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1st Gen Ford Lightning

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1st Gen Ford Lightning

Ford F150 Lightning Information Specs








The first generation Lightning was conceived by Ford's Special Vehicle Team (SVT), a division comprised of engineering and marketing personnel responsible for designing, developing and marketing limited-edition, high-performance vehicles for enthusiasts based on existing Ford inventory. The philosophy focused on design refinement, improving attributes of current models and, hopefully, making them image leaders for Ford. Specific attention was paid to the Lightning's powertrain and chassis to provide a balance of power and handling. In Ford's words: "For all intents, the F-150 Lightning is a Mustang GT with a cargo bed."

SVT built its first-generation Lightning’s on the 1987 to 1995 Ford truck platform, and only made minor adjustments for the three years the truck was available. For 1994, exterior changes included a center, high-mounted brake lamp and black aero mirrors. Like most vehicles, the Lightning switched to more environmentally friendly R-134A refrigerant in 1994, after using R12 Freon the first year of production. Production totals for the first generation are: 5,276 in 1993, 4,007 in 1994, and 2,280 in 1995. The color breakdown is as follows: 2,691 black and 2,585 red trucks in 1993; 1,382 black, 1,165 red and 1,460 white trucks in 1994; and in 1995, Ford built 824 black trucks, 695 in red and 761 in white. Total production for first-generation Lightning’s was 11,563.

SVT built the Lightning with a high-output V-8 based on the 5.8-liter, 351-cu.in. engine. To ensure you are buying a Lightning and not just an F-150 with Lightning accoutrements, look for the "R" code in the VIN. The engine had 8.8:1 compression, a 4-inch bore and 3.50-inch stroke. The stock hydraulic, flat-tappet camshaft specifications are: duration at 0.50; intake 200 degrees and exhaust 214 degrees; advertised duration is 260 degrees intake and 274 degrees exhaust.

SVT installed GT-40-type cast-iron cylinder heads, a tuned intake manifold, tubular stainless-steel headers, larger intake (1.84-inch) and exhaust valves (1.54-inch), high-flow ports, high-rate capacity fuel pump and injectors, revised combustion chambers, a redesigned air filter for improved airflow and a true dual exhaust system.

Other upgrades for the basic 5.8-liter V-8 included high-silicon aluminum hypereutectic pistons, a special camshaft for optimized valve tuning and a cartridge-type oil-to-water exchanger to control oil temperatures. Engineers also programmed the engine's computer control to deliver crisp throttle response and acceptable fuel economy. Lightning output resulted in a then very healthy 240hp at 4,200 rpm and 340-lbs.ft. of torque at 3,200 rpm. The Lightning distributor uses a special cap with aluminum contacts and is the recommended cap for Lightning’s. This cap is made of Rynite, which has high dielectric properties.

This power plant could produce 0-60 times of 7.2 seconds, 0-100 mph in 25.7 seconds and cover the quarter mile in 15.6 seconds at 87.4 mph. Not lightning fast, but the 351 had to propel almost 4,500 pounds. Top speed was electronically limited to 110 mph. EPA fuel economy leaves something to be desired at 12 mpg city and 16 mpg highway. Firing order on Ford Lightning 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8

Only one transmission came with a Lightning: the E4OD electronically controlled four-speed automatic. For the Lightning application, engineers recalibrated it to handle the power and added an auxiliary oil cooler. A 4.0-inch diameter aluminum driveshaft combined sufficient torque capacity with minimal weight. This transmission featured automatic overdrive with brake/shift interlock and carried the following gear ratios: 1st: 2.71:1; 2nd: 1.54:1; 3rd: 1.00:1; 4th (OD): 0.71:1; and 2.18:1 in reverse.

A 4.10:1-ratio rear axle housed a limited-slip differential inside a heavy-duty 8.8-inch rear end filled with synthetic lube. Ford factory lube is still available from a dealer, but is pricey at $17 per quart. The rear end housing also was Lightning-specific, featuring external cooling fins to reduce temperatures.

