Chevrolet Silverado Regular Cab SS: Build It
By: Michael Levine Posted: 11-05-02 07:30
© 2002

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Gary Cowger, President of General Motors North America, kicked off GM's media events at SEMA amongst the setting of the Las Vegas Guggenheim Museum's Art of the Motorcycle exhibit. And sprinkled throughout the collection of classic bikes was a mixture of high octane vehicles crafted by GM's Performance Division.

Cowger emphasized GM's newly energized commitment to create "gotta have" products that highlight the character of each division through technology and performance.

But perhaps closest in spirit to any of the bikes on display and reflecting the true performance heritage of Chevrolet division's hallowed Super Sport badge was the Silverado Regular Cab SS.

Though still considered a concept with no definite word yet on production, the Silverado SS Regular Cab is, "the other end of the spectrum (from the 2003 Silverado SS)" according to Rick Scheidt, Marketing Director for the Silverado. "It's where we'd like to go."

Where the Silverado SS emphasizes sporty performance combined with the hauling capabilities of an extended cab truck, the Regular Cab SS is strictly about the performance.

Two doors, a bed and a powerful V8 pretty much sum it up. Serious enthusiasts can't ask for much more than that.

The same small block 6.0-liter engine that powers the Silverado SS is used again under the hood of the Regular Cab SS but with a few new tricks added. The cylinder heads have been replaced with modified aluminum versions taken from the Chevrolet Corvette's LS6 V8 engine. The heads provide improved airflow while working in tandem with thickened combustion chambers that reduce volume, increasing the compression ratio. Combined with a high lift roller camshaft, 50 horsepower has been added to bring the engine's total output to 395hp and 409lb-ft of torque.

Forget about an automatic transmission that adds weight while limiting the range of engine performance available to enthusiasts. A 6-speed manual is the only option available and it's directly related to the T-56 setup used in the discontinued Firebird and Camaro pony cars.

The front suspension gets a Hotchkis Performance stabilizer bar but it's back to the future for the Regular Cab SS's rear suspension. It receives a five-link rear suspension donated from the Chevrolet Tahoe that's literally grafted onto the rear frame of the truck.

Five-link rear suspensions use to be prevalent on Chevrolet pickups before leaf springs became part of conventional wisdom for their better load handling abilities. The five-link offers better ride comfort and control from a performance perspective as the shocks and suspension synchronously work together.

Further suspension upgrades include Eibach springs that lower ride height 1.5-inches up front and 2.25-inches in the rear and Bilstein shock absorbers.

Inside the truck, out go the leather captains chairs seen in the Silverado SS. The Regular Cab SS gets a simple cloth bench seat. The bench provides easy access to the shifter while emphasizing Chevrolet's familial appeal. Everyone can sit up front together and share the drive.

Carpeting is also gone, replaced with a rubber floor surface.

Chevrolet recently announced pricing for the Silverado SS starting at around $39,000. If the Silverado Regular Cab SS gets the greenlight, Scheidt would like to see the price kept under $30,000.

This is one truck we would definitely like to see added to Chevrolet's collection of SS vehicles.

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