The Ford F-150 Lightning has earned a legendary spot in car culture, including with its role as the shop truck in The Fast and The Furious. The first generation SVT Lightning (1993-1995) did have a 240 horsepower tune of Ford’s 5.8-liter V8. But it was also a full-size front-engine RWD pickup truck. It would be relatively slow by modern supertruck standards–and was not even the fastest pickup truck of its day.
How quick was the first Ford Lightning?
Ford’s Special Vehicle Team (SVT) built the first generation F-150 Lightning from 1993-1995. Car and Driver tested the Lightning’s 0-60 MPH time at 7.2 seconds. It finished the 1/4 mile in 15.8 seconds with a top speed of 86 MPH.
How long did it take the SVT Lightning to get up to 100 MPH? 25.7 seconds. Its absolute top speed was 110 MPH.
Was the SVT Ford Lightning the fastest truck?
When the 1993 F-150 Lightning came along, it couldn’t beat the Chevrolet 454SS. Chevy’s full-size sport truck could reach 60 MPH in just 7.1 seconds, run the 1/4 mile in 15.7 and reach 100 MPH in 22.5 seconds–according to Car and Driver.
While these two half-ton pickup trucks duked it out, neither came close to the record for the world’s fastest production truck. Back in 1993, that still belonged to the 1991 GMC Syclone. This compact truck paired a turbocharged V6 out of the Buick Grand National with an AWD chassis for an unprecedented 5.3-second 0-60 MPH time.
In its defense, the SVT Lightning was still a full-size truck with truck capabilities. The compact GMC Syclone had such soft suspension that its payload capacity was just 500 pounds.
Was the original F-150 Lightning faster than modern supertrucks?
In a word: no. Modern factory-built supertrucks combine an engine tuned for sports cars with all-time 4WD to trounce most anything else in a race to 60 MPH. The RWD 1993 Lightning, with its 240 horsepower engine, would get left in the dust by most of them.
One example is the Ram 1500 TRX with its 702-horsepower supercharged Hellcat engine. Car and Driver tested its 60 MPH time at 3.7 seconds. It can run the 1/4 mile in 12.3 seconds at 110 MPH, and its top speed is limited to 118 MPH by a governor.
Another example is the Ford F-150 Raptor R. With a supercharged V8 based on the engine in the Shelby Mustang GT500, it features very similar specs to the TRX: 3.6 seconds 0-60 and the 1/4-mile in 12 seconds flat.
Since the era of the 1993 Ford F-150 SVT Lightning, the world of the supertruck has changed completely. And now, it is changing again. The new fastest truck is the electric Rivian R1T with a 3.3 second 0-60 time and a 1/4-mile time of 11.9 seconds.
Is the new Ford F-150 Lightning faster than the original SVT Lightning?
The new, electric Ford F-150 Lightning got to 60 MPH in just 4.0 seconds, then finished the 1/4-mile in just 12.7 seconds in its Car and Driver test. That makes it considerably faster than Ford’s 1993 SVT Lightning which earned 7.2 seconds and 15.8 seconds, respectively.
It’s interesting that, in many other ways, the two trucks are comparable. Both are special editions of the full-size F-150 with completely unique drivetrains. Both trucks maintain half-ton truck capabilities while offering sporty performance–for their day. If the future is electric, the future is looking pretty fast.
Next, see why the electric Ford Lightning Pro is a bargain, or learn more about Ford’s SVT department in the video below:
See Hoonigan’s 500 horsepower SVT Lightning in this final video: