• Jul 11th 2007 at 1:02PM
  • 21
Click on the photo above for our photo gallery of the 2007 Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson

Ah, how we miss Ford's second-generation Lightning. By infusing an F-150 with 380 HP of supercharged 5.4L fury and selecting suspension components that were up to the task of harnessing such power, the Special Vehicle Team (SVT) redefined the sport truck genre and sent the competition scrambling to build worthy competitors. In 2003, the Lightning gained a big brother in the form of the supercharged crew-cab wearing Harley-Davidson livery, but unfortunately, SVT's run came to an end a year later, and with it disappeared the blown Ford trucks.

Fast-forward to the present - the Harley-Davidson package has transitioned back to the F-150 after a brief flirtation with the Super Duty line-up (featuring one of the most garish paint packages in recent history), and forced induction has yet again found its way back into the fold. Now packing 450 horsepower and the blackest color scheme imaginable, we recently got a chance to spend a few days with what is currently the most powerful pickup truck available.

The standard F-150 is already a menacing vehicle as far as half-ton pickups go, and the acres of glossy black paint and chrome billet trim on the H-D version makes one think that Satan likely uses this very truck to haul his firewood. The six-bar grille and enormous 22-inch wheels are what first catch the eye, but several other changes abound - including body-colored accents in the headlight capsules, large but tasteful "Harley-Davidson" letters rendered in chrome along the bed rail, and valance trim along the rocker panels. Limousine-dark tint on the rear windows hints at further antisocial behavior and nicely rounds out the package. We dig the orange stripe package, and even the palm-sized H-D/F-150 badges don't seem out of place. Car and bike fans will recognize the special nature of this truck, but it's also subtle enough not to get glaring looks when rolling through a supermarket parking lot.

The interior is by no means neglected, and also gets a similar look. Glossy "piano black" surrounds the dash vents and covers the top surface of the center console, and a similar finish gets a faint H-D logo "watermark" for use on the center stack and door panels. High-quality black leather is used for the seating surfaces, and yet another pair of logos appear on the front buckets. Aluminum pedal covers round out the treatment. There is indeed the feeling that one is sitting in a coal mine at midnight during a new moon, but we definitely preferred the monochromatic look to the jumble of colors and textures that we've recently experienced in other Ford products, and the materials used here are top-notch.

The instrument panel gets a gorgeous silver-on-black styling treatment, with chrome trim surrounding a background with faux machine-turned decoration. All of the usual gauges are featured here, including an oil pressure gauge, voltmeter, and trip computer. For those who need additional information to stay entertained, a separate pod pokes up from the center portion of the dashboard to house boost pressure and air charge temperature gauges.

Enough about cosmetics, though - the real reason that we were so eager to get our hands on this truck is the stuff that's under the hood. Not long ago, the Triton's 300 HP was good enough to lead its class; now, it's at the back of the pack and that just ain't right for a vehicle like this. Enter Saleen and its twin-screw supercharger. Nestled below the intake manifold, in the Mod motor's sizable valley, it discharges compressed air upwards into an air-to-water aftercooler. This system employs its own coolant loop and a front-mounted heat exchanger, and is extremely efficient at delivering near-ambient intake air temperatures as evidenced by the aforementioned gauge. 450 HP and 500 lb-ft of torque is claimed from the pressurized powerplant.

Applying large throttle openings in the lower gear ranges doesn't result in the expected cloud of tire smoke. Instead, the throttle response is a bit muted, as if some electronic trickery is attempting to arrest wheelspin. While we'd normally be offended by such babysitting, it's almost certainly for the best in this application, as the combination of such power with relatively little weight would certainly otherwise result in epic tire wear. Instead, for maximum effect, roll into the throttle at 45 MPH, and let the shove from the seatback speak to the massive power being generated underhood. The supercharged F-150 owns on-ramps and passing lanes like no other truck on the market.

Accompanying the fierce acceleration is a wicked symphony of blower whine and rubble from the twin-tipped exhaust system. While the exhaust is perhaps a bit loud for the average truck buyer, we're guessing that it may be judged as excessively muted by the average Harley owner. The four-speed automatic transmission behaves itself, despite the punishment that's being thrown its way. We'd obviously prefer something with more ratios, but considering the wide powerband of this engine, a quartet of gearing options is quite enough.

Perhaps the best news of all is that fuel economy isn't nearly as bad as one might expect; we averaged 14.7 MPG during our normal mixed driving routine. We don't expect to receive a congratulatory note from Al Gore for this accomplishment, but it's barely any worse than what one might expect to obtain with a non-supercharged half-ton truck in the same conditions.

For the most part, the rest of the package operates much like one would expect from a F-150. The steering is well-weighted, the brakes feel adequate (although we're guessing that hot-lapping at the local roadcourse would change our opinion on the matter), the chassis is obviously rock-solid, and wind noise is minimal at any reasonable speed.

