Low, loud, and menacing. That describes the unique machinery that's rolled out of Harley-Davidson for decades. Likewise, it's also an apt summary of the latest limited-edition truck from Ford. H-D and Ford inked a five-year plan for cooperative products starting in 2000. Since then, Ford has introduced a truck each year. Both the 2000 and '01 models were derivatives built on the F-150 platform. The '02 Edition successfully captures the spirit of Harley-Davidson: brash, strong, American. Louis Netz, director of styling at Harley, and Willie G. Davidson, vice president of styling and descendent of the company founder, worked with the design team at Ford to pen this bold rolling statement.

For '02, Ford started with the popular F-150 SuperCrew 4x2 pickup, a versatile, durable vehicle, and Ford engineers already had a history of modifications. Built in Kansas City, Missouri, it's been lowered 1 in. and fitted with 20x9.0-in. wheels. The chrome, five-spoke aluminum rims have the H-D Bar & Shield embossed on the center cap. Surrounding all that alloy are Goodyear 275/45R20 Eagle GTII VR-rated tires.

Set onto each front fender and rear tailgate are Harley-Davidson/Ford F-150 emblems, big enough to use as a serious belt buckle. The grille is a tasteful chrome tubular piece, and both front and rear bumpers are body color for that stealth look. Like last year, the H-D F-150 comes in black, but new for '02 is Dark Shadow Gray.

Also new for this year, Ford surprised a few people by dropping a detuned Lightning motor into the newest Harley F-150. Both supercharged and intercooled, the Triton 5.4L V-8 puts out 340 hp at 4500 rpm and 425 lb-ft of torque at 3250 rpm. The engine is mated to the 4R100-HD four-speed automatic transmission, typically kept for SuperDuty pickups and its biggest SUVs. A two-piece driveshaft turns the differential, which is filled with limited slip and 3.73:1 gears. Exhaust exits through a tuned high-performance system to slash-cut 3-in. chrome tips.

What's it like to drive? Pushing the stainless and rubber performance accelerator pedal increases the supercharger soundtrack and the earthly growl from the exhaust. Midrange response is especially addictive, as you find yourself hanging back in traffic, then mashing the pedal for that fix of thrust.

Slowing the H-D F-150 SuperCrew is low-drama, four-wheel ABS and a gigantic tire footprint conspiring to rein in wayward speed. Turn-in is brisk, as the low sidewalls require little distortion to change the vehicle's direction. Body roll is surprisingly low, contributing to the overall feeling that you're behind the wheel of a high sport sedan--until a sharp series of turns requires you to wedge yourself steady. The seats are comfortable on long, straight drives, but the flat lower cushion and lack of side bolsters leave the driver sliding around, hanging onto the steering wheel as much for giving directional inputs as staying on the left side of the vehicle.

Unlike a conventional SuperCrew, the '02 Harley-Davidson doesn't use a bench rear seat. Instead, like its bigger corporate cousin, the Lincoln Black two captains chairs, separated by a sizeable center console, provide seating. The top of both front and rear consoles are embossed with the flame pattern seen on the outside. The instrument cluster houses a 130-mph speed ometer and tachometer in a neat spun-metal background, similar to an engine-turned treatment. The seat backs have the Harley-Davidson emblem set in leather, and in case anyone in the vehicle forgets what edition they're in, a numbered plaque is set into the center stack.

It adds up to a comfortable, upscale environment. With a base MSRP of $36,495, the upscale part comes in handy. A half-dozen options are offered, including a moonroof, six-disc CD changer, sliding rear window, and engine-block heater. The H-D/F-150 is not the sort of truck that most owners are going to toss hay bales or engines into the bed. Instead, it's going to see more than a few trips to the bright lights of downtown. Production is planned to a limited 12,000 units, and if past sales are any indication, we suggest getting to the dealer in a hurry.

Insights From the Inside
To get the inside info, it pays to go to the source. We recently spoke with George Magro, manager of product development at Ford, about the F-150 SuperCrew Harley-Davidson and what the future holds. His remarks indicate a long-term relationship is being forged between the two companies, with bold products in the pipeline.

Asked about the powertrain similarities between the Lightning and the Harley edition F-150, Magro notes that the 40-hp difference (340-hp H-D F-150 versus 380-hp in the Lightning) is due to a larger pulley installed on the SuperCrew's supercharger. The result is the blower rotating at a slower rate, hence lower boost. The Harley-Davidson edition uses a full-vehicle-length exhaust, unlike the abbreviated pipes exiting in front of the rear tires on the Lightning. A slightly smaller opening in the lower front valence allows less air to flow through the intercooler, meaning that incoming air is not cooled as much as the higher-powered sport truck. The cumulative result is a modest decrease in power.

For the first time since the debut of the Ford/Harley-Davidson alliance, a color other than black is offered in '02, and there will be more hues. Of course, black will always be available.

