For the last five years Ford’s F-150 Raptor truck has torn up the terrain with the ferocity of its namesake dinosaur, but it’s not the first Ford performance truck to channel a force of nature.
Before Ford decided to focus on off-road performance, its F-150 SVT Lightning was the ultimate truck for the street. It dominated an era when factory performance trucks were essentially muscle cars with beds.
Ford is preparing to launch the second-generation Raptor for 2017, but it hasn’t said anything about Lightning striking again. Yet Car and Driver believes there’s a new version of this hot rod truck in the pipeline.
The Blue Oval is in the midst of unveiling 12 new performance vehicles worldwide under its Ford Performance banner, and the magazine reasons that there must be room for the Lightning in that lineup.
Ford has already unveiled the 2017 Raptor, Focus RS, Shelby GT350 and GT350R Mustang, and GT supercar, so it does have a few slots to fill before its performance product blitz ends in 2020.
There’s no guarantee that the Lightning will fill one of those slots, but it’s definitely worthy of revival. The last version featured a 5.4-liter supercharged V8 similar to the one used in the 2005 GT.
A V8 would be great in a new Lightning, but it could just as easily use a turbocharged EcoBoost V6 like the 2017 Raptor. Ford’s much-publicized trademark of “EcoBeast” hints at this as well.
An EcoBoost-powered Lightning would need even more power than the Raptor’s estimated 450 horsepower, though. Given that Ford is claiming over 600 hp for the EcoBoost engine in the GT, that shouldn’t be a problem.
The current-generation F-150’s aluminum body should aid performance by giving the Lightning less weight to lug around. Fuel economy and performance don’t always have to be at odds.
With Ram saying it won’t build a Hellcat-powered successor to the old SRT-10, and General Motors apparently uninterested as well, Ford would also have the muscle truck market all to itself.
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