Suspension & Brakes
The front suspension was standard F-150 fare, with twin I-beams. But a one-inch anti-roll bar kept things in check. The rear suspension included a rigid axle and leaf springs, as you'd expect from a pickup. The front shocks were Monroe Formula GP gas units with a 1.375-inch bore. Both front and rear anti-roll bars measured 1 inch and the entire suspension was lowered 2.5 inches from stock. The leaf springs contained a single leaf.

Each Lightning had power steering, integral recirculating ball type with a 17.0:1 ratio. The steering system was reworked with a larger Pitman arm and improved-response power steering control valve.

The braking system used power-assisted front disc/rear drum setup with anti-lock brakes on the rear wheels only. The rotors measured 11.72 inches and the rear drums 11.03 inches x 2.25 inches wide. These brakes brought a Lightning to a halt in 143 feet from 60 mph.

Wheels & Tires
The Lightning came standard with 17-inch by 8-inch aluminum wheels with Firestone Firehawk GTA P275/60HR17 blackwall tires. The back spacing on stock Lightning wheels is 4.5 inches and the stock bolt pattern is 5 x 5.5 inches.

A full, ladder-welded steel frame, doubled at the kick-up and rails measuring 0.170 inches were used. Running under the chassis is a true dual stainless steel exhaust system with four catalytic converters, two mufflers and two tailpipes that exit behind the passenger wheel.

The wheelbase measured 116.8 inches, the overall length (including the rear bumper) was 201.8 inches, ground clearance stood at 8.2 inches, front track 64.2 inches, rear track 63.5 inches, and curb weight hit the scale at 4,480 pounds. The Lightning's width measured 79 inches and overall height stood at 68.9 inches. Weight distribution measured 55.8 percent in front and 44.2 percent out back.

Like all Ford trucks at the time, the Lightning had a welded, all-steel body and featured a color-keyed rear step bumper. Buyers could order an optional color-keyed tubular bumper, as the original owner chose on our Buyer's Guide feature truck. The grille was color-keyed, along with the headlamp bezels and front bumper, which also included an integral air dam and fog lamps.

If someone is selling a green 1993 Lightning, walk away, because only Raven Black and Bright Red, both without clearcoat, could be ordered. In 1994, Ebony, Crimson (a special red available only in 1994), and Oxford White were available, but now with clearcoat. All of the 1994 colors carried over for 1995.

The dual fuel tanks held a whopping 34.7 gallons and today would cost around $100 to fill, even with regular unleaded. The maximum payload and trailer weights stood at 745 pounds and 5,000 pounds respectively. Other options include: electric side mirrors, trailer towing package, sliding rear windows and a security group with remote keyless entry/anti-theft system on 1994 and 1995 models only. The side rear-view mirrors are black only for the first generation.

Look around the cabin and, at first glance, you won't find anything too much different than the standard F-150 cab. The two most obvious improvements are the perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel and the multi-adjustable cloth bucket seats.

The seats themselves are incredible, and quality-wise would stack right up there with high-end Recaros. These seats are Lightning-specific and, to the owner's knowledge, not available in any other Ford product. They're covered in a charcoal tweed with Lightning embroidery on the seatbacks. Each seat has six-way power adjustment as well as a unique adjustment to allow for better leg support.

Since the F-150 was designed for either a bench seat or a 60/40 split bench, it left a big hole in between the seats, which in this example is filled with a plastic floor console out of the same-generation Bronco. A rare option is a console with a fold-down jump-seat.

Instrumentation includes a 6,000-rpm tachometer, 120-mph speedometer and other gauges to monitor oil pressure, water temperature, and electrical system charging. Included were embroidered floor mats. Optional were auto-dim mirrors and double sun visors.

The interior was based on the XLT trim and a Preferred Equipment Package, which included air conditioning, power door locks/windows, electronic AM/FM stereo with cassette, digital clock and four speakers, cruise control and a tilt wheel.

In 1993, the only available interior color was Charcoal; Opal Gray in 1994 and Dark Charcoal in 1995.