Gazing into a crystal ball, one might see a SuperDuty Harley-Davidson edition and a 4x4 version. Customers have been vocal in wanting a go-anywhere truck with the H-D touches, and Ford and Harley-Davidson have heard the requests. With two more years in a five-year cooperative contract, we might be test-ing such vehicles sooner than later.

Reacqaintences
By Thomas Voehringer

Trucks and bikes are like former girlfriends. Just when you think you know everything about them, they change--sometimes for the better. It may be too late to kiss up to your ex, but both Ford's H-D SuperCrew and Harley-Davidson's V-Rod are making an effort to reestablish a relationship with you.

For the V-Rod, gone are the trappings of tradition that buttressed its usual core of supporters. No loping "po-TAH-to, po-TAH-to, po-TAH-to" burping from the exhaust. It's been replaced by a slick, water-cooled rumble that suggests a more anxious demeanor--one born more from H-D's racing VR 1000s than its society bikes.

In all manner and intent, this new V-twin really is a new V-twin. It's no secret that Porsche engineers helped breathe life into Harley's new huffer, dubbed "Revolution." A nine-grand redline; silky, throbbing idle; roll-on 'til you cry, and probably, reliability not previously known to H-D powerplants tell the exciting story.

It's difficult to slam the V-Rod. Oh, the pegs may be too far forward and the pipes uncomfortably close to vulnerable extremities, and those contrarian BMW-like turn switches, but it's power is so awesome and the ride so confidence-inspiring, the sum total pushes it far into the plus side.

The V-Rod isn't just a performer either. It's a looker. That tight new 1130cc 60* V sits in a stealthy package that sets a benchmark for domestic design. The long rake of the forks lead the eye like ribbons of smoke in a wind tunnel over the curves that form the bike's backbone. The long 67.5-in. wheelbase, swept-back instrument cluster, clear-coated aluminum body panels, and solid, cast wheels offer no apologies. They exude an immediate love-me-or-leave-me attitude--a vicious combination of power and style.

And that brings us full cycle back to Ford. These two vehicles are not inextricably tied to one another in any way other than what they represent: the latest effort to blend style and high performance. Dropping the supercharged 5.4L into a SuperCrew seems natural. SVT wasn't going to do it, however. They said as much. But that's okay. This combination is a perfect match for the H-D-endorsed lineup--especially now.

Twenty years ago these two vehicle types could've been considered base and unsophisticated. Now they're standards for both performance and styling in their class. Well done. Both of you.


2002 Ford Harley-Davidson F-150 SuperCrew
GENERAL
Location of final assembly Kansas City, Mo.
Body style 4-door, 4-pass
EPA size class Standard pickup
Drivetrain layout Front engine, RWD
Airbags Dual
POWERTRAIN
Engine type 90* V-8, S/C, cast-iron block/heads
Bore x stroke, in 3.55 x 4.16
Displacement, cu in/L 330/5.4
Compression ratio 8.4:1
Valve gear 2-valves/cyl, SOHC
Fuel induction Roots-type supercharger, water-to-air intercooler, SFI
SAE horsepower, hp @ rpm 340 @ 4500
SAE torque, lb-ft @ rpm 425 @ 3250
Transmission type 4R100
1st 2.71:1
2nd 1.53:1
3rd 1.00:1
4th 0.71:1
Reverse 2.18:1
Axle ratio 3.73:1
Final drive ratio 2.64:1
Rpm @ 60 mph 1850
Recommended fuel Unleaded premium
DIMENSIONS/CAPACITIES
Wheelbase, in 138.5
Length, in 225.9
Width, in 79.1
Height, in 72.9
Track, f/r, in 65.4/65.4
Headroom, f/r, in 39.8/39.8
Legroom, f/r, in 41.0/36.8
Shoulder room, f/m/r, in 63.7/63.6
Ground clearance, in 7.0
Approach & departure angle, deg 21.6/17.0
Load lift height, in 31.0
Bed size, LxWxD, in 67.2x50.0x20.2
Base curb weight, lb 4697
Payload capacity, lb 1375
GVWR, lb 6700
GCWR, lb 10,000
Towing capacity, lb 4500
Fuel capacity, gal 25.0
CHASSIS
Suspension, f/r IFS, short/long arm, coil spring/live axle, leaf springs
Steering type Power assist, recirculating ball
Ratio 14.0:1
Turns, lock to lock 3.1
Turning circle, ft 45.9
Brakes, f/r 12.1-in vented discs/ 13.1-in vented discs
Wheels 20x9.0 alloy
Tires Goodyear Eagle GTII 275/45R20
PERFORMANCE (Acceleration, sec)
0-30 2.24
0-40 3.27
0-50 4.59
0-60 6.22
0-70 7.97
0-80 10.11
0-90 13.19
0-100 16.65
Standing quarter mile, sec/mph 14.61/94.73
Braking 60-0, ft 126
Speed through 600-ft slalom, mph 58.78
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy 14/18
PRICE
Base price $36,495
Price as tested $37,995

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