Chevrolet Silverado SS
The Silverado SS was a high-performance variant of the Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck.
Silverado SS – GMT900 Generation
The first and only Silverado SS launched in early 2003. It was based on the GMT-800 generation Silverado 1500 (half ton) model with upgrades to the drivetrain, exterior and interior, including:
- Engine: standard Vortec 6.0L V-8 engine with RPO code L76, making 345 horsepower (257 kW) at 5200 RPM and 380 pound-feet of torque (515 Nm) at 4000 RPM. This was the same engine used in the second-generation Cadillac Escalade, which was called “HO 6000”, while Chevrolet and GMC referred to the motor as Vortec High Output and VortecMAX.
- Transmission: 4L65E four-speed automatic
- 4WD with 4.10 final drive gear ratio, offered as standard from 2003-2004, optional in 2005, and discontinued in 2006.
- 2WD introduced in 2005 in order to increase sales. The change also brought about the replacement of drum brakes on the rear brakes in place of disc brakes, a change that also applied to all other Silverado models of that era (GMT800 generation)
- Suspension: Z60 performance suspension with a torsion bar style front suspension
- Wheels: 20-inch aluminum wheels
- Exterior colors: Silverado SS models could only be ordered in the following colors:
- Black Onyx
- Victory Red
- Arrival Blue Metallic (2003-2004)
- Silver Birch Metallic (2005-2006)
- Notable model year changes:
- 2005: sun roof introduced on Silverado SS
- 2006: interior available with cloth and/or a bench seat
Silverado Intimidator SS
Chevrolet released a special edition Silverado SS called “Intimidator SS” in 2006. The name was licensed by Dale Earnhardt Inc. and its purpose was to honor the late Dale Earnhardt.
The Silverado Intimidator SS featured several minor appearance upgrades over the regular SS, including a rear spoiler, embroidered headrests and Intimidator branding. 1,033 units of the Silverado Intimidator SS were planned, but 933 were made – with the remaining 100 being sold as 2007 Silverado SS “classic” body style prior to the 2007.5 model year changeover for the second-generation Silverado on the GMT900 platform.
Silverado Intimidator SS models were available in Black Onyx paint and either with cloth or leather interior.
Future Silverado SS
Following the 2003-2006 Silverado SS, a high-performance Silverado SS did not return for the subsequent two eras of the Silverado – not for the GMT-900 nor for the GMT-K2 generations. However, Chevrolet hinted at a high-performance Silverado at the 2017 SEMA show by introducing a Silverado Performance Concept.
The show truck explored what a high-performance Silverado street truck would entail and featured various upgrades over a standard Silverado, including a supercharged 5.3L V-8 engine making 450 horsepower (based on the same the 6.2-liter LT4 supercharged V-8 engine in the Corvette Z06, Camaro ZL1 and Cadillac CTS-V). Additional Chevrolet Performance parts include a performance exhaust system and a performance brake kit.
The exterior features unique elements such as a more aggressive hood and front bumper with air ducts for the supercharged engine. The truck is also substantially lower than a typical production model and is fitted with custom wheels wrapped in 22-inch performance tires. The grille and bumpers are finished in the truck’s body color. The exterior is rounded out by smoked headlights and taillights. Inside, the Silverado Performance Concept features LCD competition-style logger. Despite the introduction of the concept, the truck never came to production as the K2 platform Silverado ended production.
There is, however, still hope in a new Silverado SS. In a January 2018 interview with GM Authority, a Chevrolet official stated that the brand is assessing a performance model of the all-new, fourth-generation Silverado which was introduced for the 2019 model year (see more on the 2019 Silverado). However, it would appear that Chevy is leaning in the direction of an off-road performance model, rather than a street performance truck along the lines of the Silverado SS.
“When we surveyed (7,000 truck owners), off-road performance was definitely the strongest (compared to street performance),” explained Chevrolet truck director Sandor Piszar in an interview with GM Authority. “Right now we’re focusing on off-road performance. That’s why you see the Trailboss Custom and LT… certainly street performance is an opportunity in the pickup truck space, and we’re constantly assessing. Stay tuned.”
As such, it’s entirely possible that a performance variant of the Silverado could come to market in the near future. Whether the model in question would be oriented towards off-road or street performance remains to be seen.