Pick-ups are the best-selling vehicles in the world… even if the largest volume is sold only in North America. And the best-selling pick-up on the planet is Ford’s F-Series.
In America, enthusiasts have modified their pick-ups in various ways, some for higher performance. And using its extensive resources, Ford has also come up with a super pick-up in the form of the SVT F-150 Lightning.
Developed by the Ford Special Vehicle Team (SVT) – a high-performance division of the company – the SVT Lightning has sports-car like performance and handling, as well as an aggressive looks.
It is distinguished from standard Ford F-150 by a range of specially-designed exterior elements. The front end with round driving lamps is an SVT design cue; the rocker sill extensions visually link the front end and rear bumper; and on the right, the twin 3-inch slash-cut ceramic-coated exhaust tips accent the rockers.
To enhance its handling, it was made lighter and the wheelbase was shortened for quicker response. The big kick comes from the use of a supercharged 5.4-litre Triton V-8 petrol engine. This means it has an output of 264 kW/360 bhp at 4750 rpm with a massive 440 lb-ft of torque generated at 3000 rpm. But being a big V8, the redline is reached at just 5250 rpm.
Keeping the huge and powerful engine cool under both high-performance and towing conditions are a Ford Super Engine Cooling package and an engine oil cooler. Each helps the engine maintain normal-range coolant and engine-oil temperatures under the most strenuous work and performance conditions.
Complementing the exceptional power and torque of the turbocharged V-8 is a specially developed 4-speed automatic transmission that employs numerous internal components first developed for the commercial transmission that mates to the Ford Power Stroke diesel engine. This transmission provides the durability needed for this torquey engine, yet the shift patterns remain both passenger-car smooth and sportscar positive. The throttle provides excellent control over downshifts. An Auxiliary Transmission Cooler package that helps maintain the condition of the transmission fluid is standard equipment.
Not surprisingly, this is the fastest pick-up in the world: the SVT Lightning can get to 60 mph (96 km/h) in 6.2 seconds, and the quarter-mile (400 metres) is done in 14.6 seconds with a terminal speed of 156 km/h. Top speed is 225 km/h, which is achieved without any speed governor installed. And in what may be the classic American test of high-performance capability – the 0-160 km/h-0 dash, – the Lightning’s total elapsed time is a brief 22.5 seconds.
You can’t buy the SVT Lightning which is only available in lefthand drive and sold in the USA, but you will be able to see it at the upcoming KL International Motor Show as Ford Malaysia will be bringing one in for display.