The First Ford Lightning Was a Fitting Finale for the Square Body F-150
The Ford Lightning, the first fully electric F-150, is becoming a household name. But it is far from the first F-150 Lightning. That distinction goes to the 1993-1995 Lightning, a powerful special edition that ushered in the era of the supertruck. The Lightning was also a fitting finale for the square body F-150.
Was the 1993 Ford Lightning supercharged?
The first generation “square body” Ford F-150 SVT Lightning (1993-1995) had lowered and stiffened suspension and an engine tuned for 240 horsepower. But SVT did not fit the Lightning with a supercharger until the supertruck’s second generation debuted in 1999.
Many of the Special Vehicle Team’s (SVT) modifications focused on the F-150’s suspension. The team started with a regular-cab/short-bed ninth-generation F-150 (the last generation of the square body truck). They opted for the stiffer 4WD frame and reinforced it further, even though the Lightning was RWD. They lowered the truck one inch up front and 2.5 inches in the rear. Then they added thicker anti-roll bars, calibrated Monroe Formula GP shock absorbers, and an additional leaf spring designed to limit wheel hop.
SVT also fitted a 351 cubic-inch Windsor V8 with heads from the GT40 and tuned it for 240 horsepower and 340 lb-ft of torque. The Lightning received a heavy-duty four-speed automatic engineered for Ford’s diesel trucks, aluminum driveshaft, and 4.10:1 limited-slip differential.
How fast was the first Ford Lightning?
Its 0-60 time was 7.2 seconds, and it did the 1/4-mile in 15.8 seconds. Ford built its 1993 F-150 Lightning to compete with the Chevrolet 454SS. According to Car and Driver, SVT missed the big-block Chevy’s acceleration numbers by a hair. But it created a vehicle that was much more refined and all-around performance oriented.
Chevrolet’s approach to a 1990 muscle truck was to throw the biggest possible V8 into a half-ton pickup. Ford gave its square body F-150 Lightning project to the team that built the Cobra, and it shows. The result is that the 1993 F-150 Lightning feels more like a sports car in every aspect, from interior layout to handling.
Both these trucks lost out to the 1991 GMC Syclone. That AWD compact pickup made it to 60 MPH in just 5.3 seconds, beating out the Ferrari Ferrari 348ts in Car and Driver‘s famous head-to-head. But the F-150 Lightning can do something the Syclone can’t: truck stuff.
How much is a 1993 Ford Lightning worth?
The fame of the 1993-2004 Ford F-150 SVT Lightning certainly overshadows the 1993-1995 square body version and may be keeping its prices low. While well-kept Lightnings are listed for $30k-$40k–such as this recent example on Cars and Bids–some sources say they sometimes sell for $10k or less.
How much is a classic square body Ford F-150 Lightning worth? That entirely depends on whether it’s in work truck shape or classic collectors’ vehicle shape. Here’s the trade-off of the first F-150 Lighting: SVT ensured that the performance truck retained almost all of its original towing and payload capacity–unlike the GMC Syclone, which sacrificed capability for speed.
This feature makes the 1993-1995 generation of the F-150 Lightning one of the coolest older supertrucks around. It is a fitting culmination of the square body F-150 generations, iconic dependable work trucks. But it also means that some F-150 Lightnings have been driven hard. This may be why Donut Media added the first-gen F-150 Lightning to its list of cool trucks you can buy for $10k or less.
Next, see all the used supertrucks you can buy for $10k or see a review of the first-gen Lightning in the video below: