Continuing the migration
of Lightning parts to the Ranger, the ‘Bolt wears the same edgy
5-spoke aluminum wheels but they were widened to 12-inches in the rear
to seat the massive 345/35ZR18s Michelin tires and narrowed to 8-inches
up front to handle 235/40ZR18s. Production brakes from the Lightning easily
stop the lighter Ranger.
Inside the Lightning
Bolt the Ranger seats were reskinned with black custom leather courtesy
of Katzkins Creations. The seats have embossed lightning bolts between
the seatbacks and headrests.
Dempster also told
us that, "Many additional trim parts are dyed and painted black.
Custom Auto Carpets provided the black carpeting to keep the black color
consistent throughout the interior. A 450 watt killer audio system is
installed courtesy of Pioneer Automotive Electronics. MGW Industries provided
the billet aluminum interior knobs and trim parts and X-treme Graphics
and Lettering provided the custom gauge faces for the instrument cluster.
Northern Engraving provided the brushed stainless sill plates.”
was painted in Ford’s new sonic blue color - even though it looks
kind of purplish. The clear taillights and body painted mirrors come from
Car Boutique. To finish off the SVT Lightning Bolt Ranger, custom lightning
bolt graphics were added to the doors.
air intake and other engine components were also painted sonic blue in
a nice touch of detailing.
After walking around
and learning about the history of the Lightning Bolt we finally had a
chance to get behind the wheel and take it for two runs down Las Vegas
Motor Speedway’s dragstrip.
The headers and exhaust
sang low but refined notes as the engine rumbled to life with a turn of
the key. It’s only a subtle clue though to the power under the hood.
from Dempster were to not “immediately hammer down on the pedal
at the green” but to firmly and consistently apply the accelerator
until you reached the floor over a time span of about 1.5 seconds.
Woe to those
journalists who didn’t listen to this bit of advice because they
quickly found the rear tires spinning and smoking while the truck stood
still and spectators ogled or the stump pulling torque began forcing them
right into the other lane until they let off on the pressure they were
applying to the pedal.
Let me just
say that my first run was great. Not perfect, but great. I lined myself
up next to a stock Lightning for the ¼-mile sprint and when the
lights turned green at the bottom of the “Christmas tree”
I hit the pedal just like Dempster suggested and within the first few
feet I pulled away from the Lightning and reached the end of the track
in 13.8 seconds at 102mph. The whine and roar of the 5.4-liter easily
penetrated my helmet and if there had been a passenger next me in the
truck they could have seen my grin right through my Nomex balaclava.
This is one
claimed that at the time we dragged the Lightning Bolt it was not entirely
race ready. “It will get down into the 12s eventually with proper
In between runs in
the Lightning Bolt (they practically had to pry the keys out of my hand
after the first run) I jumped into a 2003 Lightning for comparison. The
Lightning remains the performance champ among production pickups and it
demonstrated its racing prowess by doing the ¼-mile in 14.1 seconds
at 99mph. SVT should be rightfully proud of what they have done to move
a full size truck over a ¼-mile so expeditiously.
run in the Lightning Bolt can only be described as sub-par. Don’t
ask me what I was thinking but at the green I was asleep at the wheel
and didn’t snap back to reality for about a full second. Meanwhile,
a 2003 Mustang Mach 1 (305hp / 320lb-ft V8) in the lane next to me was
quickly becoming a set of ever-smaller taillights. But the Lightning Bolt
was about to demonstrate just how incredible it truly is as a street racer.
As I accelerated
the Mustang was about 2 car lengths ahead of me. By half way down the
track we were neck and neck and at the end of the ¼-mile the Lightning
Bolt handily beat the Mustang.
The SVT Lightning
Bolt Ranger is one hell of a fun and capable ride.
So, how likely
is it that the Lightning Bolt Ranger will see actual production? Not very.
The SVT Lightning Bolt Ranger remains only a concept at this point. But
you never know. Even the biggest floods start with a small trickle.