We try and get off-road every chance we get. On any given day you can find us getting dirty. We may be out on a trail or completing repairs in the driveway. Sometimes we may just be inside trying to find the next great wheeling destination. It was recently on one of those off-road days that we ran into Robert Bock and his first-generation Ford Raptor.
Robert is an American patriot that loves to work hard and play hard. Robert puts in long days working in the aircraft industry and when he gets the chance to let loose it’s a sight to see. In his world, the reality is that any mistake can have serious consequences. Thus he pushes himself every day to get just a little bit better. It shows in his ride as well as his driving style.
While spending some time at a recent Texas Raptor Runs event we had the chance to catch up with Robert. There we learned a bit more about why he has taken the time to build his rig. Robert explained, “In all honesty when I first got the Raptor I was actually in the market for a 2014 Camaro ZL1.”
It was his wife that stepped into that process and changed the trajectory of his search. Robert told us that, “My beautiful wife started sending me pictures and links to the Ford Raptor. I never knew about the truck until she showed it to me. Then, I got connected with the Houston Area Raptor Owners group on Facebook and we have been like family ever since. I am a Chevy guy deep down. Sorry, Ford.” Robert isn’t the first to admit that Chevy is a favorite. However, without viable alternatives in the marketplace customers will always buy what’s available.
Don’t Keep Me In Suspense
The Ford Raptor is great out of the box. In fact, anyone that has created a bucket list for off-road capable vehicles since 2010 has a Raptor listed. But even with as good as it is there is always room for improvement. Robert understands this and so he greatly modified his own truck. The front suspension of the Raptor has been beefed up with larger diameter Icon three-inch shocks. These upgraded shocks get put through their paces every event Robert attends, and they are built for the task. Robert’s wife feels some kind of way about Robert’s driving for good reason. This is not a guy that is afraid of the skinny pedal.
In the rear Icon, three-inch diameter RXT shocks once again got the nod to soak up the bumps. Rear Deaver leaf springs with an additional three inches of lift keep things level and rocking. An Icon rear bump stop kit relocates the bumps outboard of the frame. This is an important upgrade for any Raptor owner that runs the truck hard. The stock rear bump setup has been the cause of more than a couple of bent frames during severe abuse. The Icon relocation kit solves that issue for good.
The suspension set up is tried and true for these trucks and is as bulletproof as it gets. While a significantly higher level of modification could improve performance no plans are in place to make those changes. The set up works fantastic for what Robert does with the truck. In addition to being a performer, the build also maintains a high level of reliability while doing it.
Light It Up
Robert has spent a lot of time and effort in choosing the right parts to update his ride. Just as importantly he has done most of the work himself. Robert stated, “my friend Johnathan Killebrew and I have done almost all of the modifications.” It is a source of pride for him and is just as important to many of our readers. The outsourced work includes dyno tuning by Jason Herrera with St00pidfast out of Houston and the Rouge rear tire carrier. Kyle Zitterich from The Rust Lab modified it to Robert’s specification.
The front of the truck features a Miller Off-road Design front bumper with ten Baja Design Squadron Pro lights. Additional Baja Design XL Racer edition A-pillar lights help to turn the night into day.
Under The Hood
Behind the front grill of the truck resides the original 6.2-liter power plant. It has been fitted with a Roush stage 2 blower. The blower is backed with an AFCO heat exchanger and Stainless Works headers and exhaust. While all of that power is great it doesn’t amount to a hill of beans if you can’t drive. Keeping that in mind Robert did one last big modification that may be the most important one he made. He invested in his own knowledge and skills by attending one of the Rally Ready 1 day driving classes. He learned so much about driving the truck that he plans on attending another in the future.
Having a sweet truck doesn’t mean that the hard work is over. Robert admitted, “There are a few days worth of preparation that goes into every event. I pack enough food and soda for a few days every time I go to an event. There is also the truck prep. I usually spend a few hours looking it over before I go run. Then there are another few hours after an event looking it over. Sometimes I spend months cleaning on it if it rains at a Texas Raptor Run event!”
Once the preparation is complete it’s time to head out and tear up some dirt. Robert admits that “I have met some folks at events and the Rally Ready Ranch that I now consider family. Running the trucks brings everyone together. The conversation and socializing in camp is one of the big things.” If we had a nickel for every time we talked about the sense of community at the same time we talked about a build we would be rich. Community is important no matter who you are or what your passions are. The only thing more important than a strong community is family.
A Family Affair
Robert works as hard as he does for more than just a sense of purpose or patriotism. He works hard to provide for his family and allows for some fun time. Robert said, “My son comes to the runs whenever he can get away from work. My wife will not ride in the truck. It scares her and is hard on her body. That doesn’t stop her from always helping in the purchase of things. She is also available if I need another set of hands and is always willing to help.” That speaks volumes to the level of support and strength in their relationships.
Robert is not just about all work and no play. In fact, he has his own brand of humor that he spreads throughout the Raptor community. Robert revealed that “The rough translation of my last name, is a buck, or male goat. It’s kind of evolved in the Raptor groups. I had stickers made and I have even had a couple of buttons made. Now, I just sneak around and attach stickers on folks’ trucks.”
Robert admitted with a smile, “I got yours too.” We haven’t found it yet. Robert continued, “I got SVC‘s trophy truck at a Texas Raptor Run event. I have even gotten the Ford performance truck. The tractor at the Rally Ready ranch even has one on it. I have gotten so many I have lost count. The actual design of the sticker is from a friend named David Puente design. I have even tagged bikes for the Fort Worth bike share. I do it because while in the Navy, tagging other squadrons with your squadron logo was a big deal. Well, doing it and not getting caught!”
Next On The List
The future holds a few changes for this family. Not only will the truck soon get some love but also the family will remain a constant top priority moving forward. Robert explained that “I have struggled with overdriving the suspension on my truck. However, I just have other priorities on the table. We are saving for a Vorsheer teardrop trailer. We try and take a trip once a year. We’ve visited Big Bend National Park, Big Bend State Park, and we did the Lincoln National Park in New Mexico as well.”
All of that doesn’t mean that the truck will always be on the back burner. In fact, the Raptor will be heading in to be Kevlar lined this December. Robert and the family haven’t selected a color just yet. We love to see people that are passionate about the hobby. The only thing better is coming across people that value hard work and family. Cheers to Robert and his crew. See you on the trails.