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Preview: 2004 Harley-Davidson F-250

Ford goes heavy duty with the masters of the hog universe.

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author photo by Sue Mead August 2004

Yee haw! I feel like a hog. You know--- that feeling of a pig in the mud on a hot summer day. But, in this case, I'm a black and orange hog that's movin' down the road, with a grunt that turns heads in farm yards near and far. Taking a spin in the latest mating between Ford's Big Boy trucks and Harley's Hogs, I am tall and wide, but I can scurry with all the speed and control I need, and shod with 4x4 hooving, I can even fly right through the mud.

To the delight of customers committed to Ford Trucks and Harley Davidson, as well as auto scribes with a hankering for fun, these motoring giants have met in the pen once again and the result is an all-new marriage of logos and legends of two century-old, family-based companies.

Turning back the clock

On any given summer day in the year 1900, 19-year old Arthur Davidson and 20-year old Bill Harley could be found riding their bicycles to their favorite fishing hole. The boys loved the lake but were annoyed by the muddy, rough terrain that led to the water and realized they would rather spend their time fishing than pedaling.

Their solution was to design and build a 'motor-bicycle' that would make their expeditions faster and more enjoyable, and in 1903 the boys founded the Harley-Davidson Motor Company and set up shop in a 10- by 15-foot shed in Davidson's backyard. The legendary company was born and today remains the only major motorcycle manufacturer in the United States. Customers are extremely loyal and enthusiastic, meeting in Sturgis, S.D., each summer for a week-long rally.

By coincidence, the Ford Motor Company was also born in 1903. Henry Ford spent years playing with engines and parts, hoping to build an affordable 'horseless carriage.' Ford's Model T was introduced in 1908 and took advantage of assembly line efficiency and consistency to make it a low-cost and useable product.

Like Harley-Davidson, Ford has benefited enormously from highly loyal customers. The F-series pickup, introduced in 1948, has been the best selling pickup truck in America for the past quarter century. In 2002 alone, over 800,000 trucks were sold.

The giants meet

To the delight of buyers committed to both enterprises, the America-proud manufacturers announced a Ford Harley-Davidson F-150 SuperCab in 1999 to be released as a 2000 model. Originally powered by Ford's 5.4-liter Triton V-8, the truck produced 260 hp and was only available in black paint with orange pinstriping. By 2003, its power had climbed to 340 hp and 425-lb-ft of torque at 3250 rpm thanks to a supercharger. Also available was a two-tone black over silver paint job.

For 2004, Ford shifts the Harley-Davidson logos to the existing F-250 or F-350 4x4 models, a transition that has occurred for several reasons. First, customers asked for more power, and higher towing and hauling capacities. They also favored 4x4s (possibly to find the best fishing spots) over 2WD trucks. Next, the F-150 was completely reworked for 2004, and is only available in five standard trim models. Special edition models like the Harley-Davidson and SVT Lightning will join the squad over the next year or two. Finally, the two companies are celebrating a five-year alliance, and are doing so by building a larger, limited-edition truck.

Exterior flair

Like its predecessors, the 2004 Ford Harley-Davidson Super Duty is offered with a Black Monotone paint job or a two-tone, Black/Gray splash. New for 2004, is an available Black over Competition Orange scheme. The monotone version gets a body color grille while the two-tone look is emphasized with a black grille over a colored valance. Harley-Davidson logos appear on front fender and tailgate badges, chrome tubular step-bars, the rubber bed mat, and a special vanity license plate. Even the windshield gets a dot patterned Bar and Shield. Other exterior features include front tow-hooks, tie-down hooks, and an exhaust tip all finished in chrome. Standard are18-inch forged aluminum wheels with custom center caps.
Stepping inside reveals even more Harley-Davidson badging, as special rubber floor mats, serialization plates, keys, and a special Owner's Guide are included. The enthusiast chooses between two seating arrangements: either four black leather captain's chairs or front chairs and a rear bench. All seats are embossed with Harley-Davidson logos. Standard equipment includes power adjustable pedals, four-wheel anti-lock brakes, tilt, speed control, and power doors, windows, and locks.

Towing the load

Two engine/transmission combinations are offered in the Super Duty. A 6.8-liter EFI Triton V-10 is backed by a four-speed automatic transmission and produces 310 hp at 4250 rpm and 425 lb-ft of torque at 3250 rpm. Also offered is a 6.0-liter Power Stroke Diesel V-8, matched to a five-speed automatic transmission that makes 325 hp at 3300 rpm and a massive 560 lb-ft of torque at 1600 rpm. An F-250 with the V-10 and 3.73:1 gears tows up to 11,200 lb; higher gears (4.10:1) raise capacity to 14,200 lb. Tow rating with the diesel engine is between 13,000 and 14,000 lb with both gear ratios. All H-D edition Super Duty trucks get towing kits as standard equipment. Hauling is also supported electronically via a driver-activated transmission mode that modifies the shift schedule, when needed.
Only F-250 and F-350 SuperCab and Crew Cab 4x4s are available with the Harley-Davidson treatment, but both the short (6.75-foot) and long (8-foot) boxes can be ordered. Ford plans on building 8,000 '04 F-series Super Duty units with Harley stripes, down from the 12,000 F-150 SuperCrews built for 2003.

The first 1000 people who pay for the Black/Competition Orange finish will be entered to win a similarly painted 2004 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy motorcycle. With an incentive like that, look for more and more of these trucks to speckle highways nationwide. Just watch out for herds of them in South Dakota.

2004 Ford Harley-Davidson F-Series Super Duty
Base price:
 $40,690 (including destination/delivery charges)
Engine: 6.8-liter V-10, 310 hp/425 lb-ft; 6.0-liter diesel V-8, 325 hp/560 lb-ft Transmission: Four-speed automatic with overdrive (6.8-liter V-10); five-speed automatic with overdrive (diesel)
Wheelbase: 156.2 in
Length: 245.8 in
Width: 79.9 in
Base curb weight: 6270 lb
Fuel economy: N/A
Standard safety equipment: Dual front airbags; height-adjustable front safety belts; ABS; four-wheel disc brakes
Major standard equipment: Air conditioning, black leather interior trim, power windows/locks/mirrors, AM/FM/CD stereo
Warranty: Three years/36,000 miles

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Preview: 2004 Harley-Davidson F-250 - Autotrader