Though less powerful than even the smallest, 2.7-liter EcoBoost-powered 2021 Ford F-150, the original SVT Lightning remains a perfectly respectable sport truck. Powered by a 5.8-liter Windsor V8, the Lightning’s 240 horsepower and 340 pound-feet of torque made it stealthily superior to some of the era’s sport compacts, scrambling from zero to 60 in a reported 7.2 seconds, and down the quarter mile quicker than that year’s Honda Civic Si. So, though standards for performance trucks have been skewed by the likes of the Ram TRX and all the trucks it upstaged, the Lightning’s performance has remained steadfast, as demonstrated by a 151,000-mile example recently tested on a dyno.
Tested by Ford performance parts retailer Late Model Restoration, the 1995 Lightning shown here was a well-traveled, mostly stock specimen save for a Bassani mid-pipe and cat-back. Though these would’ve freed up a smidge extra power, they wouldn’t have made up for the wear of 151,609 miles indicated on its odometer—had those miles taken any toll on the Lightning, that is.
Run on a Dynojet chassis dyno, the Lightning laid down 210 horsepower and 275 torque as measured at the wheel, en route to which a few (but not many) got lost. A fine showing from the truck that—along with the Chevrolet C1500 454 SS—helped establish the market for full-size performance trucks, without which we might have never gotten trucks like the Chevy SSR, Dodge Ram SRT-10, or eventually, Ford F-150 Raptor or Ram TRX. Owners of the most powerful production pickup truck in history might not like to admit it, but they owe a lot to the original, Lady Gaga-approved Lightning.
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