Home office for the 4.2L/270-hp Vortec six is the GMT360 platform (Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy, Olds Bravada). So it was logical to install this experimental version in one of those platform variants. The Chevy was chosen primarily because of its mechanical relationship with the hot Chevrolet (GMT368) SSR retro pickup and the long-wheelbase Chevrolet TrailBlazer XL (GMT370) with the third-row seat, both of which will debut soon. Besides, Chevy is the most performance oriented of these three brands.

Higher-performance chassis, steering, and brake bits that will be found on the SSR also plug and play in the TrailBlazer, since they share a considerable amount of platform commonality. Mike LeDuc, one of GM's ride and handling development engineers, calls it his "library of parts." So bigger TrailBlazer XL brakes, stiffer springs, revalved shocks, a beefier rear axle, harder track bar and link bushings, and the faster XL steering rack were borrowed from LeDuc's go-fast lending library.

Outside, the TrailBlazer (which has been lowered 40 mm) is little modified; keep in mind that this is largely an engineering, not design, project. The roof rack's gone, and functional louvers were punched into the hood. Deep front bucket seats were installed. A boost gauge was popped into the hole left by the 4WD switch. Street-performance-biased 295/45ZR18 BFGoodrich Comp T/As are wrapped around 18x9.5-in. Speedline wheels. The look is buff, but quietly mature; no stripes or wings required. Enough parts talk--how's it work?