Linking the brand names of two heartland makers of transportation devices seems like a pointless, jingoistic marketing exercise, but the marriage of Ford and Harley-Davidson has lured some 60,000 buyers. Among them were two guys I saw on Ann Arbor roads this past weekend, both driving different versions of a Harley-branded F-series. Neither was a poseur: one guy was towing a flatbed landscaping trailer, and the other had a diamond-plate toolbox. I guess the message they were sending was, "Hey, if I weren't busy mowing lawns and building houses, I'd be out riding my Harley." This is more, really, than I want to know. But what do I know?
What Ford apparently knows is that these guys are in a hurry to get home to their Hogs, so the new-for-2007, $37,210 Harley-Davidson F-150 Super Crew is now available with a supercharger. Developed by Saleen, the $6500 blower pumps up Ford's 5.4-liter V-8 to 450 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque. These numbers would be all the more impressive if only two digits could be added to the F-150's specification: fifth and sixth forward gears. The four-speed automatic is simply no match for the blown V-8, holding second gear all the way to 80 mph and downshifting lethargically if you hit the gas at cruising speeds. The engine's satisfying supercharger whine simply promises more than the powertrain is able to deliver.
If you want a sport truck, wait until Ford gets its SVT program back off the ground. And if you want to tell the world that you'd rather be on two wheels, go ahead, get your F-150 Harley. But skip the supercharger. This much we know.