Words By: John Stewart, Photography courtesy of Ford Motor Company
In the Beginning….
It was in the fall of1999 that Ford and Harley-Davidson revealed a plan to join forces, but the first fruits of the alliance didn’t arrive until February 2000, in the form of a black SuperCab F-150. The first 2000 Limited Edition Harley-Davidson pickup came with a Flareside box, a hard tonneau cover, orange pinstripes, extra chrome on the grille and brightwork, and an MSRP of $32,995. Like the Model T, you could get it in any color, so long as it was black. Production plans called for up to 7,500 units to be built at Ford’s Ontario truck plant in Canada. In fact, 8,000 were produced, and all were sold.
Project manager George Magro said the model was “the first of more exciting products to come.” Almost 10 years later, the alliance is still in force, and Ford is still building Limited Edition Harley-Davidson pickups.
2000: 20-Inch Wheels
That first Harley-Davidson F-150 had a 260-horsepower, SOHC Triton 5.4-liter V-8, plus a dual-outlet/single-inlet exhaust borrowed from the Lightning. It didn’t make more power than a standard 5.4-liter V-8, but it sure sounded better. With a 3.55 limited-slip rear end and a four-speed automatic, the truck went from zero to 60 in 8.02 seconds. It was EPA-rated at 15/19 mpg, which adjusts to 13/18 using the EPA’s new guidelines. That’s still not much different from the F-150 of today.
The original Harley/Ford pickup was also notable for offering the first 20-inch wheels ever on a Ford production vehicle -- chrome cast-aluminum wheels in a five-spoke design, shod with P275/45R Goodyear Eagle GTII tires. At the time, one journalist called it “without question, the best-handling full-size truck Ford manufactures.”
2001: Four Doors and Four Chairs
First shown in August 2000 at the Sturgis motorcycle rally, the 2001 Harley-Davidson F-150 got two more doors. Instead of the suicide door access-panel arrangement that the 2000 SuperCab got, the second edition was available in SuperCrew configuration, with four real doors and bucket seats in front and back.
The all-black truck was offered with Harley-Davidson visual cues, including orange and gray rocker panel pinstripes and chrome accessories. It was essentially a restyled, customized version of Ford's 2000 F-150 SuperCrew truck. The badging and trim remained the same, the 20-inch wheels and dual-outlet exhaust were retained, and the Triton 5.4-liter V-8 powertrain carried over with no changes.
Inside, the limited-edition 2001 Harley-Davidson F-150 SuperCrew kept the famous look of black leather and chrome accessories, including the "spun metal" instrument cluster and jewel ornaments, but with four black, leather-trimmed captain’s chairs with dual center consoles. There were Harley-Davidson Bar and Shield metal nameplates in the seatbacks, and Harley-Davidson identification embroidered on the console lids.
2002: Supercharged V-8
The big news for the 2002 Harley-Davidson F-150 was power -- lots of it, in the form of a supercharged version of the 5.4-liter Triton V-8. Horsepower jumped to 340 at 4,500 rpm, and torque was rated at 425 pounds-feet at 3,200 rpm -- all in an engine that readily met federal emissions standards of the day. Further enhancing the big, smoky burnout potential of the 2002 were 3.73 gears and a limited-slip differential. The four-speed automatic remained standard, and rear antilock brakes were added.
This was the third in the series of special editions. It was first shown Oct. 30, 2001, at the SEMA show, and it was driven at the 2001 Glendale, Calif., Love Ride a week later.
A new color, Dark Shadow Gray, joined black in the lineup. Flame pinstripes and chrome accessories were used to hint at power under the hood. The front end was fitted with a new upper chrome billet grille, clear-lens headlamps and clear-lens parking lamps embossed with the H-D Bar and Shield. Wheels remained at the 20x9-inch size, but an exposed-rivet design surrounded the center of the wheels, with complementing Harley-Davidson center caps. As in the past, the 2002 Ford Harley-Davidson F-150 SuperCrew was lowered an inch, and a tuned exhaust system with a single inlet/dual outlet muffler ended in chrome "slash cut" exhaust tips. Ford and Harley-Davidson badging was used on the quarter panel and tailgate of the truck.
