The Ford Special Vehicle Team (SVT) Pickup truck models have existed in the motor vehicle industry for many years, and their diehard customers who still own some of them are still driving proudly. However, the models are no longer seen on the roads as often as before, and enthusiasts are wondering whether these machines will make a major return at some point. The reason is that this model was revolutionary, and no one is ready to say goodbye yet. Read on to understand the history and, in a jiffy, get to know the advancements and the future of the Ford SVT Lightning.
The history and development of Ford SVT F-150 Lightning
In early 1991, the Ford management acknowledged the need to carry out corporate research to identify suitable vehicle market opportunities to exploit. They brought together various stakeholders, including designers, engineers, product planners, and marketing experts, to put their skills together to manufacture vehicles that would fulfill their target customers’ needs. As a result, a Special Vehicle Team (SVT) was formed to innovate high-performance cars with significant exclusivity, substance, and value.
The team made a lot of progress, and in 1993, they launched the first generation models, SVT Mustang Cobra and SVT F-150 Lightning, and were put on sale immediately. They were offered in red or black but later, in 1994 through to 1995, the white Lightening was introduced.
The vehicles first used a 351cid Windsor engine configured with a high flow rate of GT40 heads that used hypereutectic pistons to increase efficiency, productivity, and durability. The company later upgraded the engine to a 5.8 L Windsor FI V8 that was stronger, reliable, and durable. The engine was available in the F-350 model up to 1997 when it was replaced by the Ford Modular V-8.
Generally, these first-generation vehicles were designed with:
- Powerful rebuilt E40D transmissions configured with a standard aluminum driveshaft to increase efficiency.
- 17-inch alloy wheels with Firestone style tires offered optimum grip and effective operation of the vehicle’s acceleration and braking mechanism on both dry and wet surfaces.
- special lighting badging and a customized front air dam with fog lights to enhance clear vision to avoid road accidents.
- A 120 mph speedometer and exclusive under hood treatments including a special lighting intake manifold casting that differentiated the Lightning from the normal F-150 models.
- Adjustable bucket seats with side bolsters and back supports for more convenient driving.
- Suspension modifications were made to make the truck more responsive. It provided 1 in-front and 2.5 in-rear drops in height, thus lowering the vehicle’s center of gravity for stability and making it easy to control.
Between 1993 and 1995, Ford had managed to produce about 11,563 SVT Lightning running on the E4OD transmissions. From 1999 and 2004, the company embarked on several advancements in its production, and this time, they produced the second generation pickup trucks that exhibited the following components:
- Improved manifold air intake with airflow of up to 380hp to effectively distribute the combustion mixture to the engine.
- Light aluminum driveshaft to reduce inertia forces and vibration damping to improve the efficiency of the car.
- A 3.73:1 rear axle ratio to increase towing capacity and reduce fuel economy
- Installation of passenger side shock regulator in front of the axle to minimize the axle wrap that may lead to a breakdown.
- Distinctive Eagle F1-GS tires with a new rubber complex to enhance braking efficiency.
- Special and effective lamps, including the head, fog, corner, and tail lamps.
In 1999, Ford introduced another Lightning in the same 1997 design. The new truck possessed the following components:
- A 5.4L Triton V8 engine with an Eaton supercharger that produced 360 horsepower and 440 ft·lb of torque and completed with a 4R100 automatic transmission that relegated motor power to the 3.55 gears. The engine was powerful and enabled the trucks to travel longer distances without frequent overheating.
- It included specialized 18 wheels mounted with Eagle F1 295/45ZR-18 tires.
- A one-inch lower suspension system in the front and two inches lower in the rear compared to the Ford F-150 This system enhanced the driver’s smooth ride and control of the vehicle.
- Monroe shocks were replaced with Bilstein shocks that were more efficient. They enabled the driver to reduce the overall body of the to ease the cutting of corners at a relatively higher speed.
- The engine design was improved to produce 380 horsepower of 4,750 rpm and 450 ft·lb of torque of 3,250 rpm that enabled the vehicle to operate effectively.
- The intercooler was advanced to effectively eliminate leaking problems experienced in the previous models.
In 2003, the engine was modified further, and sufficient thread for spark was fixed, and it became more efficient. That was a successful year for the company as the new SVT Lightning model at the time was ranked the world’s fastest pickup with a Guinness World Records-verified speed of 147 mph, a move that increased its demand across the world. The company had produced more than 28000 models into the market between 1999 and 2004.
Will Ford SVT Lightning make a big comeback?
Ford should honor the SVT Lightning by bringing it back on the road once again! As a big fan of this model, there’s nothing to worry about, though. Reports indicate that the company is currently working on an SVT Lightning comeback through the development of the electric F-150 model that will be launched very soon. The model is anticipated to have exciting features, including a dual-configured powertrain to enhance efficient all-wheel drive with about 450 horsepower capable of traveling up to 60 mph in less than five seconds. In this case, it will be the fastest and the most powerful F-150 pickup truck in the future market, reaching the heights of its predecessor. Undoubtedly, it will not be a disappointment if Ford comes through with this promise. Production is expected to begin in mid-2022, and everyone is optimistic!