Pickups are exciting and relatively low-priced entries into the earth of rear-wheel generate effectiveness. Older trucks primarily are simple to get the job done on, supply sensational elements availability from the two catalogs and scrap yards (where hundreds of thousands of their brethren sit waiting around to be picked aside), and can be made to take a huge variety of drivetrains and suspension setups with relative ease.
Manufacturing facility efficiency vans are a reasonably new concept, having said that. Even though outliers like the Lil Red Specific were being about in the ’70s, it was not right up until the early 90s that Detroit started to embrace the concept of developing its have hot rods and testing the waters with its loyal pickups customers. With flashy rides like the turbocharged GMC Syclone and, later on, the supercharged Ford F-150 Lightning grabbing most of the muscle truck glory, one particular of the pioneers of the phase has been mainly neglected: the Chevrolet 454 SS.
Significant Block, Massive Truck
From a style and design viewpoint there wasn’t genuinely just about anything groundbreaking about the 1990 Chevrolet 454 SS, which followed the time-honored tenet of placing a enormous motor in a (comparatively) smaller system. Ok, so the 454 SS was still a whole-measurement truck, but it was the lightest iteration of that model, a two-wheel push, brief-box, one-taxi C1500 upgraded with a beefier entrance sway bar, Bilstein shocks, quicker steering, and 275/65 R15 tires (which were being hefty for the pre-20-inch era).
Underneath the hood Chevrolet just diverted a drivetrain from its large-responsibility pickup assembly line, a 454 cubic inch V-8 rated at 230 horsepower and a whopping 385 lb-ft of torque. That latter determine was severe things for the day: the modest-block in the ’90 Camaro IROC-Z was very good for 245 horses but only 345 lb-ft of twist. A 3-pace automatic transmission managed the shifting duties for the initially calendar year of creation, with the SS able of reaching 60-mph in considerably less than eight seconds.
Of training course, to make that straight-line run, you’d have to be reasonably considered with the throttle, as large-block pickups are notorious for lights up the rear tires owing to the lack of any actual body weight in excess of the back axle. That tendency only enhanced in ’91, when a new four-velocity autobox introduced with it a 4.10 equipment to swap the earlier 3.73, alongside with a bump to 255 horses and 405 lb-ft of torque.
Easy To Place, Low cost As Filth
Chevrolet unquestionably wasn’t shy about promoting the existence 454 SS, which bore big stickers on both side of the box, a purple bowtie badge up front, and on some designs an similarly substantial sticker on the mattress. 1990 models ended up all black with a blacked-out grille, fog lights in the air dam, and chrome rims, with more colors (Summit White and Victory Red) showing up in 1992 and 1993, which was the final 12 months of production. Twin exhaust on the ’91-’93 versions is also a give-absent. On the within, special bucket seats wrapped in crimson upholstery and a center console assist detect the pickups as one thing distinctive.
However irrespective of getting constructed in minimal numbers—roughly 17,000 whole, with 75 per cent of that determine leaving the manufacturing facility as 1990 models—the 454 SS by no means really caught on with collectors or customizers. Positive, you can shell out $30k on a sub-1000 mile time capsule if you want to, but most of these trucks trade perfectly under $10,000 for a great driver, and fifty percent that for a venture. Assess that to Syclone costs (more uncommon, and significantly a lot quicker), and it truly is apparent the place buyers have been concentrating their focus about the a long time.
Superior nonetheless, it’s amazingly uncomplicated to clone a single of these very hot pickups for extremely little revenue. Start out out with a shortbox C1500, drop in a warmed-above 5.7-liter tiny-block, and you can duplicate the performance without spending all that substantially money. Paint everything black and insert some stickers, and you’ve got acquired a prepared-to-go SS tribute on your hands.
The Chevrolet 454 SS triggered a ripple impact in the truck market that would spawn some of its most memorable efficiency types. We now talked about the supercharged Lightning (which was preceded by the 351-driven Lightning in the early 90s, a additional direct competitor to the SS), but even in just Standard Motors it is really straightforward to see how the 454 led to automobiles like the SSR fake-rod and, afterwards, the Silverado SS. Over at Dodge, with out the Lightning, we are unlikely to have seen the Ram SRT-10, which all over again links again to the 454 SS.