First Drive: Chevrolet Silverado Speedway Edition
Performance-pickup poster child
The line separating real GM performance trucks from utility workhorses is usually drawn by the chain-link fence dividing the parking lot and the pits at a NASCAR Craftsman Truck race. Chevy wants to change that perception--or at least blur it--with the Silverado Speedway concept. What could be more enticing amid a sea of utilitarian devices than a 6.0-liter V-8-powered rear-drive, regular-cab pickup in lively NASCAR trappings? The proportions are still more street than track, but the race-tempered styling is clearly applied throughout.
A combination of off-the-shelf SS parts and one-off resin pieces completes the look. The Speedway features the current monochrome SS styling and body cladding with added "gaping-mouth" lower grille in the front fascia above the airdam. The openings are covered in a fine mesh screen painted in a textured blue-black finish. A rear deck spoiler, molded into the hard tonneau cover, is highlighted in flat black with faux height-adjusting rods that add flair, not function. The cab corners, tonneau, and fascia are fiberglass-reinforced epoxy components fabricated by racecar specialists Wheel to Wheel Inc. to GM specifications. The fadeaway Bow-Tie graphics won't be for everyone.
Under the hood sits a mutant LQ9/LS6 HO 6.0-liter V-8 Vortec cooked up in the Wheel to Wheel Powertrain laboratory. The standard LQ9 powers the Cadillac full-size SUV lineup, current extended cabs, and current Silverado SS. The cylinder heads, valves, and camshaft are lifted from GM's high performance LS6 engine. The stock exhaust manifolds dump into a custom fabricated, dual-tip, side-exit exhaust with Corvette Corsa mufflers. A powder-coated heat shield protects the bodywork.
Peak horsepower and torque tweak the meters at 417 each at 4700 and 5900 rpm, respectively. Power moves through GM's 4L65E four-speed automatic tranny to the stock 9.5-inch rearend loaded with 3.73:1 gearing. It's transferred to the ground by way of Goodyear Eagle LS 275/55SR20s on GM-designed Intro forged billet-aluminum wheels, which are coated in the same blue-black finish as the grille inserts.
Inside, the decor is basic black and racer-chic. Climb over the padded rollbar and settle into one of the Sparco Milano 2 seats with custom fabricated four-point harnesses. An elongated Hurst shifter with classic cue-ball knob and Simpson Nomex boot give the impression of a manual gearbox, but the absence of a third pedal brings you back to reality. A quick-release fire extinguisher is anchored to the transmission tunnel between the seats. The brushed-aluminum instrument cluster features individual Auto Meter gauges with a large tach on the A-pillar. A small roof-mounted center console holds the interior lights and a cubbyhole. The interior's finished off by classy Volo leather inserts.
The Speedway's no trailer queen. It was put through the usual Truck Trend regimen of tests. Naturally, Chevrolet was somewhat reticent about allowing an "idea machine" to be mechanically scrutinized and tested (we twisted GM's arm to get it--we weren't going to miss this opportunity). Even on cursory inspection, it was clear that the Speedway was well executed and solidly built. One important caveat regarding the performance data, however: The engine had less than 200 miles on it and hadn't yet been broken in. It's still an infant in engine years and a long way from providing its best performance.
What better place to fire up the Silverado Speedway than turning it loose at California Speedway in Fontana?
The burbling exhaust note is nice, but far too mild. It's a precursor to the truck's general performance. With a stock OD tranny, the numbers are skewed to more pedestrian adventures. Still, the numbers are only a half-second off the upgraded 2005 SSR's 0-to-60 times, and it's less than one mph lower in the slalom--and that truck has an LS2 6.0-liter V-8 and a manual transmission. There's no denying this is a street truck with race-truck cues, but it still would be nice to offer this package (even in a toned-down version) for the Craftsman NASCAR Truck Series crowd.
There's real potential here. The original Silverado SS Concept was muscular, low-slung, and nasty-looking. The Silverado SS that made it to production was a far cry from the earlier vision. For the Speedway Edition, Chevrolet worked closely with aftermarket companies to yield a track-inspired 1500 that pays homage to the old sales axiom "Win on Sunday--sell on Monday." Expensive truck technology like Quadrasteer and AWD will disappear in 2006. Perhaps it's time for Chevrolet to go back to the performance basics: style, backed by cubic inches.
|Body style||Regular cab|
|Drivetrain layout||Front engine, RWD|
|Engine type||V-8, iron block, aluminum heads|
|Bore x stroke, in||4.00 x 3.62|
|Valve gear||OHV, 2 valves/cyl|
|Fuel induction||Sequential fuel injection|
|SAE horsepower, hp @ rpm||417 @ 5900|
|SAE torque, lb-ft @ rpm||417 @ 4700|
|Transmission type 4L65E 4-speed automatic|
|Rpm @ 60 mph||1700|
|Recommended fuel||Premium unleaded|
|Track, f/r, in||65.0/66.0|
|Weight dist, f/r, %||52/48|
|Curb weight, lb||4270|
|Suspension, f/r||Lowering coil springs/ leaf springs|
|Steering type||Power recirculating ball|
|Brakes, f/r||AP Racing six-piston calipers and rotors, Stillen caliper brackets and rotor adapters/OEM drums|
|Wheels||20x8.5-in forged billet-aluminum custom Intro wheels|
|Tires||275/55SR20 Goodyear Eagle LS|
|Standing quarter-mile, sec@mph||14.5 @ 92.4|
|Braking, 60-0, ft||145.4|
|Speed through 600-ft slalom, mph||60.3|