Ford Lightning: One Badass Truck

Ford Lightning Ford Lightning courtesy of

One of the baddest trucks to ever come out was the Ford Lightning. Ford's Special Vehicle Team (SVT) went above and beyond with this one. Picture a Cobra that could tow… a Cobra.

The first Lightnings came around in 1993 and lasted until 95. With a base horsepower rating of 240, and the torque coming in at 340ft-lbs, the Lightning was good for 0-60 time of 7.6 seconds, and a top speed of 110mph. Not a super car, but pretty impressive for a mid-90’s pickup.

Remember, we are talking about 1993. The 5.0 Mustang GT that year was good for 225hp and 275 ft-lbs, and the Cobra R was only 235hp, so really not bad at all.

Ford Mustang Mustang photo courtesy of

With only a 351 cid, it still put down 5 more horses then the big block Silverado SS, its main competition. There were some others out there like the GMC Syclone and Typhoon, but they were much smaller than a full size truck. The lightning used a slightly modified 351 with GT40 heads and hyper-eutectic pistons to hit the horse power numbers, and then ran that power through an E40D 4 speed automatic transmission that ended up at the 8.8”, 4.10:1 limited slip diff. All of this made for a truck like no one had seen from a factory before. Sadly, 1995 was the last year of this awesome truck… or was it?

In 1999, Ford got serious about the Lightning, and brought it back with a vengeance. How about a supercharged 5.4 liter (forged internals), 360 horse powered beast! New body design, as well as the new module motor. By the time this thing got dialed in, it was hitting 380 hp and 450 ft-lbs of torque. With 0-60 times at 6.2 seconds and top speed of 140, this truck could take on muscle cars, and win.

The specs for this truck read like a gearhead's dream. The supercharged mod motor, the 4R100 4 speed trans stolen from the Super Duty (had to. How else would it handle the power?), the 3.55:1, 9.75 INCH (HOLY CRAP!) rear diff, sitting 2 inches lower than a stock F150, plus all the little things that Ford thought of. Ford was serious about this truck.

So, what do I (and my '70 Chevelle, '94 Z71 and '05 GTO) think about the Ford Lightning? Wow, just wow… The power, the engineering, and the details. How can you argue with the math? Numbers don’t lie… ever. Sweet truck with a collector’s interest. Sometimes we have to tip our hat to the enemy, and say job well done.

Now, I can tell you that this Ford would look great sitting next to my Procharged Mustang, and I can only hope to have one someday (second gen). So, I have to say, NOT BAD, FOR A FORD. 😊

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