As a showcase for powertrain innovations, the 2006 F-150 Harley-Davidson
breaks new ground with the availability of all-wheel-drive. That’s
a first for any Ford pickup and another step in attracting active truckers
in regions prone to inclement weather.
But the seventh edition of the alliance between Ford and Harley doesn’t
push the styling envelope. The familiar deep black paint, large chrome
wheels, orange graphics and leather/chrome interior trim returns. It’s
a comfortable look and one that surely will appeal to Harley faithful.
Maybe I’m getting a little jaded by the Harley-Davidson model, but
finding aesthetic pleasure in another black-on-black truck is tough, especially
when you look back at the surprises the Harley model has offered over
is the return to the SuperCab configuration. The first H-D model in 2000
was a SuperCab followed by three years of SuperCrew models, and those
were among the best-looking of any Harley-themed truck. The 2004 and 2005
models grew to Super Duty size as Ford needed a diversion to introduce
the next generation F-150 platform. Ford is selling every SuperCrew it
builds, so it stands to reason that the marketing department wants to
inject some life in the dwindling SuperCab market by attaching the Harley
badge to the fender. Ford, however, didn’t take that chance with
the King Ranch edition.
The 2006 F-150 Harley-Davidson still commands attention even though the
smaller configuration may not appeal to owners with families or lots of
drinking buddies. The deep, rich black paint looks as glossy as ever and
is accented by orange-trimmed-in-blue scallops. Gone are the lovable flames
but the bold die-cast fender emblems continue to announce the package
The new 22-inch wheels are the highlight of the package. These forged
alloy wheels are more contemporary in their styling and retain the 5-spoke
tradition of the model. Considerable engineering was needed to adapt the
huge wheels to the suspension and chassis.
“Large rims definitely can affect ride characteristics,”
explains Gary Braddock, chief designer at Ford Product Design. “Jounce—up
and down movement—is something you have to be especially aware of
when putting larger rims on a truck. That is why the wheels are forged
rather than cast. Forging produces a stronger aluminum, allowing us to
use less material in the wheel and retain the strength without adding
the wheels and providing a little edge to the stance are chrome-trimmed
side tubes and a lower, meaner looking chin spoiler.