Forget the Ford Lightning: The Saleen F150 Sport Truck Has the Thunder

Roush, Shelby, Ford dealers, and even a Hummer restomod company have all taken a crack at tuning the Ford F150. Ford itself has also modified the truck, and not just by creating the Raptor. In the early 2000s, the Ford F150 SVT Lightning picked up where the GMC Syclone left off. But there was another tuned F150 that was even faster. It was made by Saleen, the company behind one of the fastest American cars ever made. And you can still get a brand-new Saleen F150 Sport Truck today.

Saleen S331 Supercharged F150 Sport Truck

2001 Ford F150 SVT Lightning
2001 Ford F150 SVT Lightning | Ford

By 2007, the Ford SVT Lightning had been out of production for 3 years. And the most powerful engine the F150 offered, Motor Trend reports, was a 325-hp 5.4-liter V8. Then came the Saleen S331 F150 Sport Truck. And its modifications, Truck Trend reports, went far beyond bolt-on body kits. Saleen was, and is, technically an OEM, which means its trucks had to pass EPA and crash tests and came with warranties.

2008 Saleen S331 Supercharged F150 Sport Truck
2008 Saleen S331 Supercharged F150 Sport Truck | Bring a Trailer

The Saleen S331 Sport Truck was based on the rear-wheel-drive FX2 F150 SuperCab. The truck received lowered and retuned shock absorbers and springs, 23” forged aluminum wheels, and BFGoodrich performance tires. The F150 was also fitted with body cladding and an aluminum hood. Then came the optional upgrades.

Like the stock F150, the Saleen Sport Truck could tow up to 5000 pounds as standard. But Saleen also offered a Class IV trailer hitch and tow package with load-leveling air springs that boosted towing capacity up to 9500 pounds. And to help stop the S331, buyers could fit optional 15” slotted front disc brakes with upgraded pistons.

2004 Dodge Ram SRT-10
2004 Dodge Ram SRT-10 | CNC Exotics

But perhaps the most impressive upgrade was the supercharger. A supercharged Saleen S331 F150 Sport Truck put out 450 hp and 500 lb-ft. Truck Trend recorded a 0-60 time of 6.7 seconds. That’s slower than the Dodge Ram SRT-10, which had a 6-speed manual, instead of the S331’s 4-speed automatic. But then, both MT and Truck Trend found Saleen’s suspension mods meant the S331 definitely handled better in the corners. It was also significantly more practical.

The latest Saleen F150 Sport Truck

Saleen still offers an F150 Sport Truck. In fact, it now offers two versions.

2020 Saleen F150 Sport Truck XR
2020 Saleen F150 Sport Truck XR | Saleen

For those interested in off-roading, there’s the Sport Truck XR. Saleen can build it with any of the F150’s standard engines. Or, you can spec the 700-hp supercharged 5.0-liter V8 option. Like the standard Raptor, the XR has Fox shocks, albeit 2.5” coil-overs specially tuned for Saleen. Other standard features include vented disc brakes, Grabber X3 off-road tires, and Saleen-designed bump stops.

But, if you’re interested in facing off against Roush’s Nitemare on the drag strip, turn to the ‘standard’ Saleen F150 Sport Truck. Like the XR, the Saleen Sport Truck can be built with any F150 engine, as well as Saleen’s 700-hp supercharged engine, which includes an additional engine oil cooler. And according to Truck Trend, Ford’s standard 10-speed automatic can still keep up with the added power.

To help manage air intake and temperature, the Sport Truck gets a new grille and hood, with a functional air dam and air ducts to cool the brakes. The truck also gets Racecraft springs and shocks, as well as 22” wheels and General Grabber UHP tires, Truck Trend reports. And, if the standard vented disc brakes aren’t enough, Saleen can also install larger slotted and vented ones with 6-piston calipers.

Pricing comparison

2020 Saleen F150 Sport Truck rear
2020 Saleen F150 Sport Truck rear | Saleen

A new Saleen F150 Sport Truck can be built on standard cab, SuperCab, or SuperCrew trucks. Truck Trend reports Saleen recommends the XLT trim for its builds. Fully-equipped with a supercharger, a new Sport Truck can cost up to $75,500. However, it does still come with a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty.

Roush Ford F-150 Tactical Edition
Roush Ford F-150 Tactical Edition | Roush

That’s about the same as Roush’s F-150 Tactical Edition, but unlike Roush’s truck, Saleen’s isn’t a limited-edition. It is about $25,000 more than Long McArthur Ford’s SVT Lightning, but that truck only comes with 650 hp.

Used Saleen S331 Sport Trucks also occasionally pop up, priced similar to used Ford SVT Lightnings. As of this writing, there’s a 2008 model on Bring a Trailer with a bid of $18,500.

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