Jeep to Produce Hercules, an F150 Raptor-killing Hemi Monster

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jk-forum.com Potential Jeep Gladiator Hercules Ford Raptor Fighter

Rumors from Jeep Gladiator Forum suggest it will be a 6.4-liter Hemi V8 version of the Gladiator with 475 HP and 470 lb-ft of grunt.

When the Ford F-150 Raptor came out, it was a rare breed of truck. It could go up and down slow off-road trails, but it truly shined when it tore through the desert at high speeds and jumped sand dunes. For a while, the Raptor was alone. It soon had company. Toyota released the Tacoma TRD Pro. Chevy came out with the Colorado ZR2. And now it seems as if Jeep wants to make the Raptor look a little less special.

According to Jeep Gladiator Forum‘s “insider sources,” Jeep is working on a high-performance version of the Gladiator pickup called “Hercules.” Jeep hasn’t green-lighted a production version yet, but it is building one-off prototypes to test. The folks at the forum created some renderings of how they imagine the Hercules could look. Aside from the missing turn signals, they seem right on with their blacked-out grille, hood scoop, lift, beadlock wheels, and meaty tires.

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The head of Jeep design himself, Mark Allen, drops a hint of a possible Raptor fighter in the following video from Autoline Network.

In response to host John McElroy’s question about how Jeep will protect itself from other manufacturers that are going to battle it for market share in the off-road vehicle segment, Allen says, “We’re known for a few good things off-road. You’ll see us expand into high-speed off-road. You’ll see us expand in other ways for Jeep. The truck is going to be a big help for us.”

Hmmm… High-speed off-road? Sounds as if the folks at Jeep have been paying a lot of attention to the blue oval’s beast. It only makes sense. Ford’s upcoming Bronco is going to be a direct attack against the Wrangler and an attempt to move in on its lucrative territory so the Gladiator Hercules would be Jeep’s way of doing the same thing to Ford and the Raptor.

There’s a problem, though. The Raptor has 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque. Even at its brawniest, the regular Gladiator will only get an EcoDiesel with 260 horsepower and 442 lb-ft. Motor Trend has an idea to remedy that gap and it may just work: stuff the 6.4-liter Hemi from the Durango SRT under the Hercules’s hood. It may not be a bespoke motor, but after Ford put its high-output 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 into the 2019 F-150 Limited, neither is the Raptor’s engine. The big Hemi is also a quick and cost-effective way of giving the Hercules 475 horses and 470 lb-ft of grunt.

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All of that is in the vapor right now, although we wouldn’t be surprised if Jeep brings a wild Hemi-engined concept previewing a potential Gladiator Hercules to this year’s Easter Jeep Safari. Until then, we’ll hope they do.

*Photos: Jeep Gladiator Forum

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Derek Shiekhi's father raised him on cars. As a boy, Derek accompanied his dad as he bought classics such as post-WWII GM trucks and early Ford Mustang convertibles.

After loving cars for years and getting a bachelor's degree in Business Management from Texas State University, Derek decided to get an associate degree in journalism from Austin Community College as well. His networking put him in contact with the editor of the Austin-American Statesman newspaper, who hired him to write freelance about automotive culture and events in Austin, Texas in 2013. One particular story led to him getting a certificate for learning the foundations of road racing.

While watching TV with his parents one fateful evening, he saw a commercial that changed his life. In it, Jeep touted the Wrangler as the Texas Auto Writers Association's "SUV of Texas." Derek knew he had to join the organization if he was going to advance as an automotive writer. He joined the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) in 2014 and was fortunate to meet several nice people who connected him to the representatives of several automakers and the people who could give him access to press vehicles (the first one he ever got the keys to was a Lexus LX 570). He's now a regular at TAWA's two main events: the Texas Auto Roundup in the spring and the Texas Truck Rodeo in the fall.

Over the past several years, Derek has learned how to drive off-road in various four-wheel-drive SUVs (he even camped out for two nights in a Land Rover), and driven around various tracks in hot hatches, muscle cars, and exotics. Several of his pieces, including his article about the 2015 Ford F-150 being crowned TAWA's 2014 "Truck of Texas" and his review of the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, have won awards in TAWA's annual Excellence in Craft Competition. Last year, his profile of Wagonmaster, a business that restores Jeep Wagoneers, won prizes in TAWA’s signature writing contest and its pickup- and SUV-focused Texas Truck Invitational.

In addition to writing for a variety of Internet Brands sites, including JK-Forum.com and Ford-Trucks.com, Derek also contributes to other outlets. He started There Will Be Cars on Instagram and Facebook to get even more automotive content out to fellow enthusiasts.

Derek can be contacted at [email protected]

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