2000 Ford SVT F-150 Lightning
The SVT F-150 Lightning returns for another year to carry on its
reign as the world’s fastest pick-up truck. The Lightning continues
to scare the competition with its aggressive looks and sports-car
like performance and handling.
Early in development, SVT concluded that Lightning should be
a standard cab because of its good looks, lighter weight, and
shorter wheelbase to enhance handling. In short, to achieve the
vehicle dynamics expected of a SVT product, the standard cab,
short-bed F-150 made the best choice. The platform responded, and
the Lightning achieved more than expected in the areas of
acceleration, steering, and especially in handling and braking.
The SVT Lightning is distinguished from standard F-150
models by a range of specially designed exterior elements. The
front fascia with round driving lamps is an SVT design cue; the
rocker sill extensions visually link the front fascia and rear
bumper; and on the right, the twin 3.0-inch slash-cut ceramic-coated
exhaust tips accent the rockers. What gives the Lightning its kick
though, is the addition of a supercharger to the 5.4L Triton V-8.
The 5.4L Triton V-8 was already an extremely potent engine, but SVT
engineers wanted to take it to the next level. Since the Triton
engine block featured a “deep skirt” design giving it great
rigidity, it was decided to boost performance with a supercharger.
SVT engineers added a forged steel crankshaft, sinter-forged alloy
connecting rods, and forged pistons, lowering the compression ratio
to 8.4:1 for the addition of the supercharger. The supercharger is
a Roots-type Eaton Corporation Generation IV model that sits atop
the intake system. Located directly under the supercharger is a
water-to-air intercooler to cool the compressed air as it enters the
Torque curve – click for larger
The results of the supercharged 5.4L Triton engine are spectacular,
producing 360 horsepower and 440 ft.-lb. of torque. To put all
this power and torque to the ground, Lightning receives the internal
transmission components from the 4-speed automatic found in the
Power Stroke diesel engine application of the Super Duty F-Series.
This will accelerate Lightning to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds and through
the quarter mile in 14.6 seconds at 97 mph.
STEERING AND SUSPENSION
The SVT Lightning front suspension consists of upper and lower
A-arms, SVT coil springs, SVT gas-charged shock absorbers, and a
specially designed 31mm solid stabilizer bar. Front-end ride height
has been lowered by half an inch. Steering input is handled with a
standard F-150 power-assisted recirculating ball system. Due in
great part to the massive performance tires, SVT Lightning steering
now features a more responsive feel. Like a sports car, it
communicates to the driver useful information about adhesion and
The rear suspension is based on a 9.75-inch solid axle with
a 3.55:1 limited-slip rear end. Its motions are controlled by
SVT-tuned gas-charged shock absorbers, an SVT five-leaf spring
system that replaces the standard F-150 three-leaf unit, and an SVT
23mm solid stabilizer bar. Rear ride height has been lowered by 2.0
inches. The staggered right rear shock limits axle tramp under
aggressive acceleration from a standing start, or when dipping
deeply into the throttle coming out of a corner.
WHEELS AND TIRES
Big wheels and tires add to the aggressive look of Lightning’s
exterior. The cast five-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels measure 18 x
9.5 inches. These attractively dished and offset wheels are wrapped
with Goodyear Eagle F1-GS unidirectional tires that measure
295/45ZR18 in size.
This member of the Goodyear family was specially developed
for the SVT Lightning. The tire incorporates much of the same
wet/dry high-performance technology of the F1-GS that debuted on the
1998 SVT Contour sports sedan, but with added sidewall strength for
Lightning’s four-wheel disc braking system is derived from
the much larger F-250 Super Duty truck. Compared to the rotors of
the standard F-150, SVT Lightning’s vented front rotors are 4.0 mm
thicker. Their internal vanes rapidly and effectively dissipate the
heat that builds up under hard braking, allowing the SVT Lightning
to readily handle spirited drives on a Saturday morning as well as
more pedestrian towing duties. Up front, vented rotors measure 12.1
inches and are clamped with twin-piston calipers. At the rear,
solid rotors measure 13.1 inches. The brakes are monitored by a
four-wheel anti-lock brake system.
In Ford testing, the SVT Lightning stops from 60 mph in just 137
feet, only 10 feet more than the distance for the 1999 SVT Mustang
Cobra. In an 80-foot slalom, the SVT Lightning posts a speed of
63.6 mph, and on a 100-foot skidpad it hits 0.85g, a phenomenal
figure for this type of vehicle.
Trimmed in a combination of textured Ebony leather and Medium
Graphite cloth, including Ebony leather door panel trim and a
leather-wrapped steering wheel rim, the interior of the SVT
Lightning provides the enthusiast driver with secure seating on
twisting back roads as well as luxury and comfort for everyday
driving. The seat is an enhanced 40/60 split bench, with six-way
power adjustment for the driver’s seat. The two primary seats
feature aggressive lateral bolstering on both the seat bottom and
seatback. A center jumpseat offers room for a third passenger.
Flip it down and there’s a convenient central storage bin, armrest,
and cup holders.
Lightning’s white-faced gauges are electro-luminescent with
the instruments turning a blue-green at night with brilliant orange
needles. The cluster includes a supercharger boost gauge.
Befitting well-equipped sports transportation, the SVT Lightning’s
standard equipment roster includes a premium electronic AM/FM stereo
with in-dash CD player, dual electric remote control mirrors, power
side windows and door locks, an overhead console with compass and
temperature gauge, air-conditioning with manual control, cruise
control, front floor mats, and remote keyless illuminated entry.
Options on the SVT Lightning are limited to a
factory-installed soft tonneau cover, a Class III towing hitch, and
a six-disc CD changer. The changer fits neatly and conveniently in
the cab behind the passenger seatback.
To protect this valuable vehicle, SVT includes Ford’s
passive anti-theft system called SecuriLock. Each SVT Lightning
key carries a radio transponder with a unique code selected from a
potential store of 72 million billion combinations. An antenna
located in the steering column interrogates the key for its code,
then transmits it to a control module where it is compared to the
code stored there. If the codes match, the engine’s EEC-V computer
system enables the engine to run. If the key codes do not match or
if no encoded key is detected, the EEC-V does not allow the engine
The 2000 SVT Lightning is available in four exterior colors:
Bright Red Clearcoat, Black Clearcoat, Oxford White Clearcoat, and
new for 2000, Silver Clearcoat.
The SVT Triton V-8 is produced at the Ford Truck Modular
Engine Plant in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and the SVT Lightning is
built at the Ford Ontario Truck Plant, also in Canada.