Custom 1999 Ford SVT Lightning - Fresh-Squeezed Lightning
A Tasty Blend Of Nitrous Oxide And Supercharged Performance
OK, so we titled the story using a questionable adjective. The point is that Rich Johnson of Riverview, Florida, improved his '99 Ford SVT Lightning. He added just enough tastefully chosen aftermarket products to improve the performance, appearance, and his enjoyment, as well as ours, of his Lightning. Here's how this Florida-based sport trucker approached his truck's buildup.
Ride height and stance set the tone of the vehicle's street presence, so Johnson lowered the Lightning's ride height 3 inches at the nose and 4 inches at the tail. Johnson installed Belltech lowering springs (not offset spindles), and Nitro Active shocks control the stock 18-inch wheel and 295/45-18 Goodyear Eagle F1 tire package. He lowered the rear suspension by installing Belltech drop hangers and shackles, and as with the front suspension, he installed Nitro Active shocks, again retaining the stock wheels and tires. By the way, Johnson gets extra style points because he installed the suspension components himself.
With the Lightning's stance set, Johnson began subtly altering the exterior styling with the help of Magna Autobody in Riverview. He improved the appearance of the nose by installing a Street Scene Speed Grille and '01 SVT Lighting headlights. He also replaced the taillights with '01 Lighting units and installed a Sir Michaels roll pan, painted the rear window trim to match, installed Trenz billet inserts in the side steps, and installed a Bedrug. He finished the truck's exterior with an A.R.E tonneau with a Fiero wing.
Interior-wise, Johnson worked with Fred's Auto Interior in St. Petersburg, Florida, to put together a stylish, functional interior. They installed faux carbon-fiber dash trim, custom-stitched the upholstery on the bucket seats, installed an '01 Expedition console with CD changer inside, and mounted a couple of gauges on the A-pillar. To this sport sedan-inspired interior, the owner enhanced the stock audio system with a Clarion five-channel 500-watt amp, an MTX Thunder Form subwoofer enclosure containing JL Audio W3 10-inch subs, and Polk Audio DX-3 component speakers front and rear.
Engine mods were easy. If you've got a 360hp, factory intercooled, supercharged engine, the easy way to upgrade is to install a nitrous oxide system with the appropriate engine-management tweaks. Johnson followed that line of reasoning and installed a 100hp-shot NOS kit with a Super Chip to handle the tuning. The combination, according to the owner, is good for low 13-second e.t.'s for sure and perhaps a 12.9-second e.t. with the later-model supercharger pulley that increases the stock 8-psi boost to 10-psi.
Johnson's truck exemplifies one our favorite approaches to building a sport truck: Start with a great truck and chose your modifications to always enhance the appearance or performance. When you do that, you always achieve great results.