What is it?
Mil-Spec Automotive is sort of like the East Coast Defender, but for Humvees — transforming utilitarian off-roaders into exquisite luxury rest-mods (ironically, in this case, by removing most of the mil-spec plastic). The F-150 by Mil-Spec is their modified desert-runner version of the Ford F-150 pickup, which you can order through partner dealerships.
Is it new?
Yes. Mil-Spec has begun offering its F-150 package for the 2020 model year. It’s their first take on a more mainstream and emissions-friendly vehicle.
Why is it special?
The F-150 by Mil-Spec is for the truck buyer who feels the Ford F-150 Raptor is not extreme enough. Mil-Spec’s version uses a 500-horsepower V8 engine; it features even more aggressive styling, plus a Baja-tuned suspension. It can also still be your tow rig, with a rating for up to 10,900 pounds. The F-150 by Mil-Spec is not for every F-150 buyer...but even a small niche of F-150 buyers is still a lot of customers.
How does it drive?
I had the Mil-Spec Ford for 24 hours, and I live in southeastern Michigan. Heading somewhere desert-like to see out what the F-150 Mil-Spec can do off-road was not an option. Still, while my tester’s Baja suspension was complete overkill for the pockmarked Detroit highways, I can still offer some everyday driving perspective.
The first thing drivers will notice with the Mil-Spec F-150 is its sheer size. It is 93.4 inches wide with the mirrors folded — 7.1 inches wider than the Raptor and 13.5 inches wider than the stock F-150. You’re also riding high on 37-inch tires, with 13 inches of ground clearance. You spend a lot of time cringing as you drive under highway overpasses, and the best advice I have for parallel parking is “don’t.”
The second thing to know about living with the F-150 by Mil-Spec: it's breathtakingly loud on a cold start with the Borla exhaust. If you live in a neighborhood, you will frighten children and animals, and likely garner a few passive-aggressive posts on Nextdoor.
Driving it around town is a more sedate experience than you might think, though. A 500-hp V8 sounds insane, but keep in mind you’re in a nearly 5,700-pound truck riding on big tires. The F-150 also has a long throttle. As a result, you have to hammer it in sport mode to get on the power.
If it's not enough grunt for you, the $14,000 Intrepid Performance Package bumps the power up to 650 hp thanks to a supercharger. That’s a steep price...but if you’ve come this far, you might as well go full bore.
What is it like inside?
Far more minimalist than you would expect, given the exterior. Mil-Spec adds a performance steering wheel and paddle shifters. It has custom Katzkin leather seats; there are aluminum control knobs and a numbered plaque on the center console. But otherwise, you’re looking at a standard Ford F-150 interior.
What does it cost?
Mil-Spec says the complete turnkey package starts at $89,500. My prototype build used an F-150 XLT Supercrew 4x4 with the 5.0-liter V8, which cost $52,450; the F-150 by Mil-Spec package was $34,950 plus $6,000 for the Baja Suspension Package. Total cost: $93,400.