could easily become the fastest production pickup truck in the world.
Despite relatively tepid efforts by other truck makers, the on-hiatus Raptor is still the only show in town when it comes to factory-ready off-roading, and the Baja 700 only shows the near-limitless performance potential the late-model truck had. If the 2017 Raptor is half as good as Ford claims it will be, then we can’t wait to see what Shelby can do once it gets its hands on one. As horsepower continues to climb and get cheaper, could a Baja 1000 be just around the corner?