If theirs one type of vehicle we don't talk about enough here around Oppositelock, its sport trucks. I know, I know, trucks don't have the handling dynamics of our lord and savior Miata, nor do they have those sexy body lines like a Volvo station wagon. Still, sport trucks need a few more features around here and I'm about to change that with today's subject.
What happens when you take a stock 380hp supercharged 5.4L, throw out basically everything, and slap on a 82mm turbo? You get a truck that can push north of 1200hp to the wheels, run mid 9 second 1/4 mile times, and run over 150mph in the 1/2 mile on street tires in third gear. I don't care who you are or what you're into as far as automobiles, those are impressive numbers for anything that moves.
When the second generation Lightning came out in 1999 packing 360hp and 440tq thanks to its Eaton supercharged 5.4L, it basically turned the entire sport truck world on its head. For reference, the 1993-95 Lightning used a 5.8L Windsor V8 that made 240hp and 340tq. The new Lightning was now the most powerful street bruiser SVT had in its lineup. More powerful than the Cobra and don't even consider putting the Contour up against this. The 99-00 trucks were good for 0-60's of 6.2 seconds and a 1/4 mile of 14.6 seconds.
When 2001 rolled around, Ford gave the Lightning a minor update in appearances and performance. The truck gained a larger MAF, a new rear gear ratio, and some Bilstein shocks. The same 5.4L now sings to a new tune of 380hp and 450tq. The 2001-2004 trucks are good for a 0-60 of 5.8 and a 1/4 mile of 13.9 seconds.
To say this thing could slay tires is an understatement, even the people behind the Ford press release photos knew that
But as I mentioned earlier, the truck we are talking about is FAR from a factory lightning. Which brings me to my next point and hopefully will answer a question a lot of you are probably asking. "Who would want to build up a truck?" Answer: many people. The SVT Lightning came with forged pistons and a forged crank. This let you crank up the power to 450rwhp before it was time to upgrade the internals. Still, the engine with factory boost and a robust transmission sending power to a strong rear axle (Fords 4R100 + 9.75" Rear) made this truck into a great platform to build off of. The 5.4 is a torque monster of an engine and even the factory output shows that.
Inside this red 2000 Lightning, we find a Precision Industries billet 82mm ball bearing turbo with custom headers, a 4" down pipe and a 50mm wastegate. This truck was built with one goal in mind: going really really f*cking fast. ABS, Airbags, Factory 6CD Changer, HVAC with A/C; these are all items stripped out of this truck in the name of weight savings. Even though this truck has been stripped of some of its creature comforts, it still retains a license plate and can still be driven on the street because it is still a street truck.
(How am I supposed to drop the bass with this?)
This truck has also received some help in the suspension department so it can cope with the monstrous power. It is lowered with JLP 4" shackles and Hotchkis leafs with Belltech spindles and JDM drag springs. It also has QA1 shocks all around and JDM long bars connected to a built 3.55 rear end sporting a Detroit Truetrack and JDM girdle. In street trim this truck rides on a set of HRE ($$$) wheels which I think fit the look perfectly.
So you're probably thinking "Okay, this all sounds like some big numbers, but how can a truck that weighs 4450lbs be quick?" Simple answer, like this:
Rocking a set of Bogart wheels for the track, this truck ripped off a 9.81 @ 141.68mph in the 1/4 with the power dialed back to around 950rwhp. The functionality of this truck really shines when you can dismount the Bogart drag wheels, put the truck back to street trim, and go hit up the 1/2 mile event.
Traction was a limiting factor, but even with the boost turned down and overdrive disabled, the truck hit 157mph.
Building a truck that can take down a majority of supercars (in a straight line) is such a hilariously awesome idea that I felt the need to share it with all of you today. Any vehicle out there has potential to be something cool, it just depends on how much money you are willing to throw into it.
Just remember one thing, you never know what you are going to come across the next time you pull up to a stop light. So if you happen to be sitting next to a big old truck that sounds like half the exhaust is missing and the engine is making a funny whistling noise like a jet aircraft, it might be in your best interest not to provoke a race between the lights.
2000 Ford Lightning
5.4L (331ci) Triton V8 with Trickflow heads and Manley forged rotating assembly
Custom PSI Motorsports Intercooled 82mm turbo kit
AMS 1000 Boost Controller
Brian's Truck Shop 4R100 with PI Stall Converter
Built 3.55 rear with Detroit Truetrac
PSI/FORE fuel system with three Walboro pumps, Fore regulator, Aeromotoive rails and 78lbs injectors.