We start with some basic modification, and then our simple project quickly spirals into all of the cool things we want. Even professional builders in the off-road industry are not immune to this.
“We purchased the truck because we thought it would be something we could just drive and not need to modify. We were so wrong.” This explanation from Dallas Texas based Texas MotorWorx (TMX) co-owner Jason Cook is most likely familiar to many enthusiasts.
What started as a stock 2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor quickly morphed into the desert-devouring machine you see here. If you have any interest in seeing what happens when a couple of mechanical engineers purchase a vehicle with no intention to modify it, then read on.
Built Raptor Tough
The Ford F-150 SVT Raptor is a vehicle that needs no introduction to those in the off-road industry. With 35-inch tires, big V8 power, a mid-travel suspension, selectable locking rear differential, an optional limited-slip front differential, and a reputation for taking punishment in factory form, it is one heck of a starting point.
For TMX co-owners Jason Cook and Sam Bryce, that is all it ended up being, though; a starting point. Like many enthusiasts, leaving something stock is just not in their DNA. A rig can always be improved, tweaked, or otherwise modified to give it that extra element of performance. The question then becomes, how will this particular vehicle be used?
A rig built for rockcrawling has different needs than one that is built for fast desert racing or mud bogging. Some builds try to incorporate functional upgrades that allow a project to be good at as many terrains as possible, but this inherently limits the probability of a project to excel at any one specific terrain.
For this project, the intent was to give go-fast, big-jump, desert-destroying performance to an already pretty exceptional platform. Given that both Jason and Sam hold degrees in mechanical engineering, it comes as no surprise that they were able to put that education to good use in the creation of the vehicle pictured here.
TMX was co-founded by Jason Cook in a two-car garage in 2012, and Sam Bryce became co-owner in September 2014. Their collaboration has resulted in some pretty impressive rigs. As for the reason for the start of the business, Jason explained, “One night, I found myself hammering on the firewall of my $60,000 truck to make something work and in that moment I decided I needed to put some real time into developing parts specific for this application. This was 2011 and the Raptor was so new that there just wasn’t a lot of product support at that time.”
Their efforts paid off as TMX is now known for their groundbreaking work leading to the development of Raptor specific parts and partnerships with industry leaders. “Our early partnerships with the top companies industry helped when this market was just developing,” Jason said. “These partnerships is what allows us to provide our customers with exceptional value in our builds.”
After receiving several requests from friends to do modifications on their trucks, the business quickly grew from that two-car garage. This year, the company will be moving into a new 12,000 square-foot facility with all of the fabrication equipment needed to handle even the most complicated of builds.
At the 2015 SEMA Show, TMX met up with Gas Monkey Energy pro stock driver Alex Laughlin and started talking about the potential of Gas Monkey Energy. “Alex liked what we had going,” Jason said. “We provided exposure into the off-road market, both on the consumer and motorsports side.”
The comparably stock truck was then trailered to SVC Offroad in Southern California for the build. “We wanted to have the ability to really focus on what we were creating and have it be a surprise for our customers, as well as for our community,” Jason explained. “It wouldn’t have been possible for us to keep this kind of build hidden at our facility because we have so many people coming and going all the time.”
“We also wanted to go to the off-road Mecca,” Jason continued. “Many 18-hour days later, we had a powered, rolling chassis that we were happy with and brought it back to Texas for final prep, paint, and assembly. While in California, we gained tremendous amounts of knowledge and expertise from respected people and companies in the industry like SVC Offroad, Raceco, and Allen Motorsports. Ten months and many meetings later, we dropped the truck at wrap with a general idea of what it might look like. This is just the start of a long-term partnership.”
Taking The Truck Out
The truck was first debuted without the wrap at Texas Raptor Run (TRR) in April 2016 at the Beal Ranch. After completing just one lap around the track, it was determined that the Ford factory frame was not strong enough for what the rest of the truck was capable of.
While their fun was ended a little too early that day, the bright side was that the rear setup performed flawlessly. After some reinforcement to the front of the frame, the new and improved truck was taken to TRR’s Raptoberfest for an additional shakedown and to debut the wrap. As with any project, the build continues – a full cage is in the works and if the past is any indication, the work will continue indefinitely.
The truck certainly turned heads at Raptoberfest, where we had the chance to spend some time with it. It was cited by many at the event as a prime example of what TMX is capable of. Also noted by many was the build quality and the proven products used to create whoops of joy during customer ridealongs and even bigger air when being driven by Jason Cook. Suffice to say, this is one owner who is not afraid to push the capability and durability of his builds.
TMX is able to accommodate all builds from mild to wild. TMX reports that up next is a Raptor prerunner and a 6100 Class truck competing in Best in the Desert. For additional info on recent customer builds, or to see what TMX can do for you, visit their website.