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Ford not only has donated a unique version of its F-150 Raptor pickup to the Experimental Aircraft Association’s youth aviation programs, but in the process, the Ford Performance Team and design manager Melvin Betacourt have some ideas you might consider for souping up your own truck.

Each summer, the EAA stages its massive AirVenture program at Oshkosh, Wisconsin. In addition to air shows and other activities, the event includes the Gathering of Eagles fundraiser. Typically more than 1,000 people attend the event, held at the EAA Aviation Museum.

Annually since 2008, Ford has donated a modified Mustang to benefit the EAA’s youth programs. To date, auctioning of those vehicles has generated more than $3 million for programs that include introducing young people to flying and to potential careers in aviation.

This year, instead of a Mustang, the vehicle up for bidding on July 27 will be the “F-22” Raptor.

“As the F-150 Raptor is all-new for 2017, we saw an exciting opportunity to combine the best attributes of the world’s finest high-performance machines for air and ground,” a Ford spokesman said. “Our Ford Design team created the Ford F-22 Raptor F-150, a one-off Ford truck based on the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor fighter jet.”

Not only did the truck get a unique audio system as part of its interior modifications, but its suspension, wheels (the truck carries an extra pair of spares in its bed), brakes, lighting and appearance all received enhancements.

Hemmings Daily, a newsletter for car collectors, noted that while the standard production version of the Raptor gets 450 horsepower out of its twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine, the F-22 version reportedly delivers 545 horsepower, thanks in part to a Whipple Mega Cooler intercooler.

Ford said it would release more F-22 truck specifications before the bidding begins.

Last year, the “Old Yeller” Mustang, inspired by the famed P-51D Mustang aircraft of the same name, sold for $295,000 at the auction.

This year will be the second time the donated Ford vehicle was inspired by the F-22 Raptor jet fighter. In 2008, the Mustang AV8R, which sold for $500,000, also drew its design cues from the aircraft.

Other donated vehicles drew their inspiration from World War II aircraft, the SR-71 Blackbird, the Tuskegee Airmen, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, the F-35 Lightning, the Apollo spaceflight program and from the centennial of Naval aviation.

The EAA AirVenture, which annually draws some 500,000 people and 10,000 aircraft, is scheduled for July 23-30. For details, visit www.eaa.org.

Larry Edsall is a Phoenix-based freelance writer. You can reach him at ledsall@cox.net.

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