Why We Probably Won’t See Another Ford Lightning
Perusing through the comments on our April Fools’ prank about the 6.2L V8 returning to the Raptor, I noticed a few people expressing interest in the return of the SVT Lightning. Definitely a truck to be admired and respected, I really don’t think we’ll see the return of a street truck from Ford in anything but a concept.
The supercharged V8 in the Lightning became the basis of the last-generation Ford GT. As we know, the new Ford GT is going to be powered by the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 found in the current F-150 (and Taurus SHO, and Explorer Sport, etc…) tuned to make stupid amounts of power.
So in theory, Ford could follow a similar Lightning strategy like before, and use that engine, in some form of tune, for a new street truck. Heck, the 2017 Raptor itself is using a variation making somewhere in the 450 horsepower range.
To maximize lightness, the last Lightning came in a single-cab configuration. While the 2015 F-150 is also available in that configuration, many non-fleet truck buyers want the ability to haul stuff in the cabin. A single-cab, family truck, is a bit of a niche. That’d make a Lightning more niche.
The one advantage to the 2015 F-150 being based on an aluminum body is that the truck saves nearly 700 pounds of weight over the previous generation. Due to the weight savings, they could potentially offer a SuperCab or SuperCrew version of a street truck, while not gaining any weight over a steel-bodied truck.
But the steel-bodied F-150 was a bit of a pig in terms of the weight department, and adding weight back to a performance truck, by way of more doors and space, is an antithesis to the purpose of the original Lightning.
Remember, Ford tried to give us a modern-day Lightning. The F-150 Tremor was an attempt to make a street truck without having to design bespoke components specifically for that truck. That didn’t even survive an entire model year before Ford pulled the plug.
That’s the key, in order for Ford to make a high-performance street truck, they need to be able to construct it without having to create components specifically for it. Even though Ford is going performance crazy these days, all of the special components they’re developing will be used in future, non-performance, Ford products.
“But Ram is going to build a Hellcat Ram?!” I hear you scream.
NO. THEY. ARE. NOT.
I’m convinced there’s an engineer inside SRT that has, in fact, put a Hellcat V8 in the Ram 1500. I also bet that it was AWESOME! But, there are no indications from Ram that one will see production. Ram’s research and development money is going into more fuel economy, and bigger grilles. They offer a R/T Ram right now, and it’s awesome but I’m sure the take rate is extremely low.
For the Lightning, ultimately it comes down to the question, “Would people buy it?” Yes, it’d be an awesome truck if Ford made it, and there are loads of people on the Internet who would say they’d buy it. But it’d take people walking into a dealership and plucking down $50,000 on a truck that is lowered, with a single cab, with a turbo V6, and rear-wheel drive.
I don’t honestly see people doing that.
How wrong am I? Feel free to express your thoughts in the forums!
header photo via [Motor Trend]