It's been said you can never be too rich or too thin.
In America, we can add one more item to that refrain: You can never have too many power tools. Ah, the power tool. It feels substantial in your hand. There's a promise implicit in its steely mass. Whatever situation presents itself, whatever challenge arises, the tool has the wherewithal to get the job done. Turn it on: There's a presence, a measured, pulsating readiness that says, "Bring it on."
The full-size pickup has become the power tool of choice. The bigger and stronger, the better. General Motors was the last among Detroit's Big Three to develop a clearly defined big-pickup persona. In the early '90s, Dodge rattled the status quo with its Big-Rig-Look Ram and Cummins turbodiesel might. Ford countered in the late '90s with its line of supersize Super Duty Pickups above and beyond its regular F-Series. Both Ford and Dodge edged toward the work-truck side of the equation, offering ever higher payload, GVW, and tow ratings.
For the '01 model year, GMC and Chevrolet answered the call with distinct heavy-duty pickup lines of their own. The HD models were built truck tough from the wheels up. Available in 2500 (three-quarter-ton) and 3500 (one-ton) dualie models, the HD trucks start out with beefier, thicker, and stronger three-piece frames, higher-capacity axles, springs, brakes and spindles, and exclusive heavy-duty engines and transmissions.
The North American market immediately embraced the GM heavy-duty pickups, enough to tip overall sales leadership in trucks to Chevrolet, which beat out Ford for the first time in many years. Healthy truck sales also helped General Motors stay profitable, while a post 9/11 slump plunged DaimlerChrysler and Ford deeply into red-ink territory. Part of the phenomenon behind the HD-pickup-sales boom was attributable to personal-use buyers entering the market. Besides the traditional workers and tradespeople who needed a heavy-duty truck, white-collar business people and professionals were trading up for personal use in much the same way they opted for stainless-steel commercial kitchen appliances and customized component electronics.
We also embraced the Silverado HD pickup, naming it Motor Trend's 2001 Truck of the Year. The Silverado HD was recognized for its class-leading power, high refinement levels, everyday comfort, and good value.
Where an automotive wave is afoot, MT likes to be out in front of it, so we ordered up a fully kitted three-quarter-ton Silverado for a One-Year Test. The $40,000 range may seem a bit rich for a pickup truck these days, but our Dark Carmine Red Metallic Silverado 2500HD Extended Cab came with 4WD, LT trim, and just about every accessory and piece of hardware in GM's heavy-duty pickup portfolio. LT Decor includes air-conditioning, AM/FM/cassette/CD stereo, remote keyless entry, polished forged-aluminum wheels, cruise control, push-button transfer-case controls, OnStar satellite communications, leather seat trim, six-way power driver's seat with heat and memory, leather-wrapped steering wheel, foglamps, deep-tint glass, dual power-heated outside mirrors, and so on. The base price before options came to $34,165.