The free market is a strange beast. Adam Smith famously theorized that a market based economy was guided by an “invisible hand” in his magnum opus The Wealth of Nations. If that is the case, did the five fingered appendage actually appear in corporeal form to encourage the employees at Hennessey to fill the niche left by the Excursion almost ten years ago?
As crazy as splicing a Super Duty sounds, its been done before. I talked about Centurion Vehicles noble effort to fill a hole in the market some time ago. In some ways its comforting to see the dream live on. Its also puzzling. Either way, I’m impressed with their ambition and desire to keep the legend of the Centurion alive, even if they they don’t acknowledge that their project has a direct predecessor.
How is a modern-day Excursion put together? Pretty much the same way it was done twenty years ago, only the rear passenger area comes from the bones of an old Excursion instead of a Bronco. According to their website, Hennessey takes a base F-250 Lariat 4×4 (MSRP: $47,635 for the 4×4 with the 6 3/4′ box) to use for their Frankenstein-like creations. Now “base” F-250 seems to indicate that a Supercab model is used, with the half doors jettisoned and the rear partition cut to allow room for the Excursion parts on what I assume is the 6 3/4′ bed. According to how you order it, you can get a second row with or without captains chairs, the latter option giving you seating for eight.
Aside from some other options like LED lighting, a winch, tire, wheel, and bumper upgrades, you have the option of several engine choices. You can keep the stock 6.2 V8 gasoline engine or have it supercharged. Or you can opt for the Powerstroke 6.7 diesel V8, which puts out a healthy 440 horsepower and 880 Ibs torque. If my money was on the line, I would most certainly go for the diesel. I mean, if you’re going to spend $160,000 for one of things, why not go for the rip roaring oil burner?
Wait a second, ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY THOUSAND DOLLARS!?
That price is insane, and the only reason I can imagine it costs that much is due to the amount of labor associated with creating such a beast.
To put this in perspective, if you assume that the Centurion model reviewed here was a 1993 model, that fully loaded price of $41,502.00 translates to $68,300.23 in 2015 dollars. That means Hennessey wants to charge you more than double what it cost to do a similar job twenty years before. Of course, its possible the VelociRaptor SUV uses higher quality construction methods than the Centurion vehicles that came before, so I don’t want to throw Hennessey down the river here. Instead, lets compare it to the two American body-on-frame SUV’s it ostensibly competes against.
A brand new, 2015 Expedition EL XLT with the 202A Equipment group retails for about $55,280. This configuration is necessary to match the standard equipment in the base F-250 Lariat Hennessey purchases for their SUV, which includes leather seating and the MyFordTouch infotainment system, but lacks the heated and cooled leather seats that come standard in the Expedition. You can almost buy three of these for the price of one VelociRaptor.
Since the Suburban 2500 does not exist anymore, we only have the 1500 to evaluate, which works out well since its the direct competitor to the Expedition. As far as I can tell, an LT 4WD model with the Max Trailering Package and Chevy MyLink with Navigation is the closest match to the Ford. The price comes out to $59,545, a hefty sum over the Ford, but again, you could buy another identical Suburban and one lesser-equipped model to reach the $160,000 price of the Hennessey.
What is the Super Duty+Excursion getting you over the Expedition and Suburban? In pure dimensions, about 232.4″ total length, compared to 226.7″ for a regular Excursion, although its possible Hennessey alters the wheelbase when building them. The current Expedition comes out at 220.8″ and the Chevy measures in at exactly 224 inches, which means that you are getting a bit more interior space in the VelociRaptor.
Towing and performance also favor the VelociRaptor. Ford’s Ecoboost V6 is rated at 365 HP and 420 Ibs. of torque, which enables the Expedition EL to tow a maximum 9100 Ibs. Similarly, the Suburban gets its juice from the 5.3 Ecotec V8, which puts out 355 HP and 383 Ibs of torque and gives the Chevy an 8,000 Ibs. towing capacity. Neither of these can match the minimum capability of the Super Duty, which comes at 12,400 pounds and goes up to 14,000 if you opt for the diesel option.
So you’ve got more interior space and better towing capability, and it only cost you about $90,000 extra to get those things when compared to the Expedition or Suburban. Success? No, not really. There is no value equation here.
There is star power. Just look at what you see above. The average CEO or individual with $160,000 to spend on a vehicle isn’t going to buy one of these over something like an Audi R8. Miley Cyrus however, could do such a thing. Or the average NFL player. The presence of either the previous or current VelociRaptor screams exclusivity and no doubt turns heads wherever they go. It is the ultimate status symbol-mobile, even more so than the Excursion was ten years ago. Which means the VelociRaptor doesn’t exactly carry on the legacy of the Centurion conversions due to its price, but it also means the dream hasn’t died. And for that, I tip my hat to the folks at Hennessey Performance for making a vehicle that comes pretty close to being a one of a kind.
CC Outtake: Ford Econoline Tow Rig
Cohort Sighting: Centurion Chevy Double Cab Pickup
” The average CEO or individual with $160,000 to spend on a vehicle isn’t going to buy one of these over something like an Audi R8…”
But there, you have it. The AVERAGE one won’t.
The one who wants exclusivity, who doesn’t want to be like the average Joe CEO or Just Another Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon or Shyster Ambulance-Chasing Philadelphia Lawyer, is the market for these.
Plebeian pretenders whose other choices might be a top-line BMW, Mercedes or Lexus need not apply. Wallow among those other peasants of your own kind, down there!
Before I read the article, I jumped to the conclusion that the company is rebuilding/improving old Excursions, much as companies are doing this on old Grand Wagoneers and a few others. But to use the back of an old Excursion to complete a new ultra-Excursion is fascinating. These powertrains are all that was ever lacking from the old Excursion, IMHO.
