Nobody else builds and sells pickups like the Americans. In a good month, Ford will deliver more F-series trucks than Nissan will sell Titan pickups in a year. Ford's F-Series has been America's best-selling full-size pickup for 30 years and sets the standard for strength and toughness with more trucks on the road having more than 250,000 miles experience than any other brand. So how do you make something this good even better? Just give it to Jack Roush.
Roush Fenway Racing is arguably the most visible of his companies, having claimed championships in the elite NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, as well as the Nationwide Series and Craftsman Truck Series. This makes the company one of the few organizations to have captured titles in all three of NASCAR's top divisions. That expertise carries through to Roush Performance, where modified and special-edition vehicles are conceptualized and put together in Livonia, Michigan.
Roush Performance effectively combines the engineering expertise of Roush Industries, a Tier One supplier of engineering and development services to a dozen auto manu-facturers, with the motorsports experience of Roush Fenway Racing to produce complete performance vehicles, engines, and high-performance parts. The company builds a range of modified F-150 trucks, from the cosmetics-only Sport model through the Stage 3 version, which benefits from styling, power, and handling improvements.
Going beyond the ordinary, Roush Performance introduced a limited-edition model in 2007. The Nitemare was a black, tone-on-tone standard cab F-150, of which only 100 examples were built. The addition of a Roushcharger supercharger pushed the 5.4L engine's output to 450 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque. In typical Roush fashion, vehicle upgrades are as fully engineered as if they came from the original manufacturer. The Roushcharger system also includes updated intake manifolds, intercooler, radiator, and air-induction system. Unchanged for the '08 model, the result is an almost 50 percent increase in the engine's output, which makes this truck a hauler by any standard.
New this year is the availability of other-than-black exterior treatments. Our tester was blazingly white, of which there will be only 33 units built. The same holds true for a red version, and the original black will see only 34 examples leave the factory.
Inside the cab, you'll be treated to an array of special touches that include leather seating with an embroidered Nitemare logo; custom instrument panel gauges including tachometer, voltmeter, oil pressure and water temperature; a black dash trim package; logo-embroidered floor mats; billet aluminum pedals; and a black leather-wrapped steering wheel. The Nitemare's custom, dual high-performance exhaust note intrudes only enough to remind you that there is a rather large herd of ponies waiting just under your right foot.
New graphics for '08 identify this truck as a Roush Nitemare. Had the previous year's treatment been directly transferred to a white or red truck, the overall effect might have been more than any prudent driver might have wanted; however, the new identification delivers an appropriate blend of distinction and subtlety. Of course, exclusive Roush badging is evident on the fenders and tailgate, but these are completely in stealth mode-in black only with no chrome and just a little silver paint to highlight them. The hoodscoop and blacked-out grille are enough to let anyone seeing this truck in their mirrors know that this is no ordinary hay-hauler.
Hot Hot Rod
In fact, driving the '08 Roush Nitemare can be a fast path to notoriety. With its standard 22-inch chrome wheels and new body-side graphics, you'll be hard-pressed to make a subtle entrance anywhere-from the local Home Depot to the Bellagio in Sin City. The Roush suspension modifications tighten up this hauler's ride, making it a competent city and highway handler without utterly trashing overall ride quality. Ford's fully boxed frame with hydroformed front rails is the strongest in its class and reduces shake and shudder on rough roads. After the new front coil springs, rear leaf springs, front sway bar, and specially valved shock absorbers are installed, the Nitemare sits 2 inches lower in the front and 3 inches lower at the rear. As a result, it's mean-lookin' and bad-hookin'.
There's no doubt that the increased output from the Three-Valve Triton V-8 engine motivates this truck in ways never before experienced. When you need to get it on, the vehicle's reprogrammed ECU is there to help, both with the Roushcharged output and the four-speed 4R75E automatic transmission. Crisper upshifts under power make sure that the engine stays in its powerband longer for optimal performance. This truck should be able to turn in mid-13-second runs all day long at the drag strip, if you're so inclined. The price you'll pay for this thrill ride, though, is having to fill the 26-gallon fuel tank with premium gas only.
At this point in time, the closest competitive model on the market is Ford's own '08 Harley-Davidson special-edition F-150, whose super-charged engine is also rated at 450 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque at the flywheel. However, since that truck is based on the Supercrew body, it's heavier by at least 400 pounds-even more if it's the AWD version. And at present, there's no fear from the competing camps at GM or Chrysler.
Roush-modified vehicles have long been known for their thorough approach in addressing all aspects of vehicle performance. This Nitemare truck is no different. In fact, the only available option is a Magellan GPS unit that sits in the middle of the dashboard.
When all is said and done, the only nightmares occuring belong to those who thought they had already put together a performance truck. It's time to pull up the covers!
Roush Performance products, including this Nitemare pickup, are available through an extensive network of authorized Ford dealers across the country. For additional information, call the company at (800) 59-ROUSH or visit its Web site at www.roushperformance.com.
'08 Roush Performance Nitemare Pickup
- Ford Triton 5.4L V-8
- Iron block
- Aluminum heads
- Three valves per cylinder
- Variable camshaft timing
- Sequential multi-port electronic fuel injection
- Roushcharger system, including supercharger, revised intake manifolds, intercooler and radiator
- Roush air-induction system and recalibrated ECM
- 450 flywheel hp
- 500 lb-ft flywheel torque
- Ford 4R75E four-speed automatic Overdrive transmission
- Gear ratios: 2.85, 1.55, 1.00, 0.70
- Roush Performance exhaust system
- Dual rear-exit configuration
- Front: Coil-on-shock, long-spindle double wishbone independent, cast aluminum lower control arm with Roush Performance front coil springs, front sway bar and specially valved shock absorbers
- Rear: Hotchkis-type non-independent live axle, with Roush Performance leaf springs and specially valved outboard shock absorbers
- Front: Ford 13.0-in vented disc, vacuum-assist with ABS
- Rear: Ford 13.7-in vented disc, vacuum-assist with ABS
- Front: Roush Performance chrome-finished, 22-in
- Rear: Roush Performance chrome-finished, 22-in
- Front: Pirelli Scorpion Zero, P275/45R22
- Rear: Pirelli Scorpion Zero, P275/45R22
- Roush Black Nitemare leather seating with embroidered logo, Nitemare logo floor mats, billet aluminum pedals, Nitemare instrument cluster, optional Magellan GPS system
- Roush black front window banner, hoodscoop with carbon-fiber insert, Nitemare fender and tailgate badging, Nitemare graphics package