The Four-Wheeled Harley
A Brief History of Ford's Harley-Davidson F-Series Trucks
By Zach Gale
The F-Series truck and Harley-Davidson go together like Ford and EcoBoost technology. Before August 10, 1999, we might not have expected one of Ford's most iconic F-Series models to originate from a partnership with motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson. But on that date Ford unveiled the 2000 Harley-Davidson F-150 at -- where else? -- South Dakota's Sturgis Rally & Races.
The first product of the Ford/Harley-Davidson partnership was the 2000 Harley-Davidson pickup, a rear-drive edition that was bolder and meaner than other F-Series pickups. Ford offered its first production 20-inch wheels on this $32,995 model. The automaker borrowed the SVT Lightning's muffler, with dual chrome 3.5-inch "slash cut" exhaust tips, plus a 1-inch suspension drop, and SVT Lightning shocks.
Ford added a Harley-Davidson truck with four full-size doors in 2001, and dubbed the special-edition F-150 SuperCrew "the world's only four-door Harley." In the Harley, a detuned supercharged 5.4-liter V-8 from the 2002 Lightning model made 40 fewer horsepower, but 80 horsepower more than an F-150 with the basic 5.4-liter V-8.
The 2004 model year was big for Ford and the Harley-Davidson series -- literally. Ford introduced the Super Duty model, a logical extension of a Ford truck sub-brand that had sold nearly 40,000 units from the original truck's debut until the announcement of the Super Duty model in February 2004.
When the original 2000 truck was revealed, the 20-inch chrome wheels were considered huge, but the 2006 truck moved things forward with 22-inch polished forged-aluminum wheels. By 2008, the F-150's 5.4-liter V-8 was beginning to feel dated. To fix this, Ford finally added a higher-priced supercharged version with 450 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque.
We loved the supercharger on the 2008 truck, but were disappointed with Ford's four-speed automatic transmission. On the next-generation F-150, Ford began to use a six-speed automatic, though the 2010 Harley-Davidson model still featured a non-supercharged 5.4-liter V-8 making 320 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque.
With its 6.2-liter V-8, the 2011 Harley-Davidson F-150 carries a starting price of nearly $50,000, making it more expensive than every other 2011 F-150 including the SVT Raptor, King Ranch, and Platinum.