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2003 Chevrolet Cheyenne Concept
By: Michael LevinePosted: 01-06-03 01:00
© 2003

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At GM's first press conference the wraps came off the Chevrolet Cheyenne concept pickup. Ed Welburn, GM's Brand Design Center executive director calls the Cheyenne a "huge, healthy boost for Chevy trucks. It's a look at what the next full size pickup can be."

The Cheyenne builds on Chevrolet's rich history in pickups to create what exterior designer Jeff Angeleri also hopes, "will influence the direction of the next full-size Chevrolet tremendously. It's an appearance that's tough without being overt."

While working on the Cheyenne for the past 18 months, Angeleri and the rest of the team responsible for the concept created a "heritage wall" in their design studio that captured images from some of the most stylish of past Chevy trucks for inspiration. These trucks included the 1955 Cameo, 1972 C10 Cheyenne and 1988 C/K Silverado because each of those trucks shared a "common design vocabulary that was pure in form and purpose."

"For Chevrolet buyers we wanted to show that the Cheyenne was a true truck and could also be an aspirational vehicle for younger buyers," Angeleri added.

To that end the Cheyenne features many innovations not currently found in production pickups, especially around the cargo box area.

The bed is accessible from the outside through two side-access doors located just behind the cab and a dual-folding tailgate opens two ways - horizontally split in half or traditionally folded down.

Inside the bed are multiple storage bins that roll out from the sides and are integrated into the bed's floor. The floor is only 28-inches off the ground, compared to 32-inches on the current Silverado 4x2, aiding the placement of heavy materials into the box. It's even more amazing when you consider the Cheyenne wears 22-inch wheels while the Silverado has only 16s.

The interior of the Cheyenne is thoroughly refined. It's clean, elegant and luxurious retro styling neatly blends saddle leather covered surfaces with touches of polished aluminum in the instrument panel, steering wheel and doors. Berber carpet covers the floor.

Rear passenger seats are staggered higher than the front seats, stadium style. And even though the rear roof line has a sharp rake towards the bed the Cheyenne offers more interior room than today's Silverado crew cab. Small airplane style trays fold down from the backs of the front seats to offer rear passengers a small working surface and embedded seatback dials to control a DVD-based entertainment system.

Under the Cheyenne's front-hinged clamshell hood sits a supercharged 6.0-liter V8 engine that produces 500hp and 580lb-ft. Its surfaces have been polished to a mirror-like sheen and a mammoth carbon fiber air intake dominates the right and front of the compartment to force air into the supercharger.

Though it remains body-on-frame in design and construction like today's Silverado, the chassis the Cheyenne sits on is anything but conventional. It's formed from extruded aluminum.

So is the Cheyenne the next generation full-size truck from Chevrolet? Angeleri also left us with this item of information to speculate with. Normally the heritage wall comes down after a concept has been created and shown to the public but in the case of the Cheyenne Chevrolet has decided to keep it up.

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