As a native born Kansan, I fully recognize how trucks can be a bigger status symbol than any luxury car. I’m also aware of the divide between Ford and Chevy owners, as my native born Kansan father engrained this upon me, having owned countless General Motors products throughout his life — and absolutely ZERO Fords. The thought of Ford ownership is unthinkable to him, and it’s probably why I don’t seek out many Fords myself. So when a very broken 2012 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor was offered to me, at a price well below the cheapest one advertised for sale in the nation, I was still hesitant.
The story the seller gave me about his Raptor ownership wasn’t too encouraging. He was a longtime viewer of my YouTube follies and wanted to trade his broken truck for my Hyundai Equus — since his truck refused to start after some hard off-roading on a Florida beach. He was willing to offer money in addition to the Raptor trade, and his opening offer was $6,000. This was enough to make me curious, as I only had $15,000 into my Equus — but since I had just bought a Jeep Gladiator, I wasn’t too motivated. The logistics of shipping a non-running Raptor 1,000 miles would be a challenge as well, but since I have no self-control, I countered at $8,000, hoping he wouldn’t accept.
Since the truck is here now, obviously he accepted my offer, and if you calculate the trade difference, I am the proud new owner of a 2012 Ford Raptor for only $7,000. On paper, this seemed like one of my most brilliant purchases of all-time, especially considering it has a clean title and Carfax report — and the cheapest 2012 Raptor currently advertised on Autotrader is $19,000. Still, since the truck wasn’t running after splashing around in salt water, I was worried I had just bought another disaster.
Based on browsing listings on Autotrader, it’s obvious these trucks hold their value insanely well — and it’s easy to see why. The Raptor was hatched in 2009 by lifting a standard F150 using a Baja racing-style suspension setup, and widening the body almost 7 inches to accommodate the massive tires — and massive suspension travel should owners decide to jump their 6,000-lb pickup. Owning a truck that could comfortably tackle the Baja 1000 proved to be a smash hit for Ford, and 2012 was a year of several upgrades to the Raptor, which included more available luxury features, an optional forward facing trail camera — and a limited slip front differential for even more off-road grip. Optional features on my Raptor included soiled and torn front seats, body damage — and of course, a non-running 411-horsepower 6.2-liter V8.
Strangely though, when the truck first arrived from Florida, it started right up! After a short drive around the parking lot though, it stalled and refused to restart for me. My mechanic, the Car Wizard, shares a similar aversion to Fords, but was able to quickly diagnose the issue as a bad fuel pump relay. Amazingly, a $20 relay was the only thing keeping this truck from driving down the road — but while the truck was sitting in his shop under the bright fluorescent lights, the Wizard noticed something else that was very strange.
Etched in the white paint of the truck bed, which was badly damaged from repeated scraping along tree branches, were the outlines of letters from old vinyl graphics. Though removed, the outline of these letters were still legible on the truck bed — and they spelled "Border Patrol." The Wizard and I investigated further and found more remnants of graphics that matched the pictures of Border Patrol vehicles we found on Google, as well as the outline of a serial number in the front fender. I was curious how this truck had, according to Carfax, accumulated over 150,000 miles without ever being registered — but now it was obvious. This Raptor was originally the property of the federal government, and a few service records in Texas indicate this truck’s off-road prowess was put to use patrolling our Southern border.
This Raptor’s previous life also explains why the rear doors do not open from the inside, and why there are dents in the ceiling of the headliner, almost like it once had a roll-bar. So if this truck could talk, it would certainly have some stories to tell — but in its current state, I imagine it’s screaming for help. After a few small fixes, I could dump this truck at auction for a massive profit, but considering the service this Raptor has given its country, I feel like it deserves more. We’ll see what my mechanic finds as we dig deeper, as there are undoubtedly more issues to deal with. Find a Ford F-150 for sale
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