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2003 Ford Lightning - Ford's Design Studio
Take A Cracked-Up '03 Lightning, A '64 F-100 Unibody, And Make It White Hot
We saw a '01 Lightning on a roll back trucking its way to the great beyond the other day. The front driver quarter was mooshed, and the bed was crunched. How sad, we thought. Moments later we passed a salvage yard that had a '66 Ford Effie bespeckled with primer and some hints of red paint peeking through. in a flash we had an idea. What if someone was to combine the two and make one screaming bolt of lightning? Even better, what if they took the flashier '61-'64 unibody and did the same?
Unlike in automobiles, hood clearance isn't a problem; plenty of room under that mammoth landing strip Ford calls a hood. Also plenty of room for other things, such as a Mustang II front end or maybe just grafting the '03 Ford truck front section to the old frame. Wheel choice would be easy greasy, just slap on a set of Lightning wheels.
Of course, the girlie-man way would be to go the '93-'95 Lightning route and just massage the frame. But hey, we know you men, and you'll make the '03 fit. right? Right.
The needed things on the '64 Lightning are simple and straightforward. Obviously, you want to snag a crunched '03 Lightning, as well as the unibody-we recommend the short box. But beyond that, things can get kinda wild. You could try for the '03 interior, but we figure there might be some fitment issues. You could also "do" the '03 undercarrige, but, once again, we wonder how the frame of the '03 would mate to the '64 Ford truck body. So we're going to give you some options (where applicable).
• Body: '61 to '64 Unibody Ford F-100. You could use the step side, but we like the smoother, cleaner lines of the unibody truck.
• Interior: Stock lightning might work, but we have our doubts. We would use Autometer gauges to replace the under informed Effie dash. Roddoors (www.roddoors.com; 800/510-7478) would get the nod for their door panels and headliner (dark gray to match the stock seats from the Lightning). The steering column would come from Flaming River (www.flamingriver.com; 800/648-8022).
• Engine: Duh. What more do you need to do to a '03 Lightning engine, other than make sure you scarf up the harness and associated stuff needed to make the thing run.
• Transmission: See above.
• Rear Axle: Pulled directly from the smoking wreck of our donor.
• Suspension: if our donor wasn't completely flat line we could use the '04 stuff, but we'd rather tap Heidts (847/487-0150) for their excellent Mustang II suspension. then slap on as big a brake rotor as we can get to clear from Stainless Steel Brakes (www.ssbrakes.com; 800/448-7722).
• Wheels: Definitely a set of the stock rolling stock.
• Paint: we would use PPG base clear finish and squirt it in the factory Bright Red.
• Doodads and Geegaws: Jairus cooked up a cool bumper that allows us to have fog lights. Neat.