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A Lack Of Utility Seems To Keep Street Performance Trucks From Returning

Ford F-150 SVT Lightning
2001 Ford SVT F-150 Lightning. Image via Ford.

When the original Ford F-150 Lightning came out back in 1993, its MSRP was less than that of today’s Toyota Corolla, if you can believe it. Just $19,023. A quick look on various car shopping sites will yield low mileage examples of the original SVT Lightning for nearly $30,000. In short, their value is climbing, either for their rare collectability, that the ethos of a street performance truck is currently being sought after, or both. Nevertheless, Ford doesn’t plan on resurrecting the F-150 Lightning anytime soon.

“We see more people do off-road rather than on-road street performance,” said Craig Schmatz, 2021 Ford F-150 Chief Engineer, to MC&T. “Our customers love the ability to go anywhere and do anything… very few people would want to buy a street truck that wasn’t capable of towing vehicles and going off-road.”

Schmatz once worked on the F-150 Lightning program back in the 1990s, and recognizes that the value of the truck he once helped bring to market has been steadily climbing.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX
Image Via Ram.

These words are in line with what Ram is seeing in the pickup truck market right now, as well. Similar to how the Ford F-150 Raptor appeals to both on-road and off-road performance demographics, the 2021 Ram TRX will be “on both sides of the (on-road/off-road performance) equation.” Ram brand managers have admitted to us recently that they’re “not looking at anything at the moment here that’s going to be a hardcore street truck.”

Over at General Motors, there doesn’t appear to be anything in the pipeline in terms of street performance, either. Instead, the 2022 GMC Hummer EV will aim to satiate the appetites of off-road enthusiasts, as well as anybody looking to have one of the quickest pickup trucks the world has yet to see. To that end, the top speed and quarter mile times of the upcoming electric truck remain at large.

2022 2023 2024 GMC Hummer EV Edition 1 EV2 EV2X EV3X Specs Price Off Road Water Fording Breakover Departure Approach Angle
Image Via GMC.

OEMs presently forgoing a street performance truck like the bygone Ford F-150 Lightning or Chevrolet Silverado SS thankfully hasn’t stopped the aftermarket. For example, Roush Performance offers the Nitemare package for the outgoing Ford F-150. Starting at $19,150 (a little more than the original Lightning), the street performance package carries 650 horsepower and 610 lb-ft of torque via an Eaton-sourced TVS R2650 supercharger bolted to a 5.0L Coyote V8 engine.

Meanwhile, Specialty Vehicle Engineering has the reborn Syclone. Based on a GMC Canyon, the SVE Syclone pushes out a radical 750 horsepower thanks to a supercharged 5.3L V8 engine, sending power to all four wheels, just like the original GMC Syclone truck from the early 1990s. SVE also offers the Yenko Silverado, which can send 800 supercharged horses to either the rear wheels or all of them, depending on customer preference.

2020 Roush Nitemare Ford F-150 Performance Truck
Roush Nitemare F-150. Image via Roush.

Written by Manoli Katakis

Detroit Region SCCA Member and founder of MC&T. Automotive Media Jedi Knight. Not yet the rank of Master.

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