There is a battle going on in the bakkie market and not just the usual sales battle between the Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux. There is a performance battle about to really get under way too.

Over the years we have had the Nissan Navara V9X with its 190kW and now the Volkswagen Amarok V6 which later this year will also get 190kW. Mercedes now has its X-Class and later this year will add the potent X350d to the line-up.

Then there are those who want their bakkies to look like they have performance, the Ranger accessories brigade. Next year Ford will launch the Ranger Raptor to shame many of them, but the Raptor is not strictly a performance model, it is an off-road performer.

If you want real brute force then traditionally you have to look to the US, to models like the Dodge Ram and the Ford F-150 Raptor or Shelby F-150 although these can’t come to SA because they are left-hand drive only. Unless someone converts the Shelby to right-hand drive at a facility in Port Elizabeth, someone like Shelby SA for example.

The interior also gets the Shelby treatment. Picture: SHELBY SA
The interior also gets the Shelby treatment. Picture: SHELBY SA

The company has announced the legendary Shelby F-150 will be available in SA later this year at a starting price of — you might want to sit down — R2.5m.

For that you do get a very big pick-up truck. Don’t call it a bakkie, that is just demeaning. It is big enough that you need a Code 10 licence to drive it.

You also won’t get any support from Ford as they will be imported by Shelby SA which will offer a three-year/ 50,000km warranty.

There will be a number of derivatives available, but the range-topper will be powered by a 565kW Shelby-engineered, supercharged 5.0l V8.

"We are delighted to confirm the order book is open for a limited number of 565kW Shelby F-150 bakkies to satisfy the ultimate needs of South African bakkie owners," Shelby SA CEO Peter Lindenberg says.

Engine options will generate up to 565kW. Picture: SHELBY SA
Engine options will generate up to 565kW. Picture: SHELBY SA

"Based on the Ford F-150, the Shelby F-150 will be available in standard 565kW form or in exclusive Baja trim complete with a full Fox suspension system. This particular model has the all-new 3.5l V6 twin turbo motor. The bakkies will be converted to right-hand drive at Hi-tech Automotive, Shelby’s approved F-150 upgrade facility.

"We will only be building a limited number. Only 500 Shelby F150s will be built worldwide, with each one entered into the Shelby American Registry."

As well as the engine upgrades, the models will also benefit from styling accessories to give the F-150 the real Shelby look, not least of which will be the legendary badging and those full length racing stripes. There will also be various suspension options and BF Goodrich all-terrain tyres. Inside there will be a host of Shelby items, including a carbon fibre interior package and serial number dash plaque.

We can only imagine the scene on the streets in 2019 when a Ford Ranger wannabe stops next to a real Ranger before a Shelby F-150 pulls alongside. Popcorn anyone?