1992-1996 Ford F150: Ninth Generation
The 1992 Ford F150 hit the streets with a new look, with even more streamlining than the previous generation. Items like molded plastic mirrors rather than the older metal “tripod” mirrors became more popular, and were standard on 1992 F150s. The drivetrain options remained the same across the board from the prior year, but 1992 brought about the return of the Flareside bed option. Along with the Nite edition, the F150 lineup was the same as 1991. Even with few changes to the drivetrain, the 1992 F150 was a huge success, selling over 500,000 units that year.
1993 offered few changes to the F150 lineup, but it did see the end of the F150 Nite and an addition in the form of the new Special Vehicle Team (SVT) Lightning performance truck. The first high performance truck to be offered as a factory option, the 1993 F150 Lightning featured many industry firsts, such as gas-charged shock absorbers and 17 inch aluminum wheels wrapped in high performance tires. The engine of the Lightning was similar to the 5.8L V8 offered in the standard F150, but the SVT version made 240 horsepower and 340 lb-ft of torque thanks to high flowing GT40 cylinder heads and true dual exhaust; an F150 first. The Lightning was also the first F150 to feature bucket seats and synthetic axle lubricant, but these items would find themselves later on other F150 trimlines. The key enhancements to the 1993 F150 Lightning were the chassis and suspension upgrades. With assistance from race legend Jackie Stewart, the SVT tuned the Lightning chassis and suspension on the race track, making the SVT Lightning one of the most nimble factory pickup trucks ever offered.
1994 offered new items in the safety and sound system areas, as the 1994 Ford F150 could be ordered with an option driver’s side airbag, and a new compact disc player. There were also gains across all of the F150 engines, as the 4.9L now made 150 horsepower, the 5.0L made 205 horsepower, and the 5.8L engine made 210 horsepower, having been rated at just 200 horsepower for the 1993 model year, presumably to make the Lightning’s 240 horsepower look that much more impressive.
There were very few changes for the 1995 or 1996 model years, but the popularity of the Ford F-Series continued to boom, and in 1996 there were almost 800,000 units sold. This sales figure marked the first time in over a decade that the F-series outsold Chevrolet and GMC Trucks combined.