Stick-shift, Coyote-Swapped And Twin-Turbocharged Gen 1 Lightning

Checking all of the boxes for any enthusiast, let alone Ford SVT Lightning fans, is Jason Newman’s 1993 Ford SVT Lightning. With its Coyote engine swap, twin turbochargers feeding it boost, and a TREMEC stick-shift behind it all, this Lightning has been brought up to current performance standards and then some.

Hailing from Fleming Island, Florida, Jason Newman is no stranger to SVT Lightning trucks. Engaged in exciting endeavors with Navy aircraft as a civilian in the Department of Defense during the day, Newman dedicates much of his downtime to turning wrenches on the 5 Gen 1s and pair of Gen 2s that he has owned over the years. About 4 years ago, progress stalled on the 2001 Lightning he has owned for over 20 years after he decided to transition away from the drag-focused build and return to a street-oriented approach with it.

Photography by James Elkins

“I was sort of looking,” Newman said of the Gen 1 trucks he would soon purchase. “I had just bought a red ’95 that had a blown motor and was going to build that one out. It had some rust and rot, and was going to require a lot more bodywork. Then I came across these two trucks locally. The ad was very poor, and I almost didn’t call about it. I let it sit for about a week, and found out it was legit, so I bought both.”

A Bit of Nostalgia

“My first Lightning when I enlisted was a red ’95, and it was stolen and totaled,” he explained. Both of the trucks in the deal, one red and one black, were ’93 models. The red one was a rolling chassis, while the black one needed a few small fixes to get it back up and running. Newman sold the latter to a good friend and began work on the red one in February of 2022.

“With it being a rolling chassis, I knew I wanted to Coyote swap it, and I wanted it to be a manual truck,” Newman said of his plans for the remaining red Lightning. The first order of business was to find a suitable drivetrain, and Newman sought a package deal. He found an engine and transmission combination from a 2013 Mustang GT, and the best part was that it not only included the 5.0-liter Coyote engine he was looking for, but also came with a twin-turbo system and a stout TREMEC six-speed manual transmission.”

“I originally wanted a positive displacement blower on a Coyote, but the transmission alone was worth close to what I paid for the entire package,” Newman told us.

Performance Packed Pickup

“For that truck, Fat Fender Garage makes a crossmember bracing kit because you have to cut sections of the crossmember out. The kit also includes motor mounts—it’s a pretty complete package,” Newman said.

Newman had 904PowderWorx powdercoat the 60mm ceramic ball bearing On3 Performance turbochargers before mounting them to the engine. He then modified the turbo downpipes to fit the F-150 chassis and built a full exhaust afterward. The cold side of the turbo system needed modification as well, prompting Newman to rework the cold-side piping to accommodate the air-to-air intercooler in its new location.

Along with the small engine parts, Newman had 904PowderWorx powdercoat the Lightning’s chassis. While the engine fit easily enough between the frame rails, the manual swap was more difficult and required metalwork to raise the transmission tunnel to accommodate the sizable TREMEC Magnum XL transmission and McLeod RXT twin-disc clutch.

“We drew it up in Fusion 360 and cut the parts on a plasma table,” Newman said of the custom transmission crossmember that needed to be fabricated. “This truck pushed a lot of firsts. The Coyote pedal is made to fit a flat surface. The factory pedal mounting surface on the truck is at an angle, so we had to make an adapter to fit that angle and place the pedal flat. We sell those now, and it works for Godzilla swaps, too. I also had to make a new shift lever because the Tremec Mustang shifter was too far back, so I made my own to locate the shifter in a more comfortable position.” Newman created Steamboat Customs LLC to provide fellow enthusiasts with the needed parts for similar builds.

As the Lightning had been heavily drag raced in its past, the SVT machine’s Lightning-specific 8.8 rear end, which features a beefier housing with built-in cooling fins, was fortified with Level 10 33-spline axles, a Detroit Truetrac differential, and 3.55 gears. It’s the final piece of a stout driveline designed to hold up to loads of horsepower.

Chassis To Match Engine Performance

When it came to the Lightning’s exterior appearance, Newman had a specific stance in mind, but none of the off-the-shelf options could provide that. To achieve the desired look, he chose Belltech 3-inch-drop I-beams and custom coil springs made by Coil Spring Specialties that add another 1.75 inches to the drop. For those looking to do something similar, Newman noted that the spring rate on the passenger side is actually 50 lbs higher from Ford because the drivetrain sits 4 inches toward the passenger side. At the back of the pickup, Newman fabricated his own front leaf hangers to achieve the desired drop.


