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Published on Sun, Aug 10, 2003

By: The LACar Editorial Staff



By HARVEY SCHWARTZ All Photos & © by Harvey Schwartz

Sales of pickup trucks continue to grow and as buyers have migrated to full-size pickup trucks, their need for refined performance has gone with them. Four years ago Ford created the F150 SVT ‘Lightning’ and has had a corner of this growing segment until this year as Chevy introduces the all-new 2003 Silverado Super Sport.

Through the years SS models have been providing on-road enthusiasts with top-end power, a sporty ride and handling, plus sleek styling. The new Silverado SS is the first of many new SS models soon to return to the Chevy lineup. This new SS model is an expression of contemporary Chevy performance that is within reach of many enthusiasts now driving pickup trucks. The Silverado SS was created from a 1500 extended cab short bed and provides many new dimensions of fun and excitement without forfeiting any of the proven strengths and capabilities of Silverado’s superior design. The Silverado SS is powered by a High-Output LQ9 version of the Vortec 6.0 liter V8 generating over 345hp at 5,200rpm and 380lb.ft. of torque at 4,000rpm, that provides exhilarating off-line acceleration, relaxed cruising and dependable operation. The LQ9 mates to a 4L65-E four-speed automatic overdrive transmission, with a 3.06 first gear and 0.70 final gear ratio that contribute to the truck’s impressive performance. Enhancing performance even more is the standard full-time AWD system featuring a viscous-coupled transfer case using traction at all-four wheels to provide exceptional on-road, wet or dry pavement handling. It requires no driver intervention, and automatically and continuously transfers torque from slipping wheels to those with a firmer grip in a smooth, almost imperceptible manner. Its continuous 38/62% front-to-rear torque split provides optimum handling and control, further enhanced by a standard full locking differential.

A unique Z60 high-performance chassis package, including Silverado’s largest-ever 20in. tires, provides exceptional road holding and cornering capability and a smooth, comfortable ride. The independent front torsion bar/two-stage multi-spring rear suspension system’s gas-charged, mono-tube shocks have been specially tuned for ride smoothness and the front suspension also features a 32mm thick stabilizer bar to keep the SS flat on the curves at speed. The SS is also lowered 20mm in front and 50mm in the rear to further enhance its handling ability. The track is 18mm wider than a regular 1500 Silverado, and the giant P275/55R20in. Goodyear low-profile Eagle radials are wrapped with big, sporty, 20X8.5in. 5-spoke polished aluminum wheels. This combination of power, a sport-tuned suspension, and 4-driving wheels spinning almost 9in. wide tires enables the SS to race out to 60mph from a standstill in just 6.8sec. and cover the 1/4mi. in 15sec. at 90mph. The aluminum exhaust system features a single, 3.5in. wide, polished aluminum exhaust pipe that has been specially tuned for a throaty NASCAR-inspired roar. Steering the big Silverado SS is quick and effortless with a refined power-assisted re-circulating ball system that gives good feel for the road with very little slush at the top. The Silverado brakes are up to the task of safely slowing the SS down when approaching tight turns, slower freeway and city traffic. The vented front disc brakes measure 12.8in. while the rear solid discs measure 13in. Each rotor is clamped with dual-piston calipers and features full ABS and Dynamic Rear Brake Proportioning to balance front to rear braking power, loaded or unloaded. Braking from 60mph to 0 takes only 121ft. Not bad for a 5,300lb. vehicle.

The SS’s segment exclusive AWD system features a 4.10:1 final drive axle ratio, and a Z82 heavy-duty trailer package that provides a fully trailer-ready design and outstanding 7,500lb. towing capacity. The Silverado SS appearance is sleek, refined and dramatic-an instant classic and collectible for this limited edition Silverado. With its trim, aggressive stance, monochromic color-scheme, (available in onyx black, arrival blue metallic and victory red), that includes the grille, fascias, lower ground effects, and specially styled aluminum wheels, the SS appearance conveys performance from any angle. The SS’s unique styling features full front and rear bumper fascias that wrap completely around the body, and extend from the belt line down almost to the frame rails. The front includes a wide center-band air scoop, flanked by two rectangular corner scoops. Their diamond-pattern mesh is harmoniously integrated with that of the grille, which features Chevy’s new gold bowtie emblem. ‘Silverado SS’ badges accent the front doors and tailgate. Body-sides are clean with understated moldings. The sporty, 5-spoke, polished aluminum, 20X8.5in. wheels feature Chevy’s emblem in their center, and the tailgate includes a body color cap.

