2006 Harley Davidson F-150 Special Features
|"For the 2006 Ford
Harley™ F-150, we've really leaned into the custom look of
classic monochromatic black and chrome. And we've made it even
more of a standout with pace-making cues like the bold custom
grille and massive forged rims."
– Willie G.
Davidson, Senior Vice President and Chief Styling Officer,
2006 FORD HARLEY-DAVIDSON™ F-150
TAKES A STAND ON BIG, BOLD WHEELS
Everything about the 2006 Ford Harley-Davidson™ F-150 is big, bad
and bold. And that goes double for its wheels.
The limited-edition truck stands on 22-inch,
polished, forged aluminum wheels – a first for Ford, and the largest
wheels ever provided on a production F-150. They feature a unique
split five-spoke design, crowned with the distinctive Bar &
Shield logo on the center cap. The new wheels are exclusive to the
2006 Ford Harley-Davidson™ F-150.
bold and strong
"In designing the wheels, we looked closely at trends in three
areas – the traditional street-rod circuit, the West Coast tuner
scene, and the world of custom motorcycles," says Gary Braddock,
Ford Product Design chief designer. "We confirmed that there is no
better way to make a big, bold and strong visual statement than with
the wheels. A larger rim size gives instant attitude, and when you
add a tire that has low sidewall height, then that attitude just
Harley-Davidson™ motorcycle owners often customize their
wheels, Ford developed one-of-a-kind polished and forged
aluminum 22-inch wheels for the 2006 Ford Harley-Davidson™
Taking another cue from the world of
Harley-Davidson, in which motorcycle owners sometimes commission
one-of-a-kind wheel sets for their bikes, Ford Product Design
created the new wheels specifically for the Ford Harley-Davidson™
F-150, using a computer-aided-design (CAD) process that allowed
design drawings to be relayed directly to engineers for the closest
"Our CAD process allows us to produce a foam model of the wheel
directly from the drawing," says Gary Braddock. "We then paint that
model, put a tire with it, and stand it next to the vehicle to see
how the elements work together. It's much faster than clay modeling,
and it allows for rapid visualization of a design. While we
sometimes go through six or more wheel models for a new vehicle, in
this case we had a very clear idea of what we wanted up-front, and
we had our final design after two models."
Custom, oversize rims have a heritage that runs all the way back
to the dry-lake racing scene in post-war California, when racers
used big "disk" wheels to reduce aerodynamic drag. More recently,
tuner enthusiasts have emulated the look of Formula One racing
wheels in their creations, using ultra-low-profile tires that have
very little sidewall compliance.
"That's something that has to be carefully
considered when you are designing wheels for a production vehicle,"
says Gary Braddock. "Large rims definitely can affect ride
characteristics. And we also had to take into consideration more
mundane items, such as how the wheels would weather repeated rides
through automatic car washes, and how they are affected by weather.
A strong wheel design has to look right – but it has to test right,
That is especially true on a pickup truck, a "workhorse" used for
hauling loads, towing a trailer, and other utilitarian chores.
"Jounce – up-and-down movement – is something you have to be
especially aware of when putting larger rims on a truck," says
Braddock. "Ride quality can be affected by heavier wheels. That is
why the 2006 Harley-Davidson™ F-150 wheels are forged, rather than
cast. Forging produces a stronger aluminum, allowing us to use less
material in the wheel and retain strength without adding excess
That, said Braddock, plays into another ethic that is very much a
part of the Harley-Davidson ethos – an appreciation for honest
materials, like real chrome and leather, is what owners of the
2006 Ford Harley-Davidson™ F-150 expect, and will receive when
the truck is launched this fall.
"Harley-Davidson™ motorcycle owners expect material that is what
it appears to be," says Braddock. "If a part appears to be chromed,
they want real chrome. If a material looks like leather, they expect
it to be leather. So our wheels had to be much more than ‘bling' –
more than eye candy. The closer the enthusiast looks at our 22-inch
polished forged aluminum wheels, and the more the enthusiast knows
about them, the better they get. That's the Harley-Davidson way. And
that's the F-150 way, as well."