One disappointment about this vehicle is the ride and handling. The aforementioned tall wheel/tire package combine a non-trivial amount of unsprung weight with a rather stiff sidewall, and so this F-150 shakes, bounces, and generally behaves much more poorly than we're used to from this platform. On the other hand, the spring and damping rates aren't all that high (what is high is the center of gravity, as the ride height is pretty much identical to a stock 2WD F-150), and so there's just not as much roll stiffness as one would expect given the poor ride quality. If you're used to riding a hardtail V-twin, it might seem reasonably compliant, but the rest of us would probably be happy with a 20" wheel/tire package and some suspension recalibration.

Coming in at around $44,000, our test example was priced in line with most other well-optioned crew-cab half-ton pickups. If one prefers power over features, it's a heck of a deal; if not, there are plenty of other options on the market. Overall, the F-150 Harley-Davidson is a stylish, powerful pickup that will likely appeal to Big Twin fans who need to haul four people and some cargo when not tooling around on two wheels. While it doesn't possess the same muscle-car feel of its SVT predecessor, it's also a far more practical tool.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      wow. two words..Bad Ass, than being said, put that in your pipe and smike it Tundra lovers
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm glad to see Harley still making bikes. The nostalgia and sound of the old V twin still sells these bikes. I'm not sure what H.D. has to do with pickup trucks though. I seen one of these gussied-up trucks once and was a little disappointed. For one thing, the Harley badge was sewn to the surface of the leather seat back. i don't see it staying there as people get in an out of it. I guess if anyone would dare to show off their lack of concern for the cost of gas, this would appeal to them. However there are other useless show pieces that would at least be fun to drive.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Trucks just shouldent be made to race =)
      • 8 Years Ago
      Dear Eric Bryant,
      could you pleas contact "bild@craincom.de" concerning photographs we would like to publish in our Automobilwoche.
      Thank you very much!
      • 8 Years Ago
      If you want a sportier truck with this powertrain, than just get the SALEEN S331 SC F-150. It has all of the suspension and brake upgrades too. You just have to shell out much more $$ for it starting at over $55k and can go up to near $90k loaded!

      I'm glad Ford is finally realizing there is a market for powerful vehicles other than the mustang again.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Will there be a single cab option? Crew cabs have their attributes but I'd rather have a lighter sportier option.
      • 8 Years Ago
      This thing beats up the Toyota Tundra "Pottery Barn" edition in the schoolyard.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Why would you need to know the redline in an automatic vehicle? Sit in the driveway and rev the engine much? But yeah, I haven't been in any manual equipped Ford product lately so I dont know what those gauges are like. But I wonder if they have any dash light that warns you that you are getting close to redline/or need to shift. I believe Escorts came with a shift light.

      Anyways, one of these pulled up next to me at a redlight in front of one of the Ford buildings in Dearborn. The driver (an engineer) punched it when it turned green and it sounded beautiful. Could use more blower whine :)
        • 8 Years Ago
        No red line in Fords anymore. Check. I have a Focus 5-speed and I have got used to the "plain" tach look. There is the upshift light however...I suppose that it does make me shift earlier sometimes as I see the yellow light out of the corner of my eye and I instinctively want it to go away. Plus, I am sure the engine management would cut the fuel before it ever hit the redline anyhoo.
      Skip St.Sauveur
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'll keep my Lightning that now produces 425 RWHP and runs the 1/4 mile in 12.58 sec at 108 mph.

      Plus it's paid for :-)
      • 8 Years Ago
      Why can't anyone make a decent powered (Tundra-like) but non-gaudy and affordable truck that has a handling biased suspension setup, big tires, and better brakes?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Now offer this engine in the new FX2 package, without the garish Harley emblems, and you'll have a cult classic.

      • 6 Years Ago
      Hey AMGoff ... sure am glad the wife gave you permission become a so called biker .....woww ..... I am impressed .... you have some serious misconception issues in your whole 30 years of lifes experience.... how many miles do you have on your 00 Low Rider or 02 Night Train... I am curious .... Loud Pipes Save Lives ... or being the experienced biker you are maybe just unaware of that note .... mine saved my ass a few times as they just didnt see me.... not enough time to hit the horn button but cracked the throttle a few times and they woke up and I didnt get nailed... so their not just for attention .... as for the geriatrics comment .... maybe when you grow up and the wife lets you go off the block youll find one hell of a lot more comfort on a Road King , Ultra or one of the touring models even more so with a big inch motor on it ... my 89 Low Rider with over 70ooo miles on it was fast but on a long ride not so comfortable ... my 99 Springer Soft Tail with 52ooo miles by 2003 was pretty comfortable but my 2002 Road King with 90750 miles on it to date is very comfortable ... and what is a "typical biker " ... I have ridden from a mini bike at age 9 to current 55 even rode with a few clubs over the years and I havent seen one "typical biker" as of yet .... hmmm .... what do these look like .... if the wife lets you off the block go on a trip take in the sites and try clocking 4-600 miles in a day and see how you feel .... but most of all be safe and watch out for those overly biased ignorant ass comments.....ps I love my 03 F150 HD edition too.....
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