Not all trucks can fly. This one can.
Being assigned to redesign one of Ford's most popular and widely recognized trucks is a huge undertaking, but Tom Liu was ready for the Ford F-150 Raptor. Not only did he have incredible looking previous generations to use as guidance, but also some inspiration of his own. Liu is only 30 years old and happens to be a fan of science fiction, fighter jets, video games, and comic book superheroes, particularly Iron Man.
Speaking to the Detroit Free Press, Liu divulged some of his styling secrets. "I also look at conceptual stuff designed specifically for video games," he explained. "Sometimes they focus their styling and design based in a fictional futuristic setup. They think outside the box; they're not living with real-life restraints. They go crazy on design. That's where I'll look to get inspiration."
Liu was born, raised, and educated in China and only immigrated to the US a few years ago, but quickly landed a job as an exterior designer at Ford in 2016. Fighter jet design inspiration came by way of the F-22, specifically the truck's shapes and angles. Redefining lighting was also another key goal Liu had. Above all, he knew he had to do design something better-looking than any rival.
"Our design team completely reimagined the appearance of the marker lights from something that usually looks like Christmas decorations, to something that you would only find in sci-fi movies or video games," he said. "The thin wings and vertical stabilizers of those fighter jets, the way they accentuate the speed of it, for us it's about a sense of going forward and back, gives a sense of motion."
Making the lights appear bigger and wider was a key goal. The chiseled appearance of the headlights and taillights certainly have an Iron Man-element to them. You could say that Ford took a chance on Liu by assigning him the next ultimate off-road version of a $50 billion F-Series truck franchise, but his talents were noticed years ago when he was first hired.
The fact that he rose to become lead designer for the third-generation Raptor in just a few years is all the more impressive. Unfortunately for him, Stark Industries isn't currently hiring.