The ninth-generation F-150 is quickly becoming a modern day classic to those who grew up with them. The styling is the perfect bend of old-school ’70-80s F150, with modern tweaks and features. It also gave birth to the first-generation Lightning, a muscle truck that could handle. Conceived as a direct competitor for the Chevy 454SS truck, it took things to the next level.
First, unlike the 454SS it wasn’t a one-trick pony; it was quick in a straight line, but its suspension was tuned for the road course. Also, unlike the Bow-Tie, it featured a small-block V8, rather than a large, heavy big-block. It put out roughly the same output, but it’s smaller and lighter engine helped the beefier suspension in the corners. It was a full-on performance machine.
Recently, our friends at Hagerty climbed behind the wheel of not only a Lightning, but one that’s been modified to the tune of 700hp. In addition, the host also performs a review of his personal 1992 Flare Side; a limited edition F-150 that was offered at the time. It’s worn, used and well-loved, but after nearly 30 years of daily, Midwestern, Rust Belt use, it’s holding up well — as is its 5-liter V8.
These days, the 9th-gen F-150 trucks are still quite affordable and offer plenty of ways for customization. We’d love to get our hands on a Flare Side, drop in a Coyote, implement heavy duty brakes, suspension and larger diameter wheels for some all-around performance.
Rick Seitz is the owner and founder of Blue Oval Muscle Magazine, and has a true love and passion for all vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the brand’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next modifications for his own cars.