OAKVILLE, Ontario, March 15, 1999 – Ford’s Ontario Truck Plant in Oakville today began production of the SVT F-150 Lightning pickup – a performance truck with a top speed of 225 kilometres per hour (140 m.p.h.). The plant, which builds regular, Ford F-Series pickups, will produce 4,000 of the performance pickups annually during the next six years.
A group of Special Vehicle Team engineers cheered as the Job One Lightning was driven off the end of the assembly line by Plant Manager Charles Shortridge, accompanied by John Teixeira, CAW Plant Chairman.
Like other SVT vehicles, Lightning will be sold exclusively through some 620 specially-trained SVT-certified dealers in the United States and Canada.
The 1999 Ford SVT F-150 Lightning pickup was featured on the cover of Car and Driver Magazine in January. It was the first time anything other than a high-performance or luxury car had been selected as the magazine’s cover photo.
The new Lightning is powered by a supercharged and intercooled version of the award-winning, 5.4-litre, Triton„ V-8 engine found in the Ford F-150. This version produces 360 horsepower and 440 foot-pounds of torque. Lightning also features four-wheel disc brakes and four-wheel ABS.
“Lightning is like a Mustang Cobra with a pickup box on the back,” says John Coletti, SVT Chief Program Engineer. “It combines the strength and versatility of the best-selling pickup with the driving exhilaration of SVT performance.”
Al McCormick, Group Brand Manager, Ford of Canada, describes Lightning as “the highest performance pickup truck ever built.”
“It can accelerate like a bolt from the blue – zero to 100 kilometres-an-hour in less than seven seconds – stop in a flash and ride and handle like no other pickup before it,” McCormick says.
Plant Manager Charles Shortridge says selection of Ontario Truck Plant for production of the SVT F-150 Lightning for North America is a coup for the plant and its 1300 employees.
“We’ve always been proud to build the best-selling vehicle in North America, F-Series pickup,” Shortridge says, “but everyone’s excited when Lightning comes down the line.”
In addition to Ford’s Windsor Engine Plant, ten other automotive component plants in Southern Ontario supply parts for Lightning. They are Kelsey-Hayes Canada Ltd. in Woodstock, (hub and rotor assemblies); Polycon Industries, Guelph, (bumper covers and licence plate brackets); Reynolds-Lemmerz Industries, Collingwood, (cast aluminum wheels); JCI, Milton, (seats); Tesma International, Rexdale, (crankshaft pulleys); Litens Automotive Partnership, Woodbridge, (accessory drive belts); Blau Autotec Inc., Woodbridge, (radiator caps); RB &W Corporation of Canada, Mississauga, (hex flange nuts); NRI Industries, Toronto, (lower radiator air deflector); and Goodyear Canada Inc., Toronto, (low profile, 235/45ZR18 SVT tires).