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  • Writer's pictureCory Fourniquet

Is GM Serious About Off-Roading?

It was just under two months ago that Chevrolet unveiled the 2022 Silverado ZR2; the most capable factory Silverado to-date. Built with the knowledge the Silverado team gained from racing a prototype version of the truck in the desert since 2019, piloted by off-road racing champion Chad Hall. Working with Chevrolet engineers, the team leverages racing to test and validate the truck’s off-road performance in some of the most extreme and grueling conditions in the world. The learnings are then used to develop components for production vehicles and performance parts.

Today, Chevrolet unveiled their latest off-road racing rig for the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Meet "The Chevy Beast"

Built off the full-size Silverado frame, this does not foreshadow a potential competitor for the Ford Bronco and legendary Jeep Wrangler mid-size offerings. This could foreshadow a potential return of something as legendary as the K5 Blazer, which was always a full-size truck.

Those "in the know" are aware that SEMA is always an opportunity for brands to flex their muscles a bit and show off what their engineers are capable of as well as some factory-made parts that can be fitted to existing vehicles. After all, SEMA is the Specialty Equipment Market Association meaning this is a good opportunity for seeing what you can do to your existing Silverado.

Chevy themselves state that The Chevy Beast concept was conceived to demonstrate the capability of the truck team as well as Chevrolet Performance. Wearing a custom pickup body and powered by an LT4 650 horsepower supercharged crate engine from Chevrolet Performance, this is one serious machine.

“The Chevy Beast concept takes the popularity of high-performance off-road trucks to the next level,” said Jim Campbell, GM U.S. vice president of Performance and Motorsports. “It’s a vision for a new dimension of Chevrolet Performance capability from a brand that’s been pioneering performance and supporting customer personalization for more than 50 years.”

With GM stating that their future light-duty lineup will be all EV by 2035, its hard for us to get too excited about the possibility of anything more than this just being a concept, but it does show that there are still quite a few engineers within the halls of GM that want to make loud, fast, capable rigs that run on fossil fuels and make lots of noise.

We can all hold our collective breath that we will see more like this from the General in the coming months and years, but only time will tell what we can really expect.

Read more from the press release below:

Superior capability, control and performance The Chevy Beast was designed to dominate the desert with capabilities, control and performance rooted in a production-based foundation and off-the-shelf performance enhancements.

Designers and engineers started with the chassis of a Silverado short-bed model and modified it for high-speed desert running. The frame was shortened and a custom-designed, 4130 chromoly tubular safety structure was integrated while the modified chassis was wrapped with a custom, lightweight body.

A concept, long-travel off-road suspension system was also created for the vehicle, including a five-link rear suspension. Along with a widened, 91-inch track, it contributes to more stable handling and optimal driver control during high-speed off-road driving.

“There’s nothing else like The Chevy Beast,” says Jeff Trush, GM program manager, Pace Car and Specialty Show Vehicles. “It delivers a ton of performance and capability, which makes it adept at conquering rough terrain — and it flat-out flies in desert running.”

That high-speed capability is derived from a Chevrolet Performance LT4 crate engine1 — a 6.2L supercharged V-8 that’s rated at 650 hp. It’s backed by a 10L90 10-speed automatic transmission that sends torque to a two-speed transfer case and distributes it to 37-inch-tall off-road tires mounted on 20-inch beadlock wheels. The concept also includes the Chevrolet Performance Big Brake Upgrade System.

The Chevy Beast’s impressive capability is complemented with equally dramatic and purposeful style. Tubular doors and a simple, lightweight clamshell-type front end reflect the functionality and aesthetic of desert running while the rear of the vehicle was intentionally designed with almost no overhang to maximize the angle of attack on steep grades.

A pair of spare tires are mounted in the bed while the rear of the vehicle itself is left open to help extract dust. Additional unique design cues include a custom front grille, front and rear bowtie emblems and powerful off-road lighting from Baja Designs®.

Inside, the customized cab has a minimalist, functional design, featuring a quartet of Recaro® performance seats with four-point harnesses, as well as a pair of 7-inch-diagonal LCD screens that monitor vehicle functions and performance data, including pitch and roll during off-road driving scenarios.

“The Chevy Beast concept sets a new standard for off-road performance,” said Trush.

Chevy Trucks at SEMA In addition to The Chevy Beast, Chevy Trucks at the SEMA Show includes seven more pickups and SUVs, showcasing the latest production models and concept visions of performance and personalization.

2022 Silverado ZR2 — The new Silverado ZR22 drives into the flagship position of Chevy Trucks’ factory-lifted off-road lineup, offering race-proven off-road performance customers can buy right from the showroom floor, from Multimatic 40mm DSSV spool-valve dampers and unique 33-inch off-road MT tires mounted on 18-inch wheels to high-approach front and rear bumpers and more. The new Silverado ZR2 at the SEMA Show is shown with concept black badging, along with available Rock Protection Sliders and a Chevrolet Performance Steel Driveshaft.

