2012 Ford F-150 Raptor SVT - Sasquatch Found!
How Jack Link's Beef Jerky Feeds the Wild Side of Work Trucks
What does a meat-snack company have to do with working pickups? More than you might think.
First, a bit of background: Jack Link's Beef Jerky is well known for its line of 100 different meat-snack products offered in 40 different countries. Founded by Jack's great-grandfather, Chris, back in the 1880s in the north woods of Wisconsin, the company is also known for its Bigfoot mascot that's a media celebrity of sorts, a badass character with a voracious appetite.
So when it came time to create a spicy promo vehicle using a 2012 Ford F-150 Raptor SVT, it only made sense to go with a company not only known for its rugged, off-road upgrades, but also for building a number of celebrity vehicles: Addictive Desert Designs (ADD). This firm has developed a Jeep for the TV show Duck Dynasty, plus rigs for rock stars, and Bret Michaels' Bigfoot-hunting RV.
ADD has obviously come a long way since it started out in Jared Hare's family garage as R&H Longtravel. He began by building suspension kits for Ford, Dodge, and Chevy. It soon became apparent, though, that there was a need for something more than the traditional prerunner-style bumpers available at the time. So he decided to head in an alternate direction—and that made an enormous difference.
By 2008, bumper sales outpaced suspension sales, and thus Addictive Desert Designs was born, headquartered out of a small shop in Apache Junction, Arizona. Initially, things were going pretty well, but it really turned a corner when the Ford Raptor suddenly took off. ADD soon established itself as a significant force in the industry, being the first to market with a full line of Raptor products, which are now built in an enormous facility located in Mesa, Arizona.
Jack Link's son Troy was already familiar with ADD's bumpers and racks, having used them on the buildup of a couple of Ford Raptors. In 2012, ADD's Jared Hare met with Jack Link's Tim Smith, who hauls a trailer full of meat sticks and swag around the country to all sorts of public events. After some discussion about customizing the look of the truck, they put the whole rig together in a couple of months.
How does it differ from ADD's standard offerings? And what makes it of interest to work truck owners? Overall, it combines both promotional and practical aspects in one sensational pickup. In addition to the body being wrapped with with eye-catching chrome-foil logos (which clearly draws attention to any business enterprise), custom-cut logos were added to the chase rack. Typically, ADD employs Rigid Industries LEDs, but Jack Link wanted a more old-school look, electing to use 10 of KC HiLites' round lamps instead. And custom mounts were needed for the audio speakers.
Besides these tailored features, ADD's standard, off-the-shelf items looked just fine as is. They include the company's most popular Stealth line of front and rear bumpers, and its Venom Side Steps. While these give the Raptor an even tougher image, they have some definite advantages for work applications.
"A lot of ranchers like our bumpers for pushing cattle around," Hare jokes. In other words, they protect a pickup from all sorts of stuff you might encounter on a job site.
Other practical upgrades on this hairy-looking beast include a 12,500-pound winch for hauling out all kinds of crud, and a Stainless Works cat-back exhaust system for extra grunt to get up a grade. And for more bite in the dirt, the Fuel Throttle Wheels with ADD rings are wrapped with 35x12.50R20 Toyo Open Country M/T rubber.
Getting back to why the Link father-and-son team chose ADD, Hare notes, "We're 100 percent made in the U.S. Our bumpers are designed, developed, cut, bent, and welded here." He feels keeping the whole operation stateside ensures a high level of quality control and helps the company stay close to the market. Even though new bumper designs come out on a quarterly basis, ADD's proven Stealth Bumper is still its top seller, available for all domestic vehicles, along with Toyota and Nissan pickups as well. "People really take notice of our new Race and Venom designs," Hare points out, "but the majority of our customers end up buying the tried-and-true Stealth when they see it in person."
There's more to ADD than bumpers, though. Its bumpstops are designed for handling heavy loads on tough terrain, especially for the Raptor. "It's a must-have for Raptor owners," Hare explains. "We've seen some frame sagging after hard use, due to the speed of the rear axle motion. Our bumpstop manages that motion."
While the bumpstop's shock is a Fox unit with ADD's custom valving, Hare explains that what makes it different from others on the market is the extra bracing, both transversely and front-to-back within the frame, so it's tied into all four corners. In addition, it's carefully configured to make contact in exactly the right place with a good plant, so there are no glancing impacts on the frame. It's also designed so wheel travel isn't limited, and progressive resistance minimizes kickback.
Besides ADD's industrial-grade items, such as chase racks, sidesteps, and auxiliary lights made by Rigid Industries, the company just introduced special-edition Shelby and Roush Raptors outfitted with ADD components. There's also a new Race Series "R" line for the Ford Raptor and F-150, as well as a brand-new Super Duty line.
In keeping with these racey rigs, ADD supports the off-road scene with displays at events such as King of the Hammers, Off Road Expo, Raptor Roundup, Raptor Nationals, Baja 1000, Easter Jeep Safari, Tierra Del Sol, FJ Summit, Texas Raptor Run, Sno-Ball Rally, and many more.
As for the future, ADD plans to diversify even more. Seeing how heading off the beaten path has really paid off for ADD, you can expect to see even more innovations to keep feeding the wild side of work truck owners.