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