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Texas supercar maker transforms Ford pickup into roomy SUV

Texas auto tuner Hennessey Performance Engineering, the company that supercharges anything with four wheels, has revealed its latest project: a modified Ford F-150 SVT Raptor truck.

The company has taken the F-150, a pickup truck that's been the bestselling vehicle in the U.S. for decades, and transformed it into a roomy SUV with seating for up to eight people.

The truck, dubbed VelociRaptor, doesn’t get the usual Hennessey power overhaul (although there is a supercharged upgrade available), instead all of the factory Ford truck components and systems are kept intact.

PHOTOS: Hennessey Performance Engineering's custom VelociRaptor

The same 6.2-liter leviathan engine produces 411 horsepower and 434 pound-feet of torque and is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission with a tow mode and manual shifting.

While the vehicle's weight is increased by approximately 600 pounds, the VelociRaptor can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds, Hennessey says. With the supercharged upgrade, power is bumped to 600 horsepower with the 0-60 time at 5.9 seconds.

Other optional upgrades include: Brembo front brake upgrade, larger wheels and tires, LED lighting upgrades, bespoke interior and electronic upgrades.

The VelociRaptor SUV base price is $149,500 and production is going to be limited to just 30 units per year.

Unlike the stock Raptor -- which is chock full of goodies such as an electronic locking rear differential for added traction, a hill descent control system and an electronic four-wheel-drive system -- the Raptor isn’t an off-road beast.

“Don’t plan on pre-running Baja or negotiating Rubicon with our SUV -- that is not why we built it,” company founder John Hennessey said. “But, if you’re looking for the ultimate vehicle to drive from Aspen to Telluride [Colo.] in January, the VelociRaptor SUV would be perfect.”

Hennessey has been in business in Texas since 1991. Last year, the company expanded its business to Southern California when it added a new facility in Lake Forest.

The company also makes the $1.25-million Venom GT supercar, which will debut in late 2013 and packs a 7.0-liter twin turbo V-8 engine producing up to 1,500 horsepower.

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