The interior of the 2002 Ford Harley-Davidson F-150 SuperCrew featured a console embossed with flames, plus four captain’s chairs upholstered with perforated two-tone leather and Bar and Shield metal nameplates in the seatbacks. The interior also became more luxurious, with features like brushed stainless steel pedals, Homelink and TravelNote, automatic climate control and heated front seats. Optional equipment included a six-disc CD changer, a sliding rear window, an engine block heater, a moonroof and a bed extender.
Manufacturing continued at Ford’s Kansas City, Mo., assembly plant, and the build plan was expanded to production of “no more than” 12,000 units. When the truck arrived in dealer showrooms in early 2002, it carried a base MSRP of $36,495.
2003: Back in Black … and Silver
In 2003, both Harley-Davidson and Ford marked their 100-year birthdays, and they did so by producing another special edition. The truck was unveiled in September 2002 at the California Speedway as part of a 10-city road tour hosted by Harley-Davidson.
Even given the centennials, the 2003 special edition was largely a carryover model from 2002, freshened with a few key changes. It continued to be available in black, but for 2003 an optional two-tone paint job, black over silver, was available. There were body-colored bumpers, a new front valance with fog lamps, and clear-lens headlamps. Chrome pieces included a barred upper grille and tie-down hooks. A specially created “100th Anniversary” nameplate was added to the fender and tailgate of the 2003 model. Inside, the anniversary nameplate was used on the console lid, and two-tone leather captain’s chairs sported the Bar and Shield. As before, the production plan included up to 12,000 units to be made in the Kansas City assembly plant, with the MSRP set at $37,295.
2004: Heavy Metal
By early 2004, sales were approaching 40,000 in total, and the alliance seemed to be productive for both parties. In the first four years, the companies had introduced the 2000 Ford Harley-Davidson F-150 SuperCab, the 2001 Ford Harley-Davidson SuperCrew, and 2002 and 2003 Supercharged Ford Harley-Davidson F-150 SuperCrew models.
For 2004, the fifth Harley-Davidson special edition Ford was a larger-than-life Super Duty, taking a step away from the street/sport versions of the past and into heavy-duty 4x4 territory.
Available as an F-250 or F-350 SuperCab or crew cab, the limited-edition 4x4 model hit showrooms in early February 2004, with more than 90 percent of customers ordering crew cab models powered by Ford's 6.0-liter Power Stroke diesel engine. Backed by an electronic five-speed auto, the 6.0-liter diesel mill was rated at 325 hp at 3,300 rpm and 560 pounds-feet of torque at 1,600 rpm.
The Ford Harley-Davidson Super Duty package had unique exterior colors and styling cues. Available in Black/Competition Orange or Black/Dark Shadow Gray two-tone versions, or an all-black monochrome one, the truck had an engine decal, chrome exhaust tip and a chrome tubular step bar with the Bar and Shield logo insert.
For the Super Duty, 18-inch forged aluminum wheels were substituted for the 20-inch F-150 wheels, and LT275/65R18E all-terrain black sidewall tires were chosen. Four-wheel antilock brakes were standard.
"Harley-Davidson F-Series Super Duty" badges were added to the front fender and tailgate. All told, Ford went heavy on the Harley badging, with emblems or logos appearing on the owner’s guide, keys, all the seats, the floormats, tape stripe, step bar, wheel center caps and on the windshield, where a Bar and Shield dot pattern was used. On the inside, the carpet, door-trim inserts and steering wheel were all ebony black, and even the floormats were made of black molded rubber. The instrument cluster had the "spun metal" face consistent with previous editions.
2005: Flames and V-10 Power
The next year brought a new look inside and out, as the 2005 Harley-Davidson Super Duty became the sixth truck in the line of special editions. As always, black dominated the color palette, but now there were three appearance packages, including two new flamed paint schemes -- the first factory-flamed trucks in the industry. The front sported a unique black-and-chrome billet-style grille and blacked-out headlamps. Chrome tow hooks and fog lamps added gleaming pinpoints to the front end.
