This a perfect example of the sum of it’s parts rising above the parts themselves. Let me explain why:
I could ramble on and on about how much I dislike the cowl hood, wheels, billet grille and ebay head lights, shaved door handles, sport mirrors… I could go on. I really could just pick this thing apart and point out every little thing that just doesn’t meet my standards for tastefulness. However, that’s tiring for both you and me, and truthfully, I don’t want to.
The fact is that despite things I may not enjoy, the whole package is what matters, and this truck delivers. It’s low and sinister looking, and a whole lot of work went into creating it. Everything from the custom bed floor with it’s sweet re-purposed air tank, to it’s all-black-but-thankfully-not-murdered-out color theme.
Parked next to this Escalade -practically laying frame- it really draws your eyes to it. This body style was meant to hover just above the street. It’s clean, slab-side look is almost a modern truck version of the old Continental Mark III. I mean even next to that brand new GM SUV, it still doesn’t look dated. It’s obvious GM hit the styling goldmine in 1988 and has been hesitant to stray too far from it.
Now on to what I can tell you about this truck. Judging by the dash, it’s either a 1995 or 1996. This is a big deal because this was the crossover not only into the on-board diagnostics II system, but it was the year the V8’s became what we now know as the “Vortec” V8 among Generation I small block Chevy engines.
Really, Chevy and GMC have been using the Vortec moniker since the 1988 4.3L V6. Pretty much every swirl-port, sbc-based engine (V6 and V8) was a “Vortec”. When they nixed the swirl in the intake bowl and decided to change the port shape (taller and narrower) and give it that signature kidney combustion chamber shape (chamber shape was actually unchanged for the 96+ 5.0L) is when we got the big power making Vortec heads you used to read about so much.
How important are these changes? Well the Throttle Body Injection, swirl port 1995 5.7L V8 made 210 horsepower (up from 190hp in 1993) and the Central Sequential Fuel Injected, “true” vortec headed 5.7 made 255 horsepower. The 5.0L went from 170hp up to a respectable 225hp.
The 4.3L V6 was also available in the fullsize trucks, and it’s a distinct possibility that this vehicle sports one, as most of these bagged trucks I see on craigslist usually started out as half-ton strippers, which generally came the V6.
As the years pass by, more and more of these cars are being worked to death. They litter the scrapyards and are generally seen with a business name plastered on the side, hauling a trailer. It’s a testament to their usefulness as work vehicles, but also a sign that we’re soon going to be seeing fewer of them. Even I work my 1996 C2500 pretty hard, but I hope that more people go the ways of what you see on GMT400.com or FullSizeChevy.com or even this owner above. Enjoy what’s left of them, it’s been over 25 years since the first models of this body style went for sale.