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Could it be? Is the Ford Lightning really going to make a comeback in this, the supertruck age? It has been a cool minute since we saw the likes of the Ford Lightning, Ford Saleen, GMC Syclone, and other such supertrucks grace the polished showroom floors. Could Ford really be considering starting the hot rod truck trend back up, or is this just a funny Ford Raptor? 

Silver Ford Lighting driving around a turn
Ford Lightning | Donut Media via YouTube

What’s up with the Ford Lightning murmurs? 

Once upon a time, Ford made super trucks that, unlike the Ford Raptor, weren’t made for ramping dunes. Instead, these hot rod trucks were made to burn the road up. 

Ford Authority recently spied a Ford Raptor-looking prototype pickup, but instead of the long-travel suspension and ground clearance of the Ford Raptor, it was significantly lowered. 

As with most prototype vehicles, this Ford pickup was wearing camo, but it was the “street sweeper” camo that got people’s attention. This particular type of camo is meant to hide suspension. Very curious. 

A few conflicting things are happening in these images. For one, the lowered suspension and suspension camo is something to note. If Ford was thinking about bringing the Ford Lightning back, why would it still have the beefy off-road tires of the Raptor? 

What is the SVT Ford Lightning?

The Ford SVT Lightning is one of the more iconic hot rod pickups from a bygone era. To make a long story short, Ford had a sub-brand, Special Vehicles Team (SVT), that started in 1991. 

According to Blue Oval Trucks, this team was meant to investigate the potential of more niche markets within the automotive industry like racing and enthusiast performance vehicles. SVT began designing and turning limited numbers of production Ford models into performance-minded road rippers. 

The Ford Lightning was officially available for sale in 1993 alongside the SVT Mustang Cobra with the 5.8 L Windsor FI V8. Although this first gen was cool and important, the second generation really put this truck and SVT on everyone’s radar. 

The 1999-2004 Ford Lightning has a 5.4 L Supercharged Triton V8, ultimately making 380 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque. According to Blue Oval Trucks, these Ford SVT limited the production of the trucks only making 28,124 units. In 2003 the Ford Lightning became the fastest production truck in the world. 

So what is happening with this Ford prototype? 

It makes perfect sense to take the current hot ruck in the Ford lineup and use that as a basis for a new on-road supertruck. The real question is if Ford is trying to bring back the Ford Lightning (or something similar), why would the testers put the chunky off-road tires on. 

Ford Authority posits that this mystery truck could be a Ford Raptor testing a new type of air suspension. It can come in handy to raise and lower the ride height with the flick of a switch, especially given the expected uses of the Ford Raptor.

The Ford Raptor R is coming down the pipe, and this could easily be a new feature for the big bad V8 Raptor. Although the excitement of seeing the Ford Lightning rebirth would rule, the tires are a big splash of cold water on that hot theory. We’ll have to see what comes of the slammed hot rod pickup truck over the coming months.


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