1994 Ford F150 Lightning - SOLD
  • Overview & History
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Showing just 3708 original miles (not a typo) it is completely original right down to the tires.

Big engines in pickup trucks are nothing new, but making a pickup truck into a sporty vehicle that can also handle well is somewhat of a novelty. Chevy introduced the 454SS in 1990, a truck that simply combined some off-the-shelf pieces (a 454 and a short-bed 1500 pickup) to create a new kind of muscle machine, but Ford’s SVT Lightning was an altogether different animal. Better handling, improved comfort, and an all-around well-engineered package designed to do everything well was the Lightning’s forte. Using a 351 Windsor V8 fortified with all the goodies from the Ford Motorsports 5.0 Mustang catalog, there was plenty of power on tap. But unlike the Chevy, it was a relatively lightweight small block package, which allowed the Lightning to also lean into curves like no other pickup truck before it. A subtle look was purely intentional, too, creating a kind of sleeper that was incredibly appealing to both performance car buyers and traditional truck owners. Today the Lightning enjoys a cult following and first-generation trucks are seeing the same kind of strong enthusiast support as their Mustang cousins. As Ford themselves said in period literature, the Lightning is “a Mustang GT with a cargo bed.”

This 1994 Ford F150 Lightning might just be the finest one in the world. Showing just 3708 original miles (not a typo) it is not only completely original right down to the tires, but it has been immaculately maintained and protected every single day of its life. Its wipers have never seen rain, a passenger has ridden shotgun only a handful of times, and whenever it was driven, it was carefully wiped down and stored under a cover. The owner informs us that this truck has never even been washed with water! If you’re one of those fanatics who craves perfection, we submit that production vehicles can’t be much better than this.

In 1994, 4007 Lightning pickups were built, so they’re not exactly common today and seeing one on the street is still a treat. Better still, only 1382 of them were black, which is arguably the best color for these trucks—sinister and imposing. The paint and bodywork on this truck are 100% factory-applied and in excellent condition throughout with a bit of light orange peel in the finish that’s typical of factory paints from the era. The chin spoiler, the fog lamps, the painted bumper, and the grille are all in excellent shape with no road rash or damage from flying debris, and the rocker panels have not been blasted by gravel coming off those giant Firestones. The doors open and close with the same feel they had when they were new (the owner says he stored the truck with the doors only on the first click so that the weather seals were not compressed) and even the black painted trim, which always turns an ashy gray in the sun, is as new. Lightning decals, which are reflective, are beautifully preserved and not cracked or peeling, and it’s worth noting that while you can replace the ‘Lightning’ script, the lightning bolt itself is not reproduced. Even the bed, which is often the hardest-hit part of a truck, is like new and has never been used for, well, anything. The only thing that has touched the corrugated bed surface is a wax applicator and soft towel.

The Lightning interior is also a more sporting place to be than your garden-variety F150, thanks in large part to a pair of supportive cloth buckets. The fabric is durable and comfortable, a kind of gray tweed that is easy to clean and has pronounced side bolsters that are a good idea in a truck like this. As you’d expect, there’s zero wear on any of the major components, no scuffs on the seat bolsters, and if there’s any demerit, there is some discoloration on the removable floor mat that is only visible under the harsh lights in our studio. Lightnings only came one way: loaded, but there were a few options and this truck has all of them, including A/C, power windows and locks, cruise control, power lumbar support for both seats, and dual gas tanks. Entertainment comes from an AM/FM/cassette stereo that has never held a cassette tape, and there’s a console between the seats that includes plenty of storage and a pair of cup holders. There’s also a sliding rear window, and if you haven’t driven a pickup with one of these, you’ll be very pleasantly surprised by how comfortable it makes the interior, even without the A/C; fresh air without a lot of wind. Everything works correctly, even the A/C, and the truck feels brand new from behind the wheel.

That’s all nice, but the Lightning’s real reason for existing was horsepower. You might remember the Chevy 454SS that started this muscle truck thing, and it used a 454 cubic inch V8 to make 230 horsepower. Not bad for the early 1990s, but the Lightning does it better, offering 240 horsepower and 340 pounds of torque from a Windsor-based 351 cubic inch V8 that loves to rev. Mustang fans will quickly recognize the tubular “GT40” intake manifold, which, today, is a shockingly expensive upgrade on a 5.0 Mustang, and it’s the heart of the Lightning’s improved performance. It also got a matching set of GT40 iron heads, a larger throttle body, larger fuel injectors, and a special camshaft that puts it all to work. The added cubes of the 5.8 liter engine give it a lot more grunt than the 5.0 and you’ve never driven an old pickup truck that likes to rev like this one does. The engine bay is 100% factory original, right down to the air filter, although the fluids and battery have been changed over the years. All the original tags, markings, fasteners, and other little pieces that disappear over the years are here. It starts instantly and idles smoothly, which is a trademark of Ford’s EEC-IV fuel injection, and thanks to the maintenance this truck has received, it’s ready to go anywhere at a moment’s notice.

SVT engineers gave the chassis a long list of tweaks as well, starting with the suspension, which was lowered about 2.5 inches compared to a standard F150 and there are giant sway bars at both ends. Spring rates were re-tuned to improve handling and ride quality, albeit at the expense of load-carrying capacity, but it’s not like this truck is ever going to Home Depot for a load of plywood, right? A quick-shifting E4OD 4-speed automatic overdrive transmission was the only choice in the Lightning and it’s a good one, offering snappy off-the-line response with a tall overdrive that makes the 4.10 gears out back feel a lot more civilized on the highway. The rear end is an 8.8-inch unit that should be familiar to Ford fans of all kinds and a limited slip differential was standard equipment. A burbling dual exhaust was also part of the package as were ABS brakes, with big discs up front. Special 17x8 aluminum wheels were created just for these trucks, and those on this black Lightning are completely unmarked and as new, and, perhaps most remarkably still wear their original 275/60/17 Firestone radials, which are all but impossible to replace today.

A true time capsule of a truck, this is a benchmark for the collector who insists on the very best. A lot of these trucks were beaten and abused, but the day is not far off when they will become legitimate collectables. In the meantime, it’s a special machine that makes you feel special when you drive it and as long as you mind the mileage, you’ll always have one of the very best examples of the truck that started it all.

Vehicle: 1994 Ford F150 Lightning
Price: SOLD
Stock Number: 113041
Mileage: 3708
VIN: 1FTDF15R6RLA77531
Engine: 351 cubic inch V8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Gear Ratio: 4.0999999999999996
Wheelbase: 117 inches
Wheels: 17-inch cast aluminum
Tires: 275/60/17 Firestone radial
Exterior Color: Ebony
Interior Color: Charcoal cloth
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