I love the fact that my 79 continental is still longer lol. And while it wouldn’t be the first car in its price class I’d get if I had 169K, I still think one of these with a chipped 6.7 would be pretty cool. It looks great.
Texas, ladies and gentlemen!
The Raptor-based one in the video is incredible. 600 HP, 0-60 in under 6 seconds. And looks 10x better than a Suburban or Expedition.
Tropical Cabines has been cranking out custom permutations of US pickup based SUVs, Sedans and limos for decades, for the apparently very niched Brazilian market. You can get a SWB (pictured), normal or stretched “Excursion”, a Ram 2500 “Excursion” etc.
Ram 2500 SUV
Wow! Cummins powered too.
There was a US company doing crew cab and SUV conversions on 2nd gen Dodge Ram pickups, but they got out of it about the same time that the Ram Megacab pickup was introduced (2006). It was Bayer Truck in Minnesota. I believe they made molds to manufacture the rear doors from fiberglass. Here are a couple of their SUVs:
Nice, never heard of these. I forget the name of the company, it looks like a different build than the one you pictured, but the “Rainbow Sheik” (rose to fame in the 80’s for his multicolored fleet of 500SELs, I believe) had some of these Ram “Suburbans” built after the 94 Rams came out. I’m pretty sure his used roofs and rear door pieces off of an actual Suburban, the ones you posted look all custom. Very cool
DUDE! That ram is sweet. I remember seeing a 2 door Ramcharger fabbed from a ’94-’01 2wd Ram, done by Centurion. It was sweet, and I never could figure out why Dodge didn’t keep the RC going. The 2 door Blazer/Tahoe was still a strong seller as was the Bronco.
Dodge actually ended up making Ramchargers of that generation from the factory, but only for Mexico.
I’ve known about the third-gen south-of-the-border RC for a while, but I still like to see it again. I don’t know what was more baffling: The fact that it was 2WD only, or that the liftgate was robbed off a Grand Caravan.
The Caravan hatch always bothered me to no end, especially since I’ve always disliked the 1st Gen Durango’s for looking too much like a Caravan from the rear, then they go and use the actual van hatch for the RC.
F250 “Sedan” with 1st Gen Focus trunk lid
Aside from the trunklid, it reminds me of a Honda Ridgeline from the side.
My OCD just can’t get over the chrome/painted bumper mismatch on the profile shot to even deal with the Franken-proportions…
“It’s the luxury car that rides like a truck!”
Think of it as a really, really expensive AMC Eagle.
Pulling up behind that thing would certainly cause me to question my sanity. And then, after a minute to get my bearings, the owner’s.
Wow, this is just Ford and Dodge getting all Isle of Moreau with their parts bin.
Geez that’s expensive. Not likely I’ll ever see one of these parked at the curb.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but compared to an F-250 crewcab pickup with a cap over the box, isn’t the only significant difference the third row of seats in the Velociraptor?
I think so. My biggest problem with the Velociraptor is that for as expensive as it is, it really doesn’t look that good. It looks like they simply bondo-ed a camper shell into place. The windows don’t line up at the top or bottom, and the angles of the C & D pillars don’t match up to the window either. It looks like they used the Excursions “wagon” side windows instead of custom making something that fits better.
The still photos of the black truck look good – the C pillar isn’t weirdly thick, and the bottoms of the windows all line up as they should.
The video of the white truck looks crappy, as you said.
Hmm. I wonder which version they’re selling.
I was referring to the white one, the black one in the renderings looks fine, just like a beefed up Excursion.
Apparently they both are both just referred to as the VelociRaptor SUV by Hennessey. The white one is a 1st gen 2014-15 model, and the black one on top appears to be a Gen 2 “VelociRaptor SUV”, and only renderings at this point.
I can only find photos of a couple of the F-150 Raptor based Gen 1’s online, so I assume their awkward design limited the take rate as much as the cost, and probably played into Hennessey’s decision to stop with the customized F150 base and to just update an OEM design.
Why they ever went through the trouble of making custom bodywork that looked so disproportionate when Ford already makes an F150 SUV, the Expedition, is beyond me…
It’s heated, cooled, 100% watertight, and accessible to the cab. Anybody who has taken road trips with 5 people in a pickup can attest to the appeal of that. And of course, the 3rd row of seats is a big deal. If you need them, you need them.
I do get a kick out of the video though the way he promotes the insane power and off-road suspension as a practical thing for families.
No matter how extravagant such vehicles may be, remember that someone might make a living building these for people who want them. Hence the folly of luxury taxes; it’s not the rich who suffer.
That F-250/Focus hybrid is a strange thing to look at from any angle. There’s almost no point to it, they’ve made the whole thing redundant by completely removing any storage capabilities.
Yes, it is strange, but it does have some practicality. It will still tow a lot, it has a usable trunk, and the short length would make it better off road and a lot easier to drive.
Not for everyone, sure, but also perhaps not as silly as it looks.
I know sedans in general are very popular in Brazil, lots of subcompacts that are only offered as hatches in other markets make it to Brazil as tiny, disproportionate sedans.
Not sure if it’s a security concern or what, but I’d assume whatever is driving that need creates some of the market for these “sedan trucks”
Custom Autos by Tim will make you a prettier one. Cheaper too
Click for awesomeness!
I would think a Lariat Ford would be more comparable to an LTZ Suburban, which can push $70K. But then again, you can get leather in an LT (which I thought was comparable to a Ford XLT).
Or you could … you know, buy a low mileage optioned out diesel Excursion used and swap the front end for a modern one because thanks to the current Super Duty generation being so long running it still bolts right up. Price? Less than $30,000 if you do well.