Ride of the Week: Smokin’ Hot Ford Lightning

Performance trucks give all the fun you’d expect from a muscle car while adding extra utility to the package. The Ford Lightning may have only been available in a couple short year spurts, but it continues to have a cult following for its unique pairing of muscle with truck. So when we saw George Dias’ track-modified ’02 Ford Lightning sitting on the lawn at Fabulous Fords Forever, we had to know more.

Catch the car spec details in the video above or read on for more of George’s story with this truck.

2002 Ford Lightning SVT

DL: How did you come to own a Lightning?

GD: I really didn't know much about Lightnings—just that I'd heard about them. When I decided to trade in my 4x4 Chevy pickup I left the house telling my wife “I’m going to come home with a Mustang.” At the dealer, I saw the truck and was curious enough to take a test drive. Once we took it out and I heard the blower whine, it was over. Bringing home afterward my wife asked if I got the Mustang and once she saw the truck in the driveway exclaimed “Oh, you got another truck!” But it really is the best of both worlds.

DL: What’s your favorite pastime in the Lightning?

GD: I love racing with it. In 2012 I saw autocross happening at a Goodguys event and decided to give it a try. I’d never done it before and at that time the truck was really set up for straight line drag racing. Although I had drag radials on the rear that day that weren't legal for autocross competition, I went out anyway and competed in the truck class.  I would have won the event, but I wasn’t technically a competitor since I had the drag radials on. At that point I was hooked on autocross. I made a tire change to the Nitto NT05s and started autocrossing the truck.

2002 Ford Lightning SVT Photos courtesy of George Dias.

DL: Have you done any other forms of racing?

GD: After joining my local SCCA chapter and autocrossing at events up and down California for a couple of years I expanded. Last year, I open road raced at the Silver State Classic event and just loved it. We’ve also done the Optima Ultimate Street Car Challenge before and loved it. Open road racing has me hooked, I’ll be back at the Silver State Classic again this year.

DL: What's your favorite thing about owning this car?

GD: That it’s different. At an event like Fabulous Fords Forever, where you have about 2,000 vehicles and about 1,200 of those are Mustangs, there’s just a narrow band of Lightnings. And when I show up to a race event, guys who are laughing at me when the day starts are coming over to talk to me about how well the truck did by the end.

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