A decent stance, 20s, and...
A decent stance, 20s, and Hugger Orange paint herald the coming of the Berger 1500 Silverado super-truck prototype. The stand-out changes include a Z06 engine and T56 transmission. We put 1,500 miles on the clock in seven days and came away with a grin.
It all comes down to the lack of a rear-wheel-drive V-8-powered sedan. But if a car won't do it, then a truck might. Chevrolet started all this business about year ago, showing up at the Woodward Dream Cruise with a minimal Silverado that had a hopped-up 6.0L and a six-speed, to prove a point. The premise was simple: The parts bins are filled with this stuff, so why not raid them and build an affordable alternative to a tough sedan? Herewith, three separate Silverado 1500 solutions.
The virtual demise of the F-body puts Berger Chevrolet in a quandary. The Camaro has been its mainstay since day one, but save for the C5, Chevrolet doesn't market a rear-drive passenger car of any sort. So trucks are it, and owner Matt Berger and ace marketer Dennis Barker are running with a notion of their own. Their experiment with the ubiquitous super truck is based on an '03 Silverado that they fitted with a stock LS6 engine and corresponding T56 double-overdrive transmission. Except for a 3- and 4-inch drop, special Bilstein shock absorbers, and 20-inch rubber, the truck is in showroom condition. Though strictly a teaser at Tour time, it is Berger's intention to offer the 1500 in a super-truck production series, should it be produced at all.
Behind the wheel, you feel like you're in a ... truck, not a fullsize sedan. The buckets in the Berger are secure and comfortable, and there's a rather large void between the two. A chrome-plated Hurst shifter stands upright in the middle of it, well to the side of the driver. At first, the sensation is awkward and the stick is far enough away that it precludes any notion of being in the close confines of a passenger car. Otherwise, its action is smooth and light, but the length of the stick and the wide gates might be reduced for more clarity. With its ZO6 engine, does the Berger experimental act like a Corvette? No. It acts like a truck with a Corvette engine. In any case, the Berger is completely tractable, swift when you lean on it, comfortable, and righteous unto itself.