A local manufacturing company has gained some national attention with a one-of-a-kind design for a four-wheel-drive vehicle. The unit has been around for several years now, but Koyker (Quaker) Manufacturing in Lennox has now perfected it. Jon Wilson takes us for a ride in a "Raptor"...A four wheel drive vehicle that can tackle just about any terrain that dares to stop it.
Koyker Manufacturing in Lennox has built their reputation on loader attachments for tractors and utility trucks. But about five years ago Koyker started building Raptors...or simply a mini-four wheel drive utility vehicle. What sets the Raptor apart from it's competitors is the way their built. The best way to describe them would be an ATV on steroids. The idea of the Raptor isn't a new one, its been around for several years. But the hydraulically driven Raptor is new and the only place in the country you can buy one is right here in Lennox, South Dakota. Tony Randall is a salesman for Koyker Manufacturing. "The main difference on the Hydrostatic is you have pure hydraulic power so you don't have any of the bearings and drive-shafts, axles or transmissions to cause you any maintenance problems down the road."
and if they're are no roads...there's no problem, the Raptor rarely gets rarely gets stuck...Especially the four-wheel drive model. Randall credits the hydro-power for that. "Because of the hydro power and the foot pedal that you use to control it by pushing down with your toe to go forward and your heel to go backward once you do get stuck its very easy to get it rocking back and forth, and those of us that that have lived in South Dakota know if you get the vehicle rocking back and forth you can get 'em out."
The Raptors are built on-site at the Koyker plant in Lennox. The frames are welded together to meet specifications, then transported to another part of the plant where two-man teams complete the rest of the units. Each one is built to meet the customers needs. And according to Randall there seems to be a booming market for these mini- trucks. "For the hunting market we've got a few options, we've got dog boxes you can mount in the back of the truck, we've got gun racks to mount on the side of the vehicles. We will have full enclosed cab on it for the guys who want to hunt when its cold."
For a business that wants to clear snow from their parking lot or sidewalk. A blade can be attached to the front of the Raptor. The vehicle can also pull a 25-hundred pound trailer and haul up to 15-hundred pounds in the bed. Randall say's change the studded tires and the Raptor can be used a few other ways..."Golf courses...cemeteries anybody thats doing outside work that needs to get in and out somewhere they don't want to take a pickup truck...they want something easier."
Its an S-U-V on a much smaller scale, or an A-T-V with an attitude, but its the hydraulics that makes this vehicle a one of a kind design. You've got a Kohler 25-horse engine, you've got your hydraulic pump to provide hydraulic power to the four individual wheel motors on a four-wheel drive models and a linkage to run the valve. The Raptor is built for power not speed, it tops out at 16 miles per hour. It won't get you there in a hurry but it's sure to get you there no matter what lies in your way, and its a Kelo-Land company that paving the way for a whole new concept in utility vehicles.
Koyker (Quaker) can manufacture up yo 40 units a week depending on the amount of orders. The base-price for a two-wheel drive mechanical model is 6-thousand dollars.
The Four-wheel drive hydrostatic models start at about 10-thousand dollars.
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