Ford told us to go to Hell, but we were okay with that. Ford invited us to check out their latest permutation of the Harley-Davidson Edition F-150. This one is powered by the same supercharged 5.4L V-8 that screams inside the Saleen S331 pickup truck that we cover elsewhere in this issue.
Dropping a blown V-8 into the Harley-Davidson Edition was a good marketing move for Ford. The Blue Oval hasn't had a performance-oriented pickup ever since the company yanked the Lightning from its lineup after the '04 model year. The supercharged Harley-Davidson Edition combines Ford's engineering know-how with the hammer-hard staccato of Harley-Davidson's bad-boy reputation. Harley-Davidson motorcycle owners care about the Harley brand with a passion that no full-line auto manufacturer can possibly evoke for anything other than a particular nameplate. Mustang enthusiasts primarily lust after the pony cars first, then the Ford brand second. Harley riders get a rise out of everything Harley...who wouldn't want a piece of that marketing mojo? America's best-selling pickup teaming with America's born-to-be-wild motorcycle maker is akin to the forming of a new rock 'n' roll band, with Ford ripping out guitar riffs and Harley-Davidson thumping adrenaline-charged bass lines.
So far, it's been a good gig for both brands. Motorcycles and pickup trucks play well together. That is, if you can't ride your custom chopper to Sturgis, you can always load it into your F-150 and drive. And the bad-boy Harley cachet gives Ford a tagline that it can now punctuate with a bad-ass 450hp 500lb-ft supercharged powerplant. It's engineered by Saleen-a performance icon that Ford horsepower lovers can rally behind.
We returned a couple of supercharged pickup trucks: Saleen's F-150-based S331 and a month with Roush's supercharged KTM Edition F-150-only a few days before we flew to Detroit to drive the supercharged Harley-Davidson Edition F-150. Our trip to Michigan was actually a great opportunity to get reacquainted with the Harley-Davidson Edition, in general, and this powered-up version, in particular. Our plan was to grab the keys for the truck from Ford, take it to the speed shop Livernois Motorsports in Dearborn Heights, Michigan-you can contact them at (313) 561-5500-for a dyno run, and then we hit the road. As for where that road would take us, we weren't really sure, so we took Ford's suggestion and went to Hell.