Paul Rosner
July 12, 2006
Johnny thought the new chassis would offer an easy ticket to the eights. It didn't take long to find out that the big 16-inch slicks would be too much for the 2,400 stall in the tricked-out transmission. There's a C6 transmission with a beastly 4,500-5,000 rpm converter on the horizon.

With the roar of up to 6,600 horses and enough torque to move a mountain into another state, the John Fabick Caterpillar Company manufactures mega-machines suited for anything--if you can justify it in your budget, that is. Its lineup of vehicles includes dump trucks that could fit an entire neighborhood in its bed and street-legal dumps hosting more than 600 bhp with torque numbers well over 1,000 lb-ft. For the truly hard core, there are 18,000ci motors with 11-inch pistons with an 11.8-inch stroke.

You probably won't see Johnny Wiker's new quarter-mile pavement pounder at a construction site, but that doesn't mean it's not one toughly constructed truck, because it sure looks the part. His new chopped-top hauler may tip the scales at 3,800 pounds, nevertheless, it boasts over 900 hp and an astounding 1000 lb-ft of torque. This has proven to be more than enough to catapult this pickup into the high nines with the stock 5.4-liter modular engine block, making it the quickest second-generation Lightning in the world.

Johnny's '01 Lightning was treated to a four-link rear suspension and 16-inch wheel tubs. The top was chopped 3 inches by Peter Visser of the Susquehanna Auto Clinic in Harve De Grace, Maryland.

After Johnny bought his first Lightning in 1999, destiny settled in and he declared himself, "Johnny Lightning." Since then, he and Sue, his wife of 22 years, began introducing their own line of products, marketed under the Johnny Lightning Performance label.

The excessive baggage this full-sized truck has to tow is always the first topic of discussion, hence bigger meats would need to be first on the agenda. Peter Visser of the Susquehanna Auto Clinic in Harve De Grace, Maryland, upgraded the chassis to include a new, custom four-link suspension for the bigger tires as well as the requisite rollcage to pacify any SFI requirements for the eight-second timeslips expected in the future. Visser whittled away the stock under-carriage to fit wheel tubs accommodating the huge 15-inch-wide Bogart wheels.

A DTS 9-inch rear was fitted, and a cus- tom chrome-moly four-link and swaybar were fabricated to the unusual truck chassis geometry. Strange Engineering 35-spline axles, differential, and brakes were utilized to fill the housing voids. The front suspension consists of Anthony Jones Engineering A-arms and QA1 coilovers (which are also used out back).

The 5.4 begins with a reworked stock crankshaft, a set of Manley I-beam rods with CP pistons, and a BHJ balancer that equates to 360 ci of modular muscle. Johnny didn't mind telling us he had a 0.550-inch lift hydraulic camshaft, but he was reluctant to even give us a clue to the actual duration of the stick. The JLP race-prepped aluminum heads flow a modest 240 cfm on the intake side, with the exhaust running at 210 cfm. In this case, the exhale numbers are more important with 21 pounds of boost forcing the gasses out. To complete the block prep, a Meziere electric water pump replaces the stock unit for reduced drag on the engine.