Ford F-100 "Retro Lightning" Flexes 7-Liter Muscle

Enthusiasts have been asking Ford to revive the "Lightning" on-road performance truck badge for well over a decade (this was discontinued after the 2004MY). And while the all-new F-150 that landed this summer may or may not receive such a version alongside the confirmed go-fast-anywhere 2021 Raptor, we are here to look into the past of the workhorse. So, here's a rendering that imagines a 1966 Ford F-100 Lightning.
1966 Ford F-100 Lightning (rendering) 12 photos
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Sure, such a model was never built, even though the fourth-gen F-Series model serving as a base for this pixel work did pack some serious tech assets for its time (more on this below). Nevertheless, digital artist Abimelec Arellano has built a small digital universe that might convince us the opposite is true.

"[Together with the 1959 Cadillac Escalade delivered in the past, this] is part of a series of design “studies” if you will, where I take an idea of a car that never existed and try to make a set of renderings as if it did. Everything has to be period correct and done in a way the manufacturer would’ve done it in said period," the artist explains in the Instagram post below.

The Gen IV F-Series, which was offered between the 1961 and 1966 model years, saw the formula becoming considerably more refined. The trucks were lower and longer than the ones before them, while the Blue Oval even offered a unibody (think: cab and bed together) version alongside the traditional model, albeit with the poor demand leading to the discontinuation of the model after the 1963MY.

Nevertheless, the F-Series received a hefty update for the 1965 model year, with this including a Twin I-Beam front suspension. This setup, whose principle involved a pair of solid axles allowing each wheel to move independently (you'll find an imagine from back in the day at the end of the photo gallery), improved the ride and handling, as well as reducing tire and front end wear.

And while the powertrain options offered by the said F-Series generation easily exceeded those of its predecessors, the artist chose a setup that would stand true to the Lightning badge.

To be more precise, the 428ci (7-liter) V8 under the hood of this truck is borrowed from the rare bird that is the 1966 Ford Fairlane 500 GT, with both an automatic and a floor-mounted manual tranny being part of this digital dream.

And yes, this is a sleeper, since the exterior updates are limited to the wider, color-coded Steelies shod in BFGoodrich rubber, the small ducktail-style roof spoiler and the pair of air intakes adorning the hood.

As the penning master aptly mentions, the abundance of muscle cars of the era meant that such a truck, with its pricey 428, probably wouldn't have convinced too many customers. Then again, a single look at the "sales brochure" rendered here is enough to get an enthusiast's heart racing.


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