A beefed up Ford Bronco Raptor prototype has been spotted on public roads wearing a piece of camouflage labeled "Warthog," our spies tell us. It certainly seems a bit odd for something so blatantly labeled to show up on a road-going test vehicle, but hey, stranger things have happened.
The photographic evidence is pretty clear. This cover piece is part of the prototype's left rear fender lining, and is quite plainly labeled "Warthog Shock Cover" in what appears to be white grease pen. The "LH" label on the liner above it would likely stand for "left hand," referring to its position on the car.
Even tucked into the wheel well the way it is, this seems an oddly conspicuous (and thus likely deliberate) placement. Whether the goal was to "leak" the Bronco Raptor's true identity or to throw us off the scent on a slow Friday is anybody's guess, but given what we've heard so far, we're inclined to believe that Ford intends to use the "Warthog" nameplate for its 'roided-out Bronco.
Ford is quite proud of its not-so-secret Bronco Raptor project, and the company has even gone so far as to share its own photos of the prototype undergoing some rather enthusiastic testing. Thanks to a trademark filing spotted by Motor Trend and others, we know that Ford has applied for the name "Warthog" for use on "... land motor vehicles, namely, passenger automobiles, pick-up trucks, sport utility vehicles."
Even if it's fake, it's fun to entertain the notion that Ford's product developers have their finger on the pulse of enthusiast speculation, and by extension, expectations.