The custom interior is dark pewter and fully equipped with uplevel LT trim. The 10-way powered, leather trimmed bucket seats are very comfortable and supportive with each also featuring side-bolster and lumbar controls. Each seat also has ‘SS’ embroidered on the headrest. You’ll also notice the big, silver ‘SS’ emblem on the instrument panel. The instrument panel cluster has new distinctive white backlighting/black numerals with orange pointers. All switches, buttons and dials are within easy reach and are fully illuminated for safe nighttime driving. Other features in the Silverado SS that I tested included power windows/door locks with both windows ‘express-down’, dual-zone, electronic climate control, theater lighting, map lamps, electro-chromic rearview mirror with compass heading/outside temperature readouts, a tilting, leather wrapped 4-spoke steering wheel with 8-buttons for ‘hands-free’ use of the Driver Information Center, and powerful, Bose 6-speaker AM-FM audio system with cassette-tape/6-indash CD player, electronic cruise-control, variable-speed wipers/washer, grab handles above each passenger door, full-perimeter thick pile carpeting/floor mats, seating for up to 3-passengers in the rear, memory setting for 2-drivers, heated front seat bottoms/backs, comfort rear seating angle, adjustable headrest front/rear, flip-up rear bench seat for added interior cargo capacity, rear window defogger, tinted windows, power-remote side mirrors that fold, are heated and self-dimming There is lots of storage space inside, check out the big center storage bin with the flip-up top featuring an indented and rubber lined top, 2-bins at the bottom of the center stack, dual cup-holders with even more storage space to the left, an overhead storage bin, long, wide slots at each door bottom, and a deep glove box . Options include XM Satellite radio and ONSTAR.

For your safety, each Silverado SS comes standard with front and rear crush zones, steel beams in each door, Daylight Running Lights, remote keyless entry with content theft alarm and puddle lamps under each side mirror, driver/front passenger dual-stage front airbags, (passenger-side sensing system), side airbags, outboard lap/shoulder belts with the belts integrated into the front seat backs for comfort and ease of use, plus an energy absorbing steering column. Silverado’s Marketing Director, Mr. Rick Scheidt, sums it up best by saying, “Silverado SS customers can still have all the fun and excitement of owning a sporty extended cab pickup with lots of performance and still get optimum trailering and hauling capability whenever required”. “If Silverado is ‘Like a Rock,’ then Silverado SS is ‘Like Rock n’ Roll.” Base price for new Silverado SS is $39,205.00.

COPYRIGHT 2003:HARVEY SCHWARTZ For more on the Silverado please go to For more photos from Harvey Schwartz please go to

SPECIFICATIONS Chevrolet Silverado Super Sport Price: $39, 205.00 Engine: 6.0liter OHV V8 with cast iron block

HP: 345 at 5,200rpm Torque: 380lb.ft. @ 4,000 rpm Drive configuration: Front engine, AWD Transmission: 4-speed automatic with OD Suspension: Front - independent torsion bar, gas-charged mono-tube shocks,32mm stabilizer bar Rear - live-axle, 2-stage leaf springs, gas-charged mono-tube shocks Suspension lowered 20mm front and 50mm rear Wheels/tires: 20X8in. Aluminum wheels, P275/55R20in. steel belted radial tires Brakes: front-12.8in. Vented, with dual piston calipers, ABS/Dynamic rear-13in. solid disc, with dual piston calipers, ABS/Dynamic Rear Brake Proportioning Overall length: 227.6in. Overall width: 93.1/81.5in. with mirrors folded Overall height: 72.2in. Curb weight: 5,298lbs. EPA: 12mpg/city, 17mpg highway 0-60mph: 6.8sec.

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