Corvette Meets Pickup: The Unrealized Potential of the 480 HP, 6-Speed Silverado SS Concept
With America's appreciation for both pickup trucks and high horsepower performance cars—we've seen some pretty wonderful examples of these two loves blending to make some pretty special vehicles. The GMC Syclone is one of these, as is the Ford Lightning of the early 2000s and the Dodge Ram SRT-10 "Viper Truck."
And just as the Viper Truck mixed the hardware of the Dodge Viper with a Ram Pickup, Chevy also experimented with a mixture of the Corvette and Silverado pickup that sadly never reached production.
Radical Styling and Performance
It was over 20 years ago that the Silverado SS Concept was released at the 2000 SEMA Show, and rather than just being production-spec Silverado with some extra horsepower and some minor tweaks, the concept was a thorough reworking of the pickup.
For starters there was the look. While immediately recognizable as a Silverado, the concept differed from the standard truck in some big ways. Both its length and wheelbase had been shortened, with a smaller bed and a profile that was much smoother and more muscular.
Under the hood sat a 6.6L V8 that made 480hp and 475 pound feet of torque. And while those numbers might seem mild by today's standards, remember that back in 2000 a Corvette only made about 350 horsepower.
And speaking of Corvettes, perhaps the coolest thing about the Silverado SS Concept that it actually used the entire axle assembly from a C5-Corvette, including its rear-mounted six-speed manual gearbox.
Other notable bits includes a fully-redone suspension setup with air adjustment, and a set of giant four-wheel disc brakes and custom wheels that sat under widened and re-styled composite body panels.
All in all, it was a pretty bold project and had it reached production it would have put General Motors right at the heart of the early 2000s high performance truck wars.
So what became of the Silverado SS Concept? Technically it did end up reaching production as the Silverado SS a few years later. It had a 345hp 6.0L, an automatic transmission and some other upgrades that made it decent sport truck, though not nearly as hard core as the Lighting, SRT-10 or the original concept version.
Interestingly, the Silverado SS Concept was actually immortalized in video game form, being a playable vehicle in the Gran Turismo 4, 5 and 6.
For the most part though, the Silverado SS Concept remains another one of those what-ifs of modern automotive history.
More From Driving Line
- For a modern Chevy pickup with an even bigger horsepower injection, check out the latest creation from SVE.