Having made its reputation with polar-worthy Toyota builds, especially for the Hilux and Land Cruiser, Arctic Trucks lists 14 different tunes for six Toyota models on its website. The next-closest manufacturer is Nissan, with two models that can be turned into six rigs designed for everything from light Arctic sightseeing to leave-my-body-in-the-ice hardcore exploration. The Icelandic outfitters have just one Ford listed, the F-350, that can be fitted with 35-inch or 46-inch Nokian Hakkapeliita tires. As TFLTruck spotted, the situation could change with a new and unusual addition, the 2020 Ford F-150 AT44 — signifying 44-inch tires — the company teased on its Flickr page. Billed as “a rare build from Iceland — probably the only one,” this is the company’s first publicized effort with a light-duty, full-size American pickup.
We don’t have many details yet on the F-150 AT44. We know it’s based on the Lariat trim, and everything starts with that gigantic rubber, a collaborative development between Arctic Trucks and Nokian. Tire size being 475/70 R 17, each hoop stands 43 inches tall, 18.7 inches wide, weighs 154 pounds, and wears Nokian’s Polar Expedition tread compound. To cover all that real estate, the wheel arches jut like spaulders on a suit of armor, tailing off into giant mud flaps, or snow flaps in this case. Arctic Trucks CEO Emil Grimsson spent two weeks in March testing the truck around Iceland’s back 40, mentioning that the powerplant is Ford’s 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6. He didn’t say if the engine had been altered, but it normally produces 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. Grimsson also noted there’s been a suspension upgrade, naturally.
The boss is stoked with development so far, having been worried in the beginning that the big American would “be too heavy to give you enough flotation on soft snow using 44-inch tires.” The only caution so far is that “Some river banks needed special approach due to fairly low ground clearance of the F150,” and some rivers can’t be seen at all, which led to a recovery session featuring some swift, hard yanks on a truck chain. Still, in comments on and in his YouTube video, Grimsson declares himself “super happy with highway and snow performance” thanks to the weight loss afforded by the F-150’s aluminum sheetmetal. With tire pressure set at 2.5 PSI, the Ford could “push through and leave behind a well compressed track,” and even better, “With this flotation, this power, low center of gravity and long wheelbase, doing the steeper hills was a pleasure and easily outperforming most other vehicles that came along.”
Check out the video to watch the F-150 AT44 dashing through the snow. We approve.