Should Ford Build a New SVT Lightning? We Think So!
The market for high-end and high-performance off-road trucks is booming, and Ford has quickly adapted to reap the financial benefits of that, well as build an even more loyal customer base. But what about the first group of high-performance truck owners they built, has Ford abandoned them?
I’m referring to the legions of hardcore F-150 SVT Lightning fans. You know, the bunch that were willing to spend an extra chunk of money to get a more powerful, better handling, and cooler looking truck, otherwise known as the anti-bro truck.
The first generation Ford SVT Lightning was built from 1993 to 1995, and it featured a 5.8 liter V8 engine which produced an, at that time, strong 240 horsepower. It was paired to a rather clunky 4-speed automatic transmission derived from the F-350, and although it was faster and offered better handling than the average F-150, it would be a slow-poke compared to the second-generation truck.
The second-generation Ford SVT Lightning came three years later in 1999, and it came back better looking, more powerful, and much more capable. This time the Lightning featured a 5.4-liter F-150 engine, which was supercharged in order to deliver a whopping 360 horsepower, a figure that was later bumped up to 380 during its mid-cycle refresh in 2001. Unlike the first-gen truck, this Lightning sat much lower to the ground, featured stiffer and sportier suspension, and looked a heck of a lot cooler.
Both Ford Lightnings sold in decent numbers, but by no means they were huge sellers; then again, they weren’t meant to be. Surprisingly enough, this was the era when Dodge offered a Viper powered Ram truck, and Chevy offered an SS model with a 454 engine in it, and the GMC Syclone had just gone out of production.
Ever since the latter of the two Lightnings ceased to live, Ford hasn’t produced another factory high-performance non-off-road truck, even though they have the right platforms, engines and other components necessary to do so. Why? Do they think that nobody will buy them? Have they given up on hot rod trucks and left their hardcore fans with no other option than to custom build?
Whatever the reason is, I’m not too surprised. After all, this is the same company that for whatever reason has refused to bring the Ford Ranger to the States, which in more ways than a million, makes more financial sense than a Lightning ever will.