The purpose of SVT, Special Vehicle Team, is to make Ford vehicles, well, special. It can be easier in some cases than others. For this exercise, the team would take the family transport and slam a shot of adrenaline right into its heart to produce something big and bad.
In 2000, the SVT Lightning pickup was in its seventh year of production. This niche performance pickup had a devout following, and Ford was producing 5000 units for that year. What was absent from the Ford lineup was a high performance SUV.
The Expedition provided the most logical platform given the lines shared characteristics. Thunder was born. Swapping in the Lightning's go-fast parts wasn't easy though. Tweaks were needed throughout—enough to limit the potential for production status.
As a prototype, the truck is buttoned up nicely—dressed in a matter befitting its beastly power upgrade. What better than a monochromatic black scheme to say hazardous horsepower ahead? Inside, the theme changes as creature comfort takes center stage. The tan Lightning leather buckets are as creamy as they look.
The real red meat can be found in the engine bay. The supercharged 5.4 liter is rated at 360 hp, but gas pedal impressions offer you a feeling of much more. Passenger reaction says it all. Whoooaaaaa is the usual non-expletive-laced response. While it feels like a rocketship, the real numbers are a lot more down to earth. Thunder wraps up the quarter mile in 14.1 seconds at just under 100 mph. That was pretty impressive, even for a sport sedan in 2000.