While modern Ford enthusiasts are pining over the new Ford Lightning electric truck appearing soon at their local Ford dealer locations, this nameplate has a rich history. The EV version of the Lightning isn’t the first time Ford has given drivers a chance to ride the lightning. The first truck to use this name was called the Ford F-150 SVT Lightning, and there’s never been anything like this truck on the lot of any Ford dealer since.
The Original F-150 SVT Lightning
The Ford F-150 SVT Lightning was one of the first performance-based sport trucks to hit the market. It was only in production for two generations, but it left the impression of an instant classic. Many would call it a “muscle truck,” while others thought of it more as a hot rod. This beast had the fastest zero to 100 mph time on the market.
Not only was the first SVT Lightning a powerful truck, but it also serves as the first link in a chain of performance-based pickups. In fact, the trucks we love today, like the upcoming Ford Lightning EV, would never exist if it wasn’t for the SVT Lightning.
The First Generation (1993 – 1995)
The SVT Lightning appeared at its first Ford dealer in 1993. It was meant to compete against trust like the Chevy 454 SS, the first truck to popularize the standard cap and short bed combo. To stand out against the competition, the SVT Lightning came equipped with a 5.8-liter V8 Windsor engine that created a solid 240 horsepower and 340 lb-ft of torque. It could hit 60 mph in just 7.2 seconds.
Even though muscle trucks weren’t meant to be huge workhorses, this option could still tow up to 5,000 pounds. The standard CD player doesn’t sound all that exciting, but it was quite the inclusion for a vehicle released in the early 90s.
Ford only make 11,563 units during the first generation (three years). Drivers loved the black, red, or white paint colors and lightning styling in the interior.
The Second Generation (1999 – 2004)
While the first generation definitely served as a proof of concept, it wasn’t until the second generation that this truck became a classic. Ford refined the exterior design to have a more serious and streamlined look. The SVT Lightning was upgraded to a SOHC 5.2-liter Triton V8 engine combined with an Eaton supercharger. This combination delivered 360 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque. It was also even faster than its predecessor; it could jump to 60 mph in just 6.2 seconds.
Ford only produced 28,124 units of the SVT Lighting during its second generation. There also was a variant produced called the F-150 Harley Davidson Edition that focused more on style than anything else.
The New Ford SVT Lightning
The “Lightning” nameplate might be going in a different direction with Ford’s newest electric truck, but the idea of the SVT Lightning is alive and well. Ford’s electric powertrain will deliver up to 563 hp and 775 lb-ft of torque. It will be able to tow 10,000 pounds and jump to 60 mph in a mere 4.5 seconds.
No matter which model holds the lightning name, you can be sure that it’s one of the most impressive trucks at your local Ford dealer.
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