So I'm standing there at our test facility, watching Performance West's Chevrolet Searing Silverado click off mid-5-second 0-60 runs. I comment to Race Truck Trend's Frank Bristing, whose company actually converts PW's ideas into metal/plastic/paint: "Hey, Frank, that new Vortec 5300 sure responds to a well-done supercharger install, doesn't it?" Answers Bristing: "5.3? That's a 4800 in there! When was the last time you saw a short-wheelbase standard-cab Chevy pickup with a 5300 in it?"
That's right, less than 4.8 supercharged liters pushing this 4000-plus-pound truck to 5.6-second 0-60s with no nitrous, and no internal engine mods. It can be done.
You'd have to be blind not to pick up on Performance West's inspiration for this pickup: Can you say C5 Corvette? With the C5 as the bogie, its goal was to crank more Vettelike performance, handling, and even looks, from the Silverado. While re-engineering the truck to employ the C5's 345-horse all-alloy LS1, six-speed transaxle, and full independent suspension might have been the idealist's (and the millionaire's) way to go, PW decided to build upon what was already there. Whipple provided the supercharger system and revamped ECU. Other hop-up mods include Max Xtracter Performance Products headers and custom 2.5-inch catback stainless dual exhaust system`don't miss the Vette-inspired center-exit exhaust tips.
A & A Specialties produces the body pieces that add even more Corvette flavor: a custom front fascia, side skirts, and a special rear fascia. Race Truck Trends does the custom tailgate with Corvette lenses and the body-color hard tonneau cover.
Inside, Cerullo whipped up the special console, and Ultima Trim provides the brushed aluminum dash kit and steering wheel. The audio and entertainment system employs Clarion components.
Corvettes are as much about handling as they are about go; so is the Searing. Hotchkis Performance Products did up the entire suspension, including its Sport coil springs, Sport rear leafs, and heavy-duty anti-roll bar package; the stock shocks are retained. The result is a 2-inch front suspension drop, and a 3.5-inch attitude adjustment in back. Goodrich Comp TA 295/45ZR18 tires wrap American Racing 18x8.0-inch alloys at all four corners. Normally, we'd recommend a brake upgrade for any vehicle that just found itself capable of better acceleration and cornering. But the Chevy's factory four-wheel discs and standard ABS seem up to this job.
As we've never hesitated to mention, some "tuner" vehicles just don't work. They look great, or at least attract attention, yet the performance of some is worse than that of their OEM progenitors. Some barely run at all. These all-show, no-go image queens usually yield a pancreas-torturing ride, and more plastic pieces seem to fall off with every mile they're driven. Performance West's truck isn't one of these. The handling improvements are impressive, yet reasonable ride quality is retained. As noted, the engine not only produces delightful horsepower, but it's nice to live with`no pinging, surging, or other nasty habits that we could detect. And it sounds, well, kind of like a "Vette."
Sure, ground clearance isn't up to dedicated work truck standards`that front spoiler wouldn't last too long negotiating a rock-strewn construction site, and you wouldn't load a ton of manure in the fully carpeted bed, either`but that's not what sport trucks are all about. They're about going quicker, handling better, and looking cooler than workaday pickups, and this one does it as well as any we've sampled. Race Truck Trends will facilitate you acquiring as much or as little of its Searing Silverado package as you wish; from one component to a turnkey truck.
Hey, Frank, can we try one with a Vortec 5300, and maybe a five-speed, next time?
|Vehicle configuration ||Front engine, rear drive, three-door, four-pass. pickup |
|Engine type ||Supercharged 90° V-8, OHV, 2 valves/cyl. |
|Displacement, ci/cc ||292.4/4792 |
|Engine modifications ||Whipple supercharger and modified engine management systems, Max Xtractor headers and exhaust |
|Horsepower, hp @ rpm, SAE net ||404 @ 5400 (est.) |
|Torque, lb-ft @ rpm, SAE net ||419 @ 3200 |
|Transmission type ||4-speed automatic |
|Tires/wheels ||BF Goodrich Comp TA 295/45ZR18 American Racing billet |
|Other modifications ||Race Truck Trends body kit and tonneau/spoiler, Hotchkis suspension, Clarion entertainment system |
|Acceleration, sec || |
| 0-30 mph ||2.2 |
| 0-40 mph ||3.0 |
| 0-50 mph ||4.2 |
| 0-60 mph ||5.6 |
| 0-70 mph ||7.1 |
| 0-80 mph ||8.9 |
| 0-90 mph ||11.5 |
| 0-100 mph ||N/A |
|Standing quarter mile, sec/mph ||14.1/96.8 |
|Braking, 60-0 mph, ft ||126 |
|Lateral acceleration, g ||0.85 |
|Speed through 600-ft slalom, mph ||63.0 |
|Base price (stock) ||$23,101 |
|Price as tested ||$38,851 |