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The Bargain Priced, 400 Horsepower Short Bed Ford F-150 is a Low Key SVT Lightning

When Ford announced it was bringing back the F-150 Lightning branding for its new all-electric pickup, it naturally got us thinking about the old F-150 Lightning, which was a fire-breathing, V8-powered muscle truck that Ford's Special Vehicles Team (SVT) cooked up back in the '90s and early 2000s.

A "Real" Modern Lightning

And whether it's the aforementioned, all-electric pickup or the off-road monster known as the Raptor, there are plenty of interesting options in the current F-150 lineup. And the only one that's missing is a proper, RWD, V8 street truck successor to the old SVT Lightning — but maybe it's not actually missing.

2022 Ford F-150 XL Red

While neither Ford nor any of the Detroit Big Three currently sell a branded street performance pickup, but that doesn't mean you can't option one out yourself. And you might be surprised just how fast and how affordable one of these trucks can be. 

2022 Ford F-150 XL Side View

While the single cab, short bed, half-ton pickup is rare sight on both the streets and dealership lots these days, Ford will still let you order one, and its offering just might be a modern version of the old SVT Lightning in a low key wrapper.

The Cheapest 5.0 You Can Get

The lightest, smallest and cheapest of all the 2022 F-150s, the XL trim 2WD, regular cab, short bed model comes standard with a 290 horsepower 3.3 liter V6 engine,

Ford SVT Lightning Burnout

 but for the insanely cheap price of $1,995 you can upgrade to Ford's potent 5.0 V8 engine - which makes 400 horsepower and 410 pound feet of torque.

2022 Ford F-150 Chassis

You also get Ford's ten-speed automatic transmission, and if you add in another 420 bucks Ford will also throw in a 3.31 limited slip rear differential. 

2022 Ford F-150 XL Front View

And the grand total MSRP for this truck with just the V8 and LSD as the only options? A very affordable $34,000. Those expecting all the high tech creature comforts will have to spend more - and Ford doesn't offer this configuration in anything higher than XLT model any way.

2022 F-150 Single Cab Interior

You still you still get the same bones as the much more expensive F-150s Ford sells, and even the bare bones XL model still has an 8" screen with SYNC4 and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

2022 F-150 XL Interior

Mustang with a Bed?

Given that it's a rare spec that will likely need to be special ordered, there isn't much performance data on a single cab short bed F-150 with the 5.0 V8. But it should be quick, especially with its light (for full-size truck) weight of about 4,100 pounds.

2022 F-150 XL Rear View

For comparison sake, the beloved second-generation SVT Lightning made 380 horsepower from its supercharged 5.4 V8 and weighed over 4,600 pounds. 

Yes the Lighnting had other tweaks to improve performance and aesthethics, but from a pure power/weight standpoint a new 5.0-powered F-150 should be just as quick if not quicker.

2004 Ford F-150 Lightning Front

And with its affordable MSRP, those wanting more performance good lean on the aftermarket to upgrade the suspension, fit wider wheels and stickier tires—or breathe on the 5.0 a bit to add some more power. And speaking of more power, a bolt-on supercharger would put output somewhere around 550 horsepower.

Shelby F-150 Nitto NT420

At the point it's unlikely Ford will build an official SVT Lightning successor, but with a little legwork you can basically build your own.

2022 F-150 Short Bed Blue

And in a time where V8, RWD performance vehicles are hard to find, this affordable, sleeper pickup might just be the undiscovered gem that could bring back the beloved street performance truck of the '90s and 2000s. 

Custom 2016 Ford F-150 shortbed 5.0L V8 muscle truck on NT420V tires

In the meantime if you want to know what could have been, check out this supercharged, four-door high performance Ford pickup that never reached production. 

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