2022 Silverado High Country Midnight concept — The High Country is the premium expression of the revamped 2022 Silverado lineup, and the High Country Midnight Edition concept builds on its elevated levels of content and style with darkened design cues. They include concept blacked-out grille insert, along with black badging and black 22-inch Accessory wheels. There’s also a power-operated tonneau cover, and a Multi-Flex Tailgate Audio System by KICKER®. There is also a Brembo® front brake kit (with red, six-piston calipers), and black exhaust bezels from Chevrolet Performance.

2022 Silverado 3500HD Hoonigan concept — Serving as the tow vehicle for the 1988 Camaro Hoonigan concept, the 2022 Silverado 3500HD Hoonigan concept truck is based on a High Country Crew Cab model and powered by the Duramax 6.6L Turbo-Diesel V-8 engine. The concept is based on the strongest, most capable Silverado ever and employs advanced trailering3 technology, with up to 15 available camera views4and an Advanced Trailering System. This concept version is also outfitted with Gooseneck/5th Wheel Prep Package, along with a number of accessories and custom graphics that give it a distinctive appearance.

2022 Colorado ZR2 Extreme Off-Road — Since 2017, the Colorado ZR2 has been a force in the Best in the Desert racing series, with Chad Hall Racing using the production-based truck to help validate production and performance parts. In fact, it is the only truck in its class to have finished every race entered, and it has accumulated more than 22,500 miles of racing experience. This production-based Colorado ZR2 Extreme Off-Road is a reflection of that real-world experience and showcases the extensive roster of competition-proven parts available from Chevrolet Performance, including front and rear jounce shocks, long-travel shock kits, long-travel leaf springs, an anti-wrap link system and more.

2022 Colorado Z71 Off-Road Performance Edition — This production-based Colorado Z71 pushes its off-road capability nearly to a ZR2 level thanks to the available Trail Boss Package that includes a 1-inch suspension leveling kit, front and mid-vehicle skid plates, 17-inch wheels in Gloss Black, red tow hooks and the elimination of the front air dam. It also demonstrates the overlanding and camping capabilities enabled by a number of Chevrolet Accessories and Chevrolet Performance components, all of which are available through the Chevrolet dealer, including a High Country 55-inch Rooftop Tent by Freespirit Recreation5, a camp kitchen and more.

2022 Tahoe Z71 Overlanding concept — Envisioned as the go-anywhere SUV for adventure and discovery, this concept builds on the Tahoe Z71’s capability, including the available Four-Corner Air Ride Adaptive Suspension, and augments it with 33-inch tires mounted on concept 18-inch beadlock wheels, an Off Road Recovery Kit, auxiliary A-pillar off-road lights, a lifted suspension and AirDesign6 fender flares, as well as a Dometic powered dual-zone cooler and Freespirit Recreation 55-inch rooftop tent. The concept also strikes a more distinctive pose with black nameplates, a Front Illuminated Bowtie emblem in black, and Illuminated Front and Rear Door Sill Plates with Tahoe Script, all available from Chevrolet Accessories.

2021 Suburban Street concept — Chevrolet Performance engineers elevated the stature of this Suburban concept by lowering its ride height thanks to the adjustable settings of its available Four Corner Air Ride Adaptive Suspension. A set of 24-inch, custom-cut and polished billet aluminum wheels wrapped with 285/30R24 Pirelli tires complete the streetwise stance and is complemented with an available Chevrolet Performance Brembo® brake upgrade system. Select Chevrolet Accessories and Performance parts also were used to distinguish this stylized vision, including black mirror caps and badge, an all-new black grille with the Chevrolet script, matte black hood decal and Bowtie-logo puddle lamps. Inside are illuminated door sills, an illuminated liftgate sill plate, cargo organizer and sport pedals.

SuperMatic™ 6L80-E 4WD Transmission For off-road project vehicle builders, Chevrolet Performance also introduced the advanced SuperMatic™ 6L80-E six-speed automatic transmission for 4WD applications. It has the same 650-lb-ft torque rating as the rear-wheel-drive 6L80-E and works with Chevy’s Connect & Cruise Crate Powertrain System for plug-and-play compatibility with LS crate engines1. The 4WD-specific tail mount allows customers to pair the transmission with a transfer case. Two kits are available: one with a 2,400-rpm stall converter and the other with a 3,000-rpm stall converter.

Chevrolet’s concepts, show vehicles, performance parts and accessories are on display at the SEMA Show, in Las Vegas, through Nov.5. See more at

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