“I didn’t want to do a flip kit because I wanted to run Lightning Force Performance traction bars, which are designed for an axle-under-leaf arrangement,” Newman explained. In addition to the custom front hangers, he installed a 1-inch drop shackle in the back and removed the two lower leafs from the spring pack. Keeping the bounce in check is a set of Belltech Street Performance shocks, both front and rear.

Speaking of bounce, part of the reason why this Lightning stands apart from others is its custom wheels from 3030 Autosport. Newman chose the fitment specifications and had 3030 Autosport manufacture a set of its GO5Y wheels in 20×9-inch front and 20×10-inch rear sizes. He then found a deal on some Porsche Cayenne takeoff Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, sized P255/40/20 at the front and P295/35/20 at the back. Tucked behind the big hoops are Wilwood 6-piston calipers and 14-inch rotors. Newman utilized a Little Shop Manufacturing kit that allows them to bolt onto the factory spindle and a Bronco Graveyard kit that swaps out the drum brakes for a disc setup.


Before the beautiful red exterior was painted, several custom modifications were made to the metal. These include shaving the gas doors, trimming the fender lips, and filling in the stake pockets in the bed sides. Newman and a friend also fitted the aft driver’s side stake pocket with a pop-up gas cap that would normally be used in a motorcycle gas tank.

As most sport truck enthusiasts do, Newman replaced the factory rear bumper with a welded-in roll pan, and he modified the front bumper with Ford HD bumper inserts, a common aesthetic choice that also provides additional airflow to the intercooler and engine. Under the hood, Newman also fabricated new inner fender panels from aluminum to give the engine bay a more finished appearance.


“Visual FX painted it in stages over the course of 6 to 7 months,” Newman said. “We started with the cab in January of ‘23, then the doors and hood a few months later—the front end stuff and the bed was last. As I was building the truck, we would rotate parts.” After the luscious red hue was clear-coated and buffed, the final touch was a pair of aftermarket carbon fiber fender badges.

Stepping Inside

With the cab painted and mounted back on the truck, Newman got to work on the interior. The factory dash, door panels, and bucket seats remain, but the instrument cluster got a significant upgrade with custom 3 3/8-inch gauges from Speedhut.

“We built our own instrument cluster and are going to start selling that,” Newman noted. “The Lightning fog light switch and bezel were missing, too, so the hole was taken up by a boost gauge.”

Giving the driver a perfect view of the new dash is an aftermarket billet steering wheel. While it wasn’t in the truck at the time these photos were taken, Newman built a center console using medium-density fiberboard. It houses two 8-inch subwoofers operated by a Boss Audio touchscreen display mounted in the factory single-DIN dash hole. Newman plasma-cut 3/16-inch aluminum plate for the top of the console to match the door panels, and he and his friend designed their own cup holders and shifter bezel. Along with several components in the engine bay, Cutting Edge Hydrographics hydro-dipped numerous interior components as well.

Setting The Bar

What many people probably want to know about is the Coyote powerplant. Newman was able to utilize the stock engine harness and employed a Power By The Hour Gen 1 harness for the auxiliary parts such as the accelerator pedal, fans, etc.

With just 14 miles on the truck, Newman loaded it up on the trailer and headed north to Bowling Green, Kentucky, for the 2023 NMRA World Finals and Holley Ford Fest event at Beech Bend Raceway. He didn’t even have time to have it tuned at that point, but had Eric Brooks unlock the factory Mustang ECU, and Tony Gonyon worked on the calibration while the Lightning was parked at the HP Tuners booth at the event. After the event was over, Gonyon fine-tuned the calibration on his Tuners Inc chassis dyno, and with just 7 psi of boost, the Coyote produced 593 horsepower and 580 lb-ft of torque on 93-octane gasoline.


“It’s more than the Michelin Pilot Super Sports signed up for,” Newman quipped.

The one remaining thing Newman has to do to his Lightning is have new air conditioning lines made so he can get the cool breezes flowing for the hot Florida summers. One thing is for sure, Newman’s Lightning definitely sets the bar pretty high for these first-gen SVT products.

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About the author

Steve Baur

A lifelong automotive enthusiast, Steve Baur attended the University of South Florida for journalism and has worked as a technical editor and editor for numerous automotive publications for over 20 years.
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