The Nite was sort of a half-assed attempt at a special edition. The upgraded features were an upgraded paint and decal job along with some forged aluminum wheels. A blackout trim on top of a black paint job made it stand out and a decal running down the side that transitioned from blue to magenta gave it a menacing look, but that is where the upgrades ended. The suspension was also tightened up but this was hardly a performance pickup.
Like the old COPOs of the 60s, the 2011-14 models adhered to strict NHRA guidelines. That meant super-small production numbers and a price payable only by professional race teams. It also meant the car’s engine could only make 530 horsepower. But much like the Japanese engine restrictions of the 1990s, that figure seems to have been framed in air quotes. In 2016 a (not extensively) modified 2014 COPO Camaro ran an 8.323-second quarter mile at 165.80 miles per hour. Doing the math, that car was making closer to 1200 horsepower. 1200.
In reality, the roomy interior is full of odd shaped materials and cheap plastics that can easily turn anyone off. Oddly, as you move up the trim lines the Sienna loses ride and handling quality. The Sienna’s second row of seating does move quite a distance on its slide mechanisms, but the seats are quite difficult to remove if you want them out of the way for added cargo space.
In addition to their beauty, they were pretty powerful for their day. In 1954, Ford dropped in an overhead valve V-8 that put out 130 horsepower. By 1956, it was up to almost 180. In addition, 1953 was the first year that an automatic transmission was put into a Ford pickup.