Michael Galimi
February 23, 2007
A Belltech lowering kit, Johnny Lightning Performance traction bars, Strange rear shocks, and QA1 front shocks help this Lightning sit tough.

The SVT division of Ford has been branded into the musclecar history books thanks to the outstanding cars and trucks that were produced in its brief 11-year history. While all of the SVT products have been a badge of honor for the factory hot-rod shop, it was the '03-'04 Cobra (nicknamed the Terminator) that really nailed down their place in history.

The ease of modification makes the Terminator Cobras the most-feared SVT product on the roads today. Sure, our love for the Lightning (specifically the Gen II variety) is not lacking, and they make great performance vehicles. But we have to give credit where credit is due, and the '03-'04 Cobra certainly deserves the accolades. Even the darling of the media, the '07 Shelby GT500, has begun terrorizing the streets, dragstrips, and chassis dynos around the country.

Eric Gulas decided it was time to use his Lightning to strike down the competition-a deed he felt he could accomplish despite his '01 Lightning being a heavyweight pickup truck. The plan consisted of lots of boost, a built engine, and determination. Using those tools, he planned to eliminate the Terminators (as well as Corvettes) on the track, the street, and the dyno.

Eric's love affair with Lightning trucks began in 1999 when Ford unleashed the potent pickup on the market. "After they came out in 1999 and hit the showroom floor, I was amazed at what I was looking at and knew I had to have one," he recalls. Further fueling his desire for these trucks was his father, who had bought a Lightning in 2000. Up until that point in Eric's life, he had owned four Mustangs, but none of them satisfied him as much as the Lightning truck. Unfortunately for Eric, starting a new business, Frontline Detail and Accessories, precluded him from snatching up one for personal use.

Business was booming by 2001, and Eric mustered together the loot for a Lightning and went to the local dealerships to seek out the rare muscle truck. A month went by before he got a call from a dealership letting him know that a silver Lightning-the only color Eric was willing to have-was scheduled to arrive in a few days.

Upon purchasing this truck, Eric called a few mail-order shops to order some upgrades. The next day, a Belltech lowering kit, chrome Lightning wheels, and an AirAid cold-air kit showed up at his house.

Modifications came one after another, and within eight months of owning the truck, it was producing nearly 500 hp on Panhandle Performance's Mustang chassis dyno. The silver Bolt featured the full line of Bassani exhaust products, a smaller blower pulley (14 psi), and a 125hp hit of nitrous.