If I were a smart man, who didn’t get overly attached to large inanimate objects that harness the power of tiny explosions to propel humans across vast distances, I would probably be a wealthy magnate running a large company. Instead, I make silly YouTube videos about cars, and in the case of my latest purchase, a 2012 Ford F150 SVT Raptor, I could make a lot of money if I sold this popular pickup truck in its current state. Unfortunately, I’m a moron that thinks this retired Border Patrol beater deserves a second chance at life — and it’s going to be expensive.
So far, this Raptor has cost me only $7000 to purchase, along with $1000 to ship it from Florida to Kansas, and a $20 fuel pump relay to get it running. This certainly made it the cheapest running and driving Raptor in the USA by a wide margin, and it even has a clean title and history report! Unfortunately, though, its six years spent patrolling the Southern border subjected it to the harshest treatment imaginable — and it bears the scars from many encounters with hard objects. After I posted my first video, a man named Shaun, who said he was a former Border Patrol agent, gave me a snapshot of this Ford’s former life, stating:
“What I can tell you about your Raptor is that it has been put through its paces … You mentioned all the desert pinstriping and you also showed photos of the water fording and the bed full of dope. That was just another day at the office. I can also guarantee that the truck has been in countless vehicle pursuits (on road and off), jumped, and maxed out to the top speed, probably on a weekly basis. Usually these trucks would only rest for 12 hours between shifts and then hit the road again for more action.”
Despite his knowledge of the extreme abuse these vehicles are subjected to, Shaun offered to buy the truck as a memento from his Border Patrol days. Several others have sent emails with similar interest in purchasing, including Rob, one of our editors here on Oversteer — so clearly, I’m not the only one that’s attracted to this beaten-down Raptor. In my case, though, it’s a financially fatal attraction, as I let my mechanic, the Car Wizard, do his full mechanical assessment.
One of the benefits of buying a former government vehicle is knowing that it was most likely maintained with an open checkbook. Whether that cancels out the fact that my Raptor probably sat idling for several hours a day in between off-road pursuits is debatable — but from a fluid perspective, this Raptor’s drivetrain was totally leak free. Other than the airbag warning light from the seat upgrade that’s in progress, there are no warning lights, and no current maintenance needs. My mechanic, the Car Wizard, and I aren’t Ford fans normally — but we couldn’t help but be impressed by how well this truck had held together.
Of course, there are a few issues, some of which are expensive. The biggest problem, a failing transfer case, I knew about before purchasing. The Car Wizard also found some destroyed front differential mounts and tie rod ends. Combined with the chewed tires, a missing full-size spare, a cracked windshield and other small needs, the total repair estimate topped $3500!
Considering I bought a mystery box of a Raptor that I was told didn’t run, it could have been much worse — but since it drove so well, and looked so solid underneath, I was surprised by the large final tally. The Car Wizard will have to wait to collect his next yacht payment, though, as there are a few other things I want done first. This Raptor needs to have green stripes again, and have a VERY deep cleaning. I might be the first person to ever task himself with the restoration of a Border Patrol vehicle. I imagine the first person ever to eat Tide Pods thought he was pretty clever too … Find a Ford F-150 for sale