Ranger Thunderbolt Package Gets Ready to Make Some Noise
By: Michael Levine
a fan of General Motor's F-body twins, the Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac
Firebird, than you've probably heard of SLP Engineering. The Troy, Michigan
based niche vehicle manufacturer has been responsible for creating the
ground pounding, pavement eating high performance Camaro SS and Firebird
Firehawk spin-offs (325 and 335-hp respectively for 2001).
But all is
not well in the land of the GM pony cars. The still unconfirmed but continuous
rumble out of Detroit is that 2002 marks the end of the road for the F-body
So, SLP Engineering
has started to look for an alternative to the Camaro and Firebird and
has targeted the increasingly crowded, high-performance compact pickup
truck market as their next target. Already occupied by the Chevrolet
S-10 Xtreme and Toyota
S-Runner, SLP Engineering has partnered with Ford and will use its
Ranger compact pickup to go after younger truck enthusiasts looking to
get as much performance bang for the buck as possible on a limited budget.
Seems like the low 20K's is where all the action is happening in this
at around $1500, and ordered as an original equipment (not aftermarket)
option, the Thunderbolt Performance Package will be available to 2002
XLT 4x2 Ranger buyers looking to stand apart from the rest of the crowd
in looks and performance. The OE distinction is important because, like
the Camaro SS and Firebird Firehawk, the Ranger Thunderbolt will be fully
covered by Ford's factory warranty.
Thunderbolt will arrive with full-body exterior cladding, including a
new front fascia with sculpted bumpers, rocker panel extensions, a rear
roll panel, chromed rear exhaust tip and distinctive exterior badging
and wheel caps.
buyers will have the option of picking and choosing from a menu of SLP
add-ons for their Ranger to further control the price of the package.
options will include a performance package that adds 15-hp more to the
XLT's optional V6 engine using a cat-back exhaust system, cold air box
and free-flow filter.
strengthen the exterior's looks a monochromatic grille can be selected,
integrated fog lights added, a nonfunctional hood scoop installed and
rear tail bolted on. A lightning bolt graphics package and turn signal
mirrors will also be available along with a choice of hard or soft tonneau
the instrument panel can be enhanced with carbon fiber trim or brushed
aluminum accents. Floor mats with Thunderbolt logos and matching key fob
round out the options.
option package is expected to top out around $3000.
with Thunderbolt options are to be shipped to SLP Engineering's retrofit
facility in Shelbyville, KY where they will be customized with Thunderbolt
body and drivetrain components. Finished trucks will ship straight to
Ford dealerships. Total Thunderbolt production is expected to be around
5000 pickups the first year growing to 6500 in 2003.