Built Ford Tough: 25 Years of Being the Benchmark
If you live in the United States, you probably see about a billion different F-150s on any given day. Ford has been the best selling truck manufacturer for close to half a century, which is no easy feat. They went from being simple utilitarian machines relegated to rural and commercial work to becoming a staple of suburban American households. As cliched as it sounds, there really is an F-150 for everyone.
I've decided to gather two recent acquisitions to showcase what America's finest has to offer.
I recently acquired a Greenlight 1993 F-150 SVT Lightning in Bright Red as well as an Auto World 2018 F-150 SuperCrew Lariat FX4 Sport in Magnetic Metallic. I loved them so much that I decided to make a post to wax lyrical about how great they are.
As someone who spends a decent amount of time behind the wheel of my father's F-150 (when I don't feel like driving the Passat), I can confirm that it's excellent to drive for a truck. I've loved them ever since I was a child growing up in Colombia, a country where you wouldn't find that many trucks larger than a Toyota Hilux or a Mazda B-Series back then. When I moved to the United States in 2001, I got my first taste of full-size trucks in the form of the Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado, and Dodge Ram. I was mesmerized by how awesome they looked compared to the dainty 4-cylinder extended cab trucks littering the roads of my home country. My father ended up buying a brand-new 2004 Ranger a few years later and eventually moved up to the 2016 F-150 when I found a brand-new leftover model in early 2017. As much as I shill for Porsche, BMW, and Mercedes, I do love Ford trucks as much as cars from the aforementioned brands.
In 1993, Ford released the first ever SVT Lightning as a response to the GMC Syclone and Chevrolet 454 SS. It was an option package for the XLT model that added performance upgrades under the hood in the form of a modified 5.8 V8 with the E4OD from the Super Duty trucks. The body-colored grille and bumpers helped distinguish it from a run-of-the-mill XLT you'd see loaded with lumber at your local Home Depot. The then-impressive 17" wheels and Lightning graphics on the sides helped show that it was a step above the rest in the lineup in terms of importance. Although the 1999-2003 Lightning was much quicker with a 5.4 supercharged V8, the 1993-1995 Lightning still hit 60 in 7.2 and shot through the quarter-mile in just 15.6 seconds at 87 mph. Those numbers were virtually unheard of outside the Syclone and 454 SS.
This particular one is a late 2019 Greenlight release from the GL Muscle series in Bright Red. It was a pleasant surprise to see Greenlight add this, but I'm infinitely grateful they decided to even make it in the first place.
Compared to today's trucks, the Lightning looks so simple and utilitarian. Greenlight did an amazing job with this casting. I can't wait to find the '96 F-150 XLT with the camper shell. The Lightning was only available on the XLT Styleside trim with 4x2 as the only drive type.
Seeing the oh-so-90s decal reminds me that we need Greenlight to make a Ranger Splash. If you're reading this and you work at Greenlight, what's taking you so long? Make it happen, damnit.
The 5-spoke wheels look great. Interestingly enough, it even has a small F-150 XLT badge nicely detailed on the front fender.
The tubular rear bumper was a factory option that cost $432 when new back in '93.
The Lightning package, designated 509A for the XLT trim, featured a limited-slip rear differential, bucket seats, foglights, a center console, air conditioning, power windows and locks, a cassette player, and a leather wrapped steering wheel. At just a hair over $19k without the Lightning package, the XLT was par for the course in terms of pricing back in the day.
After you added the options, you had a $22k truck, which was Mustang GT territory back then. Then again, they did advertise it as a Mustang GT with a cargo bed. The numbers clearly prove their point.
Overall, it's another great casting from Greenlight. I can't wait for the black and white versions coming out in the near future. This is a friendly reminder to raise hell and praise Carroll.
As for the second car, well, it shouldn't need an introduction. Meet the Auto World 2018 Ford F-150 Lariat FX4 Sport SuperCrew in Magnetic Metallic. Look familiar? It damn well should. This is easily one of the most common configurations of the F-150 roaming the roads nowadays. This specific one has the optional 6-spoke 20" wheels and 3.5 EcoBoost V6. I should know considering my father bought a new 2016 XLT Sport in Lithium Gray that's virtually identical to this save for the darker gloss gray in lieu of Magnetic's metallic sparkle.
Times really have changed in 25 years. Instead of single and extended cab trucks, we now find mostly crew cab ones with the occasional extended cab one and the rare single cabs existing mostly as fleet trucks. This one is a standard SuperCrew configuration with the 5.5' bed. The Lariat Sport package also includes special running boards that look a little nicer than the normal Lariat ones.
The optional 6-spoke wheels measure 20" in-person and look good, but I do wish they would've modeled the standard 18" Sport wheels instead.
The FX4 package includes underbody protection as well as more off-roading features in order to help it drive off the beaten path with ease.
If you look closely, you'll find that it has an Indiana plate that says "BOSSMAN" with a special truck designation on the plate. It's a nice feature rarely seen on Greenlight trucks.
The style of the bedliner indicates that it's the drop-in one, not the spray-in one. It even has the two small coasters molded onto the tailgate like the real one. Fun fact: they're great at holding an iced coffee if you decide to sit outside on a 50° night to enjoy the weather.
I do secretly wish it had the backup sensors and sliding rear window, but y'know, beggars can't be choosers today.
You can tell it's an EcoBoost due to the lower open tri-hole air intake at the bottom, presumably for the intercooler.
In the real F-150, the 3.5 EcoBoost produces 375 hp and 470 lb-ft. of torque. It rockets this specific version to 50 in 5.3 seconds or so with the 3.73 and 4x4. That's almost 2 whole seconds quicker than the Lightning's then-impressive 7.2 to 60. That's 330i territory in something with more rear legroom than an M760i xDrive or S65 AMG. Although we probably won't see a new Lightning anytime soon, the XLT and Lariat Sport are the closest you can get in modern terms.
Aalthough we dearly miss the good old days of trucks like the Lightning, we find some comfort in trucks like the Sport FX4. It's not a direct replacement, but it sure gets pretty damn close. That and the fact that it's infinitely more practical than its Bright Red forebearer.
Overall, we find that they're both excellent examples of great model trucks. Although they may not appeal to everyone, they sure won a place in my heart. They're each my favorite of their respective maker from 2019. I can't wait to see what the future has in store for both of these castings. Go and buy them if you can. They're about $5 or so at stores like Walmart or Hobby Lobby. You won't be disappointed.