The head of Ford Australia says the Blue Oval brand has “absolutely discussed” the possibility of a V8-powered version of the Ranger Raptor bakkie.

Speaking to motoring.com.au, Ford Australia president Kay Hart stopped short of confirming such a vehicle would make production, following rumours suggesting an independent engineering firm Down Under would be involved in the project.

“There are now customers ringing saying ‘I want that, I want that’. There have been discussions about ‘could I put a V8 in a Raptor?’ for a long time, even back at launch. Sure, we talk about it,” Hart told the publication.

“I am not going to talk about the chances of it happening ... because I have nothing to confirm,” she added.

At the start of January 2020, whichcar.com.au reported Ford Australia was “secretly readying” a high-performance Ranger Raptor model that ditches the standard 157 kW 2,0-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesel engine for a 5,0-litre V8 petrol unit from the Mustang.

Soon after the reveal of the Ranger Raptor in early 2018, Ford reacted to criticism of its choice of powerplant, saying the fresh-faced off-roading bakkie was “not about the engine” and rejecting talk of a petrol option.