This time around, the Ford Harley-Davidson Super Duty was available in F-250 and F-350 4x4 configurations, with either the 6.0-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel engine or a 6.8-liter Triton V-10. The gas V-10 was fitted with three-valve heads, allowing it to make 355 hp and 455 pounds-feet of torque. The 6.0-liter diesel power plant had been upgraded to 570 pounds-feet of torque, an improvement of 10 pounds-feet. Both engines were backed by Ford’s five-speed TorqShift automatic.
Twenty-inch wheels, previously not seen in the heavy-duty pickup segment, were brightly polished forged aluminum with logo-enhanced center caps and locking chrome lug nuts. Between the wheel wells, the tubular chrome step bar with a Bar and Shield logo was altered by adding a blackout backing for a cleaner, more integrated appearance.
The custom flame paint treatment -- in Toreador Red on Black or True Blue with Medium Wedgewood Blue -- was created using a new wet-on-wet paint process to produce factory-painted graphics as smooth and seamless as those applied in a custom motorcycle shop. The flame design was drawn freehand by Harley-Davidson stylist Ray Drea directly on an early prototype, and digitized templates were pulled from his artwork.
The standard Ford Harley-Davidson Super Duty package pairs black exterior paint with a thin, Harley-Orange tape stripe that extends all the way around the vehicle.
Heavyweight zinc die-cast metal badges mark the Ford Harley-Davidson alliance, and a large Harley-Davidson Bar and Shield logo dominates the standard rubber bed mat. Chrome tie-down hooks and a bullet-style welded-on chrome exhaust tip, with repeat round-millcut texture to match the wheel design, enhance the rear of the vehicle. The interior has stitched two-tone black-leather seats with the usual logo, with Dark Flint door panels -- an extra-black tone to make the interior darker than a standard Super Duty. The door inserts and instrument panel have an appliqué feature that looks like carbon fiber but is made from hundreds of tiny Bar and Shield logos in a repeating pattern.
Most touch points, including the power seat controls, are chrome. The brake and accelerator pedals resemble the chrome-and-black footboards of a custom big V-twin cruiser. The ignition key has a Bar and Shield logo on one side and a Ford oval on the other.
A nickel plate on the center console marks the production date and number of each unit.
Production began in the fourth quarter of 2004, with the F-250 base price at $41,040 and the F-350 coming in at $41,815
2006: All-Wheel Drive and More
Big wheels were the thing in 2006, so the Harley-Davidson F-150 got 22-inch forged aluminum wheels, polished and fitted with a Bar and Shield center cap. The new wheels -- the biggest ever offered on a production F-150 -- were exclusive to the H-D F-150 that year.
Based on a SuperCab with Styleside box, the F-150 exterior also featured a unique billet grille and blacked-out headlamps. Smoked taillights, a blacked-out bumper and a "Harley-Davidson F-150" badge distinguish the rear. Chrome side tubes and a dropped front chin spoiler help create a lowered look. Chrome tie-down hooks and a slash-cut chrome exhaust tip add street-custom appeal.
The monochrome exterior design, accented with a scalloped red stripe outlined in electric blue along the beltline, is complemented by a dramatic high-gloss Piano Black interior, with black aniline leather seating surfaces and chrome accents sprinkled liberally throughout the cabin. Every HD F-150 had a serialized nickel plate showing the vehicle's production date and number. At the time, Ford president Steve Lyons described it as “an interior that will take your breath away.”
In another first for the F-150, an all-wheel-drive version was offered along with the previously offered 2WD HD edition. Under the hood was a 5.4-liter, three-valve Triton V-8 fitted with an exhaust system tuned to make the right growl. It turned out 300 hp at 5,000 rpm and 365 pounds-feet of torque at 3,750 rpm.
The 2006 Ford Harley-Davidson F-150 SuperCab was the seventh model to emerge from the alliance forged in 1999. By 2006, the collaboration between the two companies had produced four F-150 models, as well as Super Duty F-250 and F-350 offerings.
2007: Harley-Davidson F-150 SuperCrew and Saleen Power
Ford began building the 2007 Ford Harley-Davidson F-150 Super Crew trucks beginning in September 2006 at Ford's Dearborn, Mich., truck plant, which had been newly renovated to the highest standards.
