Someone forgot to tell this 1999 Ford F150 Lightning SVT that it isn't a Mustang GT500. However, with the big, bad, supercharged 5.4 liter V8, a suspension that isn't afraid of going around corners, and a stunning bucket seat interior, maybe that isn't a mistake after all. Nothing this big should be this fast, but my goodness is it a lot of fun.
The Lightning was a brilliant concept twenty years ago and is probably the reason we have 500-horsepower SUVs running around today. The most recent versions like this one were truly no-compromises vehicles with astounding performance and a good dose of truck-like utility, and they looked flat-out awesome. Using the regular cab and stepside bed, they kept weight to a minimum (well, relatively) and gave it proportions that made the Lightning fast and agile. Sizzling bright Vermilion Red paint means this is no shrinking violet, but with all that big horsepower on tap, there's really no point in trying to keep a low profile. The deep front air dam with integral fog lamps was the Lightning's most obvious styling upgrade, but it also offers a modest set of lower body moldings, a body-colored rear bumper, and that ultra-cool side exit exhaust system. This one, with only 35,839 original miles, still wears factory paint and has obviously been a toy, not a daily driver and it shows off the careful attention it has received for more than a decade. Quite frankly it looks months old, not years.
SVT gave the Lightning the finest interior available in any F150, with twin buckets that look like they could have come out of a Cobra Mustang. The grippy cloth and leather seats replace the park bench like seat found in lesser trucks and are split by a wide and functional center console. White-faced gauges have been an SVT trademark for years, and the auxiliary A-pillar boost gauges show the vitals of the supercharged V8 under the hood at a quick glance. Just about everything was standard on the Lightning, including A/C, power windows and locks, cruise control, a tilt column, power seat, and an AM/FM/cassette stereo with a CD changer. Like the body, the seats show minimal wear and are extremely well preserved, again hallmarks of an enthusiast owner who really loved his truck. Out back, there's a hard-shell tonneau cover painted to match the body, and a hard shell lining the bed - effectively turning the bed into a large, weather-tight trunk that'll still carry your gear home from Home Depot on the weekends.
The 5.4 liter OHC V8 was factory-rated at 360 horsepower in 1999, but with the modifications on this truck, including a big supercharger up top, updated intake system, and a high-flow air cleaner, the actual number is easily now well north of 400. Nevertheless, it starts instantly, idles perfectly, and pulls like the proverbial freight train, with a rush of acceleration that's almost too much for the giant tires to handle. The 4-speed automatic transmission clicks through the gears as quickly as the tach can hit 5250 RPM, yet it's relaxed on the highway at cruising speed. The suspension is firm but not uncomfortable, and unlike a lot of sport trucks, the Lightning retains its ability to haul and tow. Massive polished 18-inch SVT alloys look butch and wear 295/45/18 performance radials.
They'll likely never build trucks like this ever again, so like the dinosaurs of the '50s, they'll surely be highly-sought in the future. Today it's a blast to drive, so why not enjoy the wait? Call today!