Torque output is 450 pound-feet at 3250 rpm--more than enough to twist the stock frame into a pretzel. To counter these forces, the SVT engineers boxed both framerails and added cross-braces. This meant replacing the production plastic fuel tank with a fuel cell mounted in the bed (filled through a Bullitt Mustang aluminum fuel door mounted inside the bed).
Likewise, since the front suspension wasn't designed to handle the heavier V-8 powertrain, SVT Lightning front springs, lower control arms, and steering knuckles were fitted to the Ranger's front end, then dropped two inches so the engine would fit under the stock hood.
The Bolt uses a production Lightning rearend that's been narrowed almost 11 inches and fitted with 3.73:1 gears. The spring perches also have been relocated inboard to accommodate the massive 345/35ZR18 Michelin Pilot Sport tires on widened 18x12.5-inch Lightning wheels (stock wheels are 9.5 inches wide). Up front, the rolling stock is 235/40ZR18s on narrowed 18x8.0-inch Lightning wheels. To be sure the modified Ranger has adequate stopping abilities, SVT engineers fitted Lightning brake components all around.
We tested this prototype at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway--we weren't disappointed. Even though the Vegas dragstrip sits at 3000 feet above sea level, robbing engines of much needed oxygen, we recorded a 13.88 at 99.42 mph. Dempster's truck made several runs in the 13.60 range at 108 mph. The best part is that Dempster thinks it'll go even quicker with a few engine modifications. Not bad for a pickup truck that could outrun many modern-day musclecars.
While the SVT Lightning Bolt Ranger is designed only for straight-line action, it's still one of the most fun vehicles we've tested in a long time. As Dempster says, "We didn't want to create anything too loud, outlandish, or over the top." But, being that the Lightning Bolt can spin the rear tires for hundreds of feet at a time, this is one goal we're happy he overshot.