After the brilliant redesign of 2006, for the first time since 2004 a supercharged F-150 returned. The 2007 Ford Harley-Davidson F-150 had a twin-screw, Saleen-sourced blower cranking 450-hp and 500 lbs.-ft. of torque. A new Dark Amethyst exterior color was added, but the previous formula combining high-gloss Piano Black interior details with black aniline leather seating surfaces held true. As before, the interior featured a display of chrome, including unique chrome-ringed instruments, chrome handles, vent rings, floor shifter and door pulls.
Ford continued to offer the F-150 as a 4x2 or with all-wheel-drive capability.
The 2007 Ford Harley-Davidson F-150 SuperCrew was considered the ninth model offered since 1999, counting six F-150s and the Super Duty F-250 and F-350 editions.
In addition to the 2007 Ford Harley-Davidson F-150 SuperCrew and other vehicles in the Ford/Harley-Davidson truck lineup, the companies' alliance produced other products, such as co-branded clothing and vehicle accessories.
2008: Two-Tone Paint and Heavy Metal
In 2008, both Ford and Harley-Davidson celebrated their 105th anniversary. The 10th limited edition truck had two color schemes -- monochrome black with striping, or black and copper, a design drawn from the special edition 105th anniversary Harley-Davidson motorcycle with Vintage Copper paint. The 300-hp, 5.4-liter V-8 was the standard power plant on both 2WD and 4WD F-150s. The Saleen supercharged V-8 was available again in a 2WD Harley-Davidson Edition F-150. The Saleen package also included minor instrumentation upgrades, such as a boost gauge and a gauge to monitor charge-air temperatures.
Super-Duty Harley-Davidson editions were also offered as 2008 models, sharing the same design with the F-150 but powered by the 6.4-liter Power Stroke diesel. The 2008 Ford Harley-Davidson Super Duty offered the same: a choice of black monochromatic exterior paint with a custom Vintage Copper stripe running along the beltline, or a black and Vintage Copper two-tone paint scheme. A chrome, billet-style grille with body-colored surround was used, along with illuminated running boards, chrome exhaust tips, and a rubber bed mat with the Harley-Davidson logo. A special “105th Anniversary Harley-Davidson F-Series Super Duty” badge adorns the exterior and interior of the truck.
“The design of the side vent and grille on the Super Duty represents the heat fins on a cylinder head of a Harley-Davidson V-Twin engine,” said Brad Richards, design manager, Ford Harley-Davidson trucks.
The Vintage Copper color accents are carried through the interior as well, accenting specially designed leather seats. A unique instrument cluster and a one-of-a-kind “105th Anniversary” badge can be found inside, along with black-and-dusted-copper leather captain’s chairs. Optional was a 60/40 split rear bench with a Bar and Shield logo mounted to the top of the backseat. The truck was packaged with a high level of standard equipment, including a power-sliding rear window, memory power-adjustable pedals and heated front seats.
According to Ford press releases, the 2008 Ford Harley-Davidson F-Series Super Duty was the 11th Harley-Davidson model. By 2008, the co-branding of the two storied companies had resulted in sales totaling more than 60,000 Harley-Davidson edition pickup trucks.
2009: Heroic Proportions
For the first time, Harley-Davidson branding has been extended to Ford’s toughest pickup, the 2009 F-450 Super Duty. The F-450 has 6.4-liter Powerstroke V-8 diesel power and blue flames running from the side vents all the way to the box side of the truck.
As with the still-available F-250/350 single-rear-wheel models, each individually numbered Harley-Davidson F-450’s flame design scheme is carried through to the interior gauges in the instrument panel. The perforated black-leather-wrapped seats, door panels and center console cover reveal blue leather underneath, giving the same blue-flame effect as the exterior. Harley-Davidson badges are present on the fenders and tailgate, along with "Harley-Davidson" script on the box side.
2010: Meet The Latest Addition To the Harley F-Truck Family
New for the 2010 model year is the 14th Ford Harley-Davidson F-Truck, based on the 2009 F-150. It debuted at the 2009 Chicago auto show.