Road Test: 2003 Chevrolet Silverado Joe Gibbs Performance

Neil G. Chirico
Feb 18, 2004
Photographers: Brian Vance
So you're a big-time Chevrolet fan but the new Silverado SS leaves you wanting, especially in contrast to its rivals. How does 14.5 at 97.2 in the quarter-mile sound compared to the Silverado SS' 15.0 at 89.1? Add better handling and looks--all for less money than the SS--and, for those of you that prefer to shift for yourselves, a manual transmission, which isn't even available on an SS. If that sounds too good to be true, fear not: Joe Gibbs Performance is building the truck of your dreams. Yes, that Joe Gibbs, previously in the NFL and currently of NASCAR fame.

JGP starts with a base standard-cab Silverado (the lightest model) with a 4.8-liter V-8 engine and manual transmission. The company adds on the JGP Base Package, which includes a Gibbs-designed front fascia with foglamps, Gibbs' exclusive tailgate spoiler; a Gibbs-engineered stainless-steel cat-back exhaust with dual tips, and fender and tailgate badges. Gibbs-designed 20x8.5-inch Hyper Silver wheels with Goodyear Eagle LS P275/55R20 tires are matched to a tuned suspension. Interior appointments include an exclusive JGP instrument cluster, logo-embroidered floormats and seat backs, a dash plaque, and an upgraded shifter, all for $6500 over the cost of the stock truck.
Photo 2/2   |   2003 Chevrolet Silverado Jgp top Engine View
The JGP Silverado is allocated through select Chevrolet dealers via a ship-through code, which means you order and pick it up from the dealer. JGP offers three options--two JGP-installed and one dealer-installed. Our tester had all three, including the dealer-installed supercharger/intercooler package ($5000), which gives you a Gibbs-designed Roots-type intercooled-supercharger that Gibbs says makes 390 horsepower and 425 pound-feet of torque. It's so docile, powerful, and quiet, we had to lift the hood to verify it was a supercharged 4.8-liter engine. It's got enough power to trounce the 6.0-liter SS.
The JGP seat upgrade ($995) offers a sport-leather/suede combination that could come in handy when taking advantage of the improved handling characteristics. Lastly, the brake-system upgrade ($1150) has improved braking over a stock Silverado, but didn't do better than the heavier SS' numbers.
Overall the JGP Silverado offers a well-integrated upgrade to a stock Silverado and should be considered a serious threat to a Silverado SS. By the time you read this, another JGP product should be available: the JGP Tahoe, starting in January 2004. It looks like Joe Gibbs isn't ready to retire just yet, something that should thrill Chevy fans everywhere.
 {{{Chevrolet Silverado}}} SSJGP Silverado
0-60 mph, sec6.6 6.1
1/4 mile14.99@89.05 14.53@97.19
Braking, 60-0, ft119 128
Slalom, mph61.3 {{{62}}}.2
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