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2003 Ford F150 Lightning - Riding Lightning

The Ultimate Retirement Hobby

John Mata Jr
Aug 1, 2010
Photographers: Dan Ward
Once Terry Rice, a retired Army veteran from Rockport, Indiana, realized that he had too much free time on his hands, he thought that starting some sort of project vehicle would be the perfect way to entertain himself. Being a fan of low-slung trucks and beefed-up muscle cars, Terry figured he could get the best of both worlds with his '03 Ford Lightning. For four years, this truck was tweaked to Terry's liking, inch by inch, and the final result is a hot hauler that is sure to appeal to custom truck and hot-rod heads alike.
Photo 2/7   |   2003 Ford F150 Lightning left Side Angle
Terry decided the best place to start was to chop the Lightning's suspension down a bit, so he handed it off to Extreme Trucking, in Owensboro, Kentucky, where they dropped it two inches in the front and four out back. Big SSBC brake rotors look great framed behind the 20x9.5-inch classic five-spoke Boss 335 wheels. Since Terry wanted his truck to rip the streets up like a legitimate speed demon, he selected a set of Nitto NT420S tires that would grip the pavement with unrelenting force.
The Lightning's factory-equipped 5.4L V-8 powerplant is already capable of attracting the attention of beat cops and their trusty radar guns, but Terry wanted to go even faster. With that being said, he quickly ordered an upgraded JLP cold air intake, lower pulleys, and a DiabloSport Predator performance chip for improved gas pedal excitement. With 15 psi of boost flowing through it, the supercharged engine lights up the rear tires whenever Terry feels like it.
Photo 3/7   |   2003 Ford F150 Lightning JLP Cold Air Intake
To better match the truck's new aggressive demeanor, the exterior was painted an electric colored shade of red straight from DuPont's Hot Hues line, but not before a Reflexxion hood was thrown on, and the rear tailgate handle was shaved. McCloud's Customs, in Cooperville, Tennessee, is responsible for the bodywork and paint, while Flip Lid Designs applied the lifelike lightning bolts.
The excitement continues inside the cab as fully 'glassed and painted dash and door panels keep the mood interesting while ripping around town. Tony Null installed a ton of audio/video accessories from Panasonic and MTX Audio that have been peppered throughout the interior and provide an overwhelming soundtrack for the streets. Tony also built the fiberglass sub enclosure between the seats and the enclosure inside the bed that houses the XBOX 360 and 27-inch RCA TV. Since the Lightning now handles and performs like a well-oiled race machine, Terry figured that custom racing seats and JVT Racing five-point harnesses would be the best way to assure the highest level of safety possible.
Photo 4/7   |   2003 Ford F150 Lightning interior
With his retirement project near its completion, Jerry would like to thank his wife Cindy for putting up with his antics, and his granddaughters, Diamond and Lucy, for helping keep the truck sparkling clean. We're looking forward to your next project, Jerry!


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