Four-Door Ford Lightning: Remembering the Harley Davidson F-150
Ford’s second generation F150 SVT Lightning has become a legend in the street truck world. Coming in on the heels of the ‘90s fascination with sporty pickups, the two-door pickup came with a supercharged version of the 5.4L 2V Triton V8, making 380hp. 0-60 flashed by in a brisk 5.2 seconds.
The sporty nature did come with concessions, however, with the truck only available with a 800 lbs payload to start, and was increased to a still small 1350 lbs in 2003.
As great as the Lightning was at burning rubber, with the decreased utility and limited cab offerings, this supercharged F150 was mostly limited to enthusiasts that wanted a sports car in truck clothing.
Supercharged in a SuperCrew
There was, however, a second, more utilitarian option if you wanted a blown F-150 in the early 2000s. In 2003, the Harley Davidson special edition F150 was equipped with the same supercharged 5.4L V8 as the Lightning.
Ford and Harley first collaborated on the Harley-themed truck in 2000 as a mostly aesthetic package on the flareside Supercab variant. In 2001, the Supercrew was also included for those that needed the convenience of four full doors.
Running from 2000-2004, the first generation of this partnership was offered in either black or charcoal grey, with Harley inspired pinstriping, 20” chrome wheels, and a black leather interior. Needless to say, this truck was far from a subtle affair.
Intended to fit with the early 2000s “chopper” aesthetic, it was not uncommon to see these towing matching motorcycles down the interstate, headed to rallies all around the country.
Powered by Lightning
Interestingly, the first supercharged example of the Harley Davidson Lightning was delivered to Jay Leno in 2000. This was a one-off specifically for Jay, as the supercharged engine wouldn’t be available to the mass market until 2002. While Jay’s truck received the exact spec as the Lightning, the 2002 and 2003 models would be sold with a larger upper pulley for reduced boost pressure. The supercharged Harley trucks made forty less horsepower than the Lightnings, but still managed a 6 second 0-60.
Suspension wise, the Harley Davidson F-150s received a 1-inch drop compared to regular F150s. They also utilized the sport-tuned shocks from the Lightning, giving the truck a firmer ride. Unfortunately, that setup did affect towing capabilities (4500lbs), but not so much that it couldn’t tow a couple of Harleys.
100 Years of American Pride
For 2003, Ford used the Harley Davidson special edition to celebrate the two company’s shared 100th anniversary. Special badging was used all over the truck, and production was limited to around 10,000 units.
An Electric Revival?
While 2003 would be the last year for this iteration of the Harley Davidson F-150, the partnership would continue in other manifestations until 2012. Looking forward, we’d love to see a Harley Davidson version of the electric F-150 Lightning featuring Harley’s Livewire electric bike.
While the aesthetics of the original series have since fallen out of style (or at least become their own brand of vintage), an all-electric collaboration would be just what the two storied American brands need for another “Born in Detroit, Dressed in Milwaukee” revival.
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