Project Stealth Fighter 1999 Ford F-150 Lightning - Busted Knuckles
Flying Under the Radar but Always Ready to Throw Down
This rendering by Corey Calloway shows the sleekness of the Lightning with an Expedition frontend and fleetside bed. We’re trying to reproduce the SVT concept truck from 2004 that Ford never made. Bummer.
The SVT Raptor has been a huge success because of its looks, performance, and unique abilities. Flashback more than a decade and Ford’s SVT branch had another performance truck that had unique looks, performance, and abilities -- the Lightning. Much like the Raptor transforms a 4WD F-150, the SVT team transformed a standard cab F-150 with Lightning-specific body mods, wheels and tires, suspension and, of course, an Eaton supercharger force-feeding a 5.4L with side-exit exhaust. In our stable of trucks here at the magazine, we have a ’99 Lightning that served commuter duty for eight years. The truck was painted in 2000 with a two tone of orange and white with an airbrushed barbed wire graphic. It was cool back then, but we had big plans to completely transform the truck, which leads us to this month’s Busted Knuckles.
We first started the makeover more than three years ago when the truck received a full ’06 Expedition front-end conversion from LMC Truck. All Lightning trucks came with a stepside bed, so to change things up and help the truck be stealthy, we sourced a traditional fleetside bed and bolted that in place. Then things went downhill, and slowly. Three years went by and the truck was stuck in paint and body prison. After a trip to the shop with a trailer, the disassembled but painted truck was loaded up and brought back to our offices.
With the truck back in our possession, we reached out to the pros at L&G Enterprises, in San Dimas, California, to help put the truck back together, handle some much-needed touch-ups, and do a final cut and buff. Looking the part of a magazine project, we then addressed the ride height with a performance suspension made up of parts from Belltech, Hotchkis, QA1, Stifflers, and the fabrication ability of the Choppin’ Block in Fresno, California. We replaced the old 20-inch billets with 22-inch forged wheels from HRE and then wrapped them in high-performance Nitto NT-555 tires. Stopping chores are handled by Baer big brakes with bright-yellow six-piston calipers for a European flair.
Last month we showed you the Whipple supercharger upgrade, so we’ll let you go back and check out all of the details in that issue. We’ve also added Kooks long-tube headers, a Banks Monster exhaust, and Stainless Works through-the-body exhaust tip. Inside, we plan on laying down new ACC carpet, HushMat to keep the interior quiet, and wrap the factory seats in Roadwire’s finest leather.
Our goal for Project Stealth Fighter is to build a 15-year-old truck that is a legit competitor for our THROWDOWN performance truck series. When it’s not fighting on the track, we want the Lightning to be a complete street sleeper with plenty of power, sports car handling, and modern looks that make people scratch their heads. Stay tuned to see how we do it.
Thanks to LMC Truck, an entire ’06 Expedition frontend replaced the original F-150 sheetmetal and we found a donor who swapped his fleetside bed for the Lightning’s stepside. Unfortunately, the truck was in paint prison for three years and we had to pick it up on a trailer.
The stock supercharged 5.4L (shown here) only has 78,000 miles on it and thanks to Whipple, Kooks, Accufab, SCT, and AFCO Racing, it’s now putting down more than 465 rwhp. We also plan on dressing up the engine bay and making it look show worthy.
|Just The Facts|
|Year Make Model:||1999 Ford F-150 SVT Lightning|
|Owner and City/State:||Truckin magazine -- Irvine, California|
|Type:||5.4L SOHC V-8 330ci|
|Induction:||Whipple 2.3L supercharger, S&B filter, Accufab throttle body, SCT MAF|
|Exhaust:||Kooks Headers 1?-inch long-tube headers, Banks Monster muffler|
|Cooling:||AFCO Racing heat exchanger with twin E-fans|
|Tuner:||SCT custom tune by Whipple|
|Built by:||Whipple/Truckin magazine|
|Transmission:||4R100 four-speed auto|
|Rearend:||9.75-inch with 3.55 gears|
|Brakes:||Baer six-piston calipers with 15-inch rotors (f) and slotted rotors (r)|
|Front suspension:||Belltech 2-inch drop spindles, Hotchkis 1.5-inch Sport coil springs, QA1 Stocker Star adjustable shocks, Stifflers adjustable upper and lower control arms, Stifflers chassis stiffening system, Hotchkis 1½-inch front sway bar, custom wheeltubs by Choppin Block|
|Rear suspension:||Belltech 4-inch shackle and hanger kit, Hotchkis 2-inch drop leaf springs, QA1 Stocker Star adjustable shocks, Hotchkis 1-inch rear sway bar, Stifflers long bar traction system, AVS underbed C-notch by Choppin Block|
|Wheels & Tires|
|Wheels:||22x10.5 HRE TR-45 forged wheels in gunmetal grey|
|Tires:||285/35R22 Nitto NT-555|