Lightning came into being as Ford’s response to General Motors’ new sport truck offering, the Chevy 454 SS. The automaker introduced the 454 for the 1990 model year, setting Ford’s SVT (Special Vehicle Team) into action to sport up the F-150. Both vehicles were near the beginning of the pickup truck’s image transition from a work vehicle into everyday family transport.
The SVT engineers made several changes to the F-150 in transforming it into, um, a high-performing road-hugger. All first-generation Lightning models used a tuned version of the 5.8-liter Windsor V8 producing 240 horsepower and 340 lb-ft of torque. Additional power was achieved via high flow rate heads, revised pistons, and special stainless steel headers. To handle the additional power, the transmission was upgraded, which meant there was only one option: The E40D four-speed automatic. All examples were two-wheel drive.
Ford contracted with retired racing driver Jackie Stewart for the Lightning’s handling development. The focus on performance required front and rear anti-roll bars and a revised leaf suspension in the rear. Power met the road via Firestone Firehawk tires.
Visual changes included fog lamps set within a new front air dam, unique design 17-inch wheels, a 120 mph speedometer, adjustable bucket seats, and a slightly lowered ride height. Completing the package were Lighting decals in various colors depending on exterior paint. Ford built 11,563 Lightnings between 1993 and 1995 before the model took a hiatus. The name would not return until 1999 and the 10th generation F-Series. Lightning was available in black, red, or white exterior colors, but only black and red trucks were made the first year.
Today’s Rare Ride is one of 2,585 red examples from 1993. With 55,000 miles and in good overall condition, it has crappy aftermarket lighting treatments. It asks $18,995 (a bit too much).