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2006 Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson Edition Road Test
A celebration of two of American's finest motoring achievements
By Kevin 'Crash' Corrigan
Two names. One is nothing short of an American Icon. It's a product that comes from a company with over 100 years of manufacturing history behind it. Its logo is often portrayed to the world as a symbol of all things American. Over the years, it has become a byword for toughness and their loyal customers have often been heard to say that once you buy one, you'll never own anything else. It's Ford, of course.
The other one is … well it's Harley-Davidson isn't it? So the above description is perfectly appropriate for this company as well.
Maybe, that's why the Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson Edition, in so many ways, makes so much sense. In other ways, it doesn't. It is certainly not a work vehicle; it's far too luxurious for that. It can hardly be described as a sports car, even with its 5.4 L V8 and the 22-inch rims.
No, what we have here is simply a celebration of two of America's finest motoring achievements.
The legendary Ford F-150 pickup is, without a doubt, one of the most successful products ever to carry the Ford badge. It has been the best selling full-size pickup in North America for 40 years now.
Harley-Davidson can equally be proud of its achievements. It has become the undeniable pinnacle of the motorcycle industry. It also should be said that it can boast of a branding division that is the envy of corporations worldwide.
That alone says a great deal about this partnership. Nowadays you can find the Harley-Davidson logo on a number of products and it is often rumoured that H-D earns more revenue from this than they do from the motorcycles they produce. The company, however, is fiercely protective of its reputation and does not venture into partnership deals such as this without thinking it through.
The 2006 Ford Harley-Davidson F-150 is the eighth model to come from this alliance since it was forged in 1999 and in my opinion, quite possibly the best to date.
Its impressive Moonstone Black paintwork, the custom-looking chrome Billet-styled grille and the 22-inch polished aluminum wheels combine to make this truck stand out in a crowd. Add to it the Harley-Davidson badges and the bold H-D striping, and this vehicle starts to take on all the coolness of a decked out FatBoy. (Before you start sending me letters about male weight problems and my total insensitivity, I'm talking about Harley's famous FatBoy motorcycle model, okay?)
Upon opening the clam-style doors on the vehicle, you really do get a sense of the biker influence. Ford describes the armchair-looking seats as being covered in “Airline Leather.” To me, it looks more like the coverings that you would see on motorcycle seats or even saddlebags. Whichever way you see them, they are tough-looking, extremely comfortable, and that heavy duty leather should easily last through the lifetime of the vehicle. The little H-D emblems on the seatbacks have been thoughtfully applied and succeed in completing the look.
The dashboard also carries the H-D logo tastefully throughout and the gauges have a very distinctive look to them. There is a special plate that carries the full VIN number of the vehicle and also the specific build number, as this is, of course, a Limited Edition model.
The interior is finished off with a leather bound steering wheel/gearshift and the stereo has one of the best speaker systems that I've ever encountered.
Every F-150 drives well but it must be said that there is a certain price to pay for those good-looking 22-inch rims. The vehicle does like to follow the truck ruts on the highway and you can almost feel a dime on the roadway. This is not un-livable and to be honest, it's a small price to pay for the stunning looks of the vehicle.
Performance from the 5.4-litre EFI V8 is plentiful and the O/D transmission is well suited. The exhaust note has a nice growl to it and certainly adds to the bad-boy image.
After a week spent in the vehicle, I have to say that my wallet appeared a little lighter after a visit to each gas station. Then again, V8 pickups and even Harley-Davidson motorcycles have never been aimed at the “tight-wallet brigade.” These modes of transport are all about the total image that they portray and how they make you feel inside.
With that said, I doubt Ford will have any trouble whatsoever moving this year's output of these Limited Editions. The truck certainly looks the part. I can vouch that it turns heads and even though I'm not truly a pickup kind of guy, I enjoyed my week in the Ford F150 Harley-Davidson Edition immensely.
Kevin 'Crash' Corrigan is a regular contributor to CarTest!. He is based in Caledon, Ont., and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted Oct. 15, 2006