Ford SVT: What Does it Mean for the Blue Oval?

You may have heard of Shelby, Roush, and Saleen in the world of Ford Performance. However, there is another acronym out there that is straight up synonymous with putting the power down. SVT has had its hands in everything from the Cobra Mustang to the Contour and the F-150 Lightning.  Here’s everything you need to know about SVT, the fabricators of fast Fords. 

What does SVT mean on a Ford?

When you see SVT on a Ford vehicle, it refers to the “Special Vehicle Team.” The Blue Oval designed its Special Vehicle Team to do exactly what it sounds like: create faster, sharper Fords. You may have seen the SVT Cobra and Raptor, but the performance builders did more than just Mustangs and trucks. However, before we could get the SVT vehicles we know and love, SVO had to build its own Ford muscle. 

The Ford SVT Raptor is a great example of how SVT shaped the lineup after the SVT Lightning.
Ford SVT Raptor | Jeff Kowalsky, Bloomberg via Getty Images

What does SVO mean?

The predecessor of SVT, SVO, refers to Ford’s “Special Vehicle Operations” division. Ford devised SVO to run its motorsports and market Ford Racing parts and vehicles. Without SVO, the Blue Oval would likely never have launched SVT. In addition to helping create the next generation of fast Fords, SVO had its hand in many fantastic performance vehicles, like the 1984 to 1986 Mustang SVO.   

What are some of the best Ford SVT cars and trucks?

Ford’s SVT division started with the 1993 Mustang SVT Cobra, a performance version of the Fox Body Mustang. To make the SVT Cobra more of a performer, SVT installed GT40 heads, stiffer Koni suspension components, and a Borg-Warner manual transmission. However, SVT didn’t stop there. SVT continued enhancing Mustangs like the SVT Cobra R and SVT Cobra Terminator

Ford SVT Focus is the division's attempt at doing more than the Cobra Mustang and Lightning.
Ford Focus SVT | Ford Motor Co. via Getty Images

In addition to fiendishly fast pony cars, SVT liked to make fast trucks. For instance, SVT built a couple of iterations of the Lightning, a track-ready truck based on the extremely popular F-150. SVT also took on the Focus, creating the Focus SVT. The tunable little hatchback shared some front-end cues with the Terminator, suggesting that it meant business.    

When did SVT end?

Ford discontinued SVT in 2014. So if you want a newer SVT-formula Mustang, you’ll have to look elsewhere, like Shelby or Roush examples. Of course, you could still find SVT Cobras and the occasional SVT Cobra Terminator for under $25,000, depending on mileage and condition. Also, if you want an SVT Lightning, you might need to dig deep. Kelley Blue Book (KBB) puts the 2003 muscle truck at a typical listing price of $28,740 with 50,000 miles. 

The Ford Mustang SVT Cobra Terminator is one of SVT's finest creations.
Ford Mustang SVT Cobra Terminator | Unsplash

Will there be another Ford SVT?

Since Ford joined SVT and Ford Racing to create Ford Performance, it’s unlikely that there will be another SVT anytime soon. However, SVT’s most recent contributions, like the SVT Raptor, have continued success in the team’s absence. Also, MotorTrend says vehicles like the SVT Cobra Terminator changed the horsepower wars altogether. Despite its absence, SVT made a lasting impact on the storied Blue Oval that fans love today. 

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