I finally saw the Chevrolet Silverado Reaper beyond the confines of a Photoshop-scape yesterday at the Chicago Auto Show, and learned a few things about it that might make you reconsider writing it off over that wacky face.
To answer your first question, yes, the name and graphic is an intentional troll on Ford. "We love to stoke the Ford guys a little bit" said Ken Lingenfelter, good-heartedly. "You should have seen the comments when we started sharing it."
Oh, I saw the comments— many of you didn't care much for the Chevy Reaper's look when we got our first glimpse at it. Can't say I blame you, the upper-jutting of the grille looks just as awkward in person.
But the next thing Mr. Lingenfelter said to me gave me hope that the Reaper might be more than a flag-waving bromobile. "We've been doing stuff on trucks for a long time, but we haven't been able to advertise it. The people we've been building them for don't want anyone to know they have fast trucