Ford really messed around with the F-150 SVT Lightning. Never meant as a “numbers” truck, it was a halo pickup to compete with Chevy’s 454 SS truck. But, it was not a “sticker” model. Though it shared most of its components with a garden-variety F-150, there was way more to them than that.
The first-gen lasted only three years-from 1993-1995. Then, it was quietly discontinued to make way for an all-new F-150. The SVT Lightning returned in 1999 and ran through 2004. An SVT concept was showcased at the 2003 Detroit Auto Show but the production version never happened.
Collectors are looking to buy F-150 Ford Lightning trucks
Today that first generation of Lightning is nearing collector status. A limited-edition high-performance truck with trick looks and numbers to match will always be a magnet for collectors at some point. Many laments there are no new Lightning manufactured, so one dealer has taken it upon themselves to bridge the gap.
Long McArthur Ford in Salina, Kansas, has been making as close to a new Lightning as one can get. Called the “F-150 LMST” the dealer’s in-house performance team does the makeover. Based on the 2019 F-150 XL, the pickups are modified both for looks and performance.
Long McArthur Ford makes the “F-150 LMST” Lightning
The stock 5.0-liter V8 “Coyote” engine receives a high-flow Roush supercharger for starters. The exhaust is routed through MBRP side exhaust. Other tweaks give the LMST 650 hp. The engine and transmission maintain their five-year/60,000-mile warranty. The supercharger is covered by a three-year/36,000-mile warranty.
The trucks are lowered with Bell Tech spindles, shocks and springs. The lowered frame rides on 22-inch Lightning-style wheels wrapped with Hankook performance tires. A body-color hood scoop identifies this as a special F-150, as do the LMST graphics that announce its arrival.
Inside a combo of leather and suede are used with special stitching in black and gray. Of course, the center-stack screen and Bluetooth remain as do all of the other Ford-equipped options and standard features.
Prices run just a bit over $50,000, and with a warranty and the fact these are brand new it’s a lot cheaper than trying to pull this off yourself. To have a new truck that takes on the legacy of the Lightning is a rare opportunity.
What made the original SVT F-150 Lightning so special?
When Ford decided to have their SVT team tackle the F-150 back in the early 1990s it began by tearing up the suspension. Extensive modifications were made that included reinforcing the frame and beefing up the suspension.
A 351 ci, 240 hp small block V8 was used as well as a ginormous four-speed automatic from an F-350. Most of the advertised performance numbers for the towing and payload were retained. All three years combined 11,563 Lightning were built.
For three years there was no new Lightning
For three years Ford opted not to produce another Lightning. Then in 1999, a more potent Lightning was launched. This one got the 5.4-liter Triton V8 with 360 hp, increased to 380 hp. It was backed by a four-speed automatic. Top speed was Guinness overseen at 147 mph for the title of the world’s fastest pickup.
The 2nd-gen’s six-year run netted 28,124 examples.
Though Ford took serious looks at another Lightning, it chose not to go down that direct path. Instead, it tweaked its objectives. What came from this was the Raptor, considered a descendant of the Lightning.