Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
August 28, 2006
The flames are a bit trick, only showing when the sunlight hits them head-on. The overall look is quite menacing.

Jacksonville, Florida's Jason Newman has been around fast rides all of his life. His family and friends are all gearheads, and their desire for performance vehicles has certainly rubbed off on him.

This is Jason's second Lightning, and he started right off the bat with an engine purchase. No, he didn't blow up the stock one or buy it that way, he simply came across a buddy who had one built for his own truck but never installed it.

Said motor compresses 333 ci using the stock crankshaft, Manley H-beam connecting rods, and CP pistons. Moving the air and fuel in and out is done through a set of Patriot Performance two-valve cylinder heads with a Stage III port and polish job, and Crower bumpsticks featuring 234 degrees of duration at 0.050 and 0.581-inch valve lift actuates the 1.82 intake and 1.45 exhaust valves.

The crew at HP Performance in Orange Park, Florida, dropped the bullet down in the '01 Lightning's engine bay and topped it off with a Kenne Bell 2.2L supercharger and pulley'd it for 20 psi of boost. Measuring the JLP Ram Air charge is an SCT 2800 mass air meter, and expelling the exhaust is handled by Dynatech stainless steel long-tube headers, a JDM Engineering H-pipe, and MagnaFlow mufflers.

Jason called on Bruce Alvarez of Jacksonville, Florida, to fortify his 4R100 automatic transmission, and a Lightning Force Performance valvebody was employed for firmer shifts. The 9.75 rear axle carries a 3.73 ring-and-pinion set.

To achieve the proper stance, Newman installed Eibach coil springs up front and utilizes JLP traction bars to hook up the hauler. Stance is also improved by way of 20x10-inch Raceline wheels, and when he competes at Fun Ford drag racing events in the Tough Truck class, Jason employs 16-inch wheels with M&H 30x14x16 gumballs.

With the popularity of Second-Gen Lightnings, you have to try hard to stand out. To that end, Jason called Paul Holman of Visual FX in Orange Park, Florida, for a custom paint makeover.

Using the truck's black paint as a base, Holman loaded up the spray gun with Dupont's Hot Hues paint and added tribal-type flames in a metallic pewter across the front of the truck, and as you can see from the pictures, the theme was carried extensively into the engine bay. Four coats of clear followed, and the exterior was finished off with a billet front grille, painted black to blend in but look different at the same time.

Like any Gen 2 Lightning with mods, this one makes great power as well. With an SCT tune from HP Performance's Tony Gonyon, Jason's truck has tried to uproot the Dynojet with 604 rwhp and 647 ft-lbs of torque. His best quarter-mile pass to date is an 11.57 at 114 mph with a 1.69-second 60-foot time. That was with the head gasket splitting at about 900 feet out.

Several head gasket changes to date have supported the idea that the block's deck is not true, so Jason is waiting for his new big-bore 358ci Darton MID block from VT Engines. A pair of heavily ported two-valve heads and VT Stage 2 cams should get the job done.

Jason is expecting 750 rwhp with his Kenne Bell supercharger, and later on, he has plans for a turbocharger and 1,000 rwhp.