Legroom measured 41.4 inches, headroom was 39.6 inches, and overall cab volume was 62 cubic feet. Standard interior equipment on a 1993 to 1995 Lightning included: supplemental restraint system, driver's side airbag (1994-1995 only), XLT trim; premium bucket seats with power lumbar support; center floor console (on 1993 and some 1994 trucks) or center folding seat (on some 1994 and all 1995 trucks); electric AM/FM stereo with cassette/digital clock and four speakers. A CD player could be ordered in 1994 and '95.

Other standard equipment included: power windows; power door locks; air conditioning; cruise control; tilt wheel; intermittent wipers and light and convenience Group B.

1st Gen Lightning Productions Numbers


5,276 produced.
•2,691 Black
• 2,585 Red


4,007 produced.
• 1,382 Black
• 1.165 Red
• 1,460 White


2,280 produced.
• 824 Black
• 695 Red
• 761 White

Lightning 351W Engine Specs

Engine Configuration:

90 degree V-8


5.8L, 351 cubic inches.

Bore x Stroke:

4.0" bore x 3.5" stroke

Compression Ratio:

8.8 : 1


Naturally aspirated, custom Lightning tubular intake manifold, 1 x 65mm throttle body.


True dual exhaust, stainless steel tubular exhaust headers.

Cylinder Heads:

GT-40 high flow cast iron cylinder heads.
• 1.84" intake valve
• 1.54" exhaust valve


240 hp @ 4,200 rpm


340 lb-ft @ 3,200 rpm

1st Gen. Lightning Specs


1st Generation Ford SVT F150 Lightning


2wd, regular cab, fleetside bed.

Years Produced:


Production Location:

Trucks built at Ford's Michigan Truck Plant in Wayne, Michigan.


351W V-8 with GT-40 heads and hypereutectic pistons.


• 240 hp @ 4,200 rpm


• 340 lb-ft @ 3,200 rpm


• 0 - 60 in 7.6 seconds, 110 mph top speed.


E40D 4 speed automatic


Ford 8.8" solid rear axle with 4.10 : 1 ratio & limited slip differential.

Front Suspension:

Twin I Beam with coil springs, Monroe Formula GP shocks, and a 1.0" stabilizer bar. Truck lowered 1.0" in front.

Rear Suspension:

Solid rear axle with leaf springs, Monroe Formula GP shocks, and a 1.0" stabilizer bar. Truck lowered 2.5" in rear.


17" cast aluminum 5 spoke wheels. Firestone Firehawk GTA tires, size P275/60HT-70.


• ABS disc brakes with 11.72" rotors.
• ABS drum brakes with 11.03" x 2.25" drums.



  • Acceleration - 0-60 mph: 7.6 seconds
  • EPA Estimates - 12 mpg city / 17 mpg highway


  • Wheelbase - 116.8"
  • Overall Length - 201.8"
  • Front Tread Width - 64.2"
  • Rear Tread Width - 63.5"
  • Headroom - 39.6"
  • Legroom - 41.1"
  • Curb Weight - 4313 lb

Available Options

  • Tubular Rear Bumper
  • Electronic Mirrors, Black
  • Trailer Towing Package
  • Sliding Rear Window
  • Dual 32 Gal fuel tanks




Although there is not always an official truck, this 1994 Ford SVT F-150 Lightning was named the Official Truck of the Indianapolis 500. In 1994, Ford provided 10 identical white SVT Lightnings, complete with decals, for use by drivers and crew chiefs, who could sign out the vehicles when needed, for use both at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and beyond. 









Ford F150 Lightning XLT - Long-Term Wrapup
Click on Picture






























Another Review From Road Test Mag on PowerBlock.

1St Gen advantages over 2nd Gen Ford Lightning

Lower Production Numbers

-         1st Gen Total = 11,563

-         2nd Gen Total = 28,124

Better Handling

-         1St Gen = Skid pad, g 0.88

-         2nd Gen =  Skid pad, g 0.85

Lighter Weight

-         1st Gen Curb Weight Lbs. = 4313

-         2nd Gen Curb Weight Lbs. = 4670






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