Call it a toy. Call it wild and crazy. But don't even think about calling it slow or boring. We're talking about one of the most monstrous small pickups we've ever driven: the Ford SVT Lightning Bolt Ranger prototype.
The Lightning Bolt started life as a Flareside regular-cab Ranger and is the brainchild of Dave Dempster, an SVT Powertrain Systems engineer. Dempster's goal was to build a small pickup "that would get your full attention on those occasions when the accelerator pedal might get exercised aggressively."
While there are no plans to put the Bolt into production, Dempster's intent for the project was to use as many off-the-shelf hardware pieces to simplify the fabrication challenges and keep costs down.
In place of the stock 2.5-liter I-4 engine rests a supercharged 5.4-liter V-8 transplanted from a 2002 SVT F-150 Lightning. This two-valve SOHC pumps out 380 horsepower at 4750 rpm and is backed by a 4R100 four-speed automatic transmission.
Obviously, the engine is much larger than the I-4, but, surprisingly, the V-8 fits in the Ranger nicely. The swap included the fabrication of new engine mounts, a new air intake, two-inch exhaust headers, and a three-inch stainless-steel dual exhaust system. The battery was relocated from under the hood to the bed, and the large HVAC plenum was replaced with a smaller unit from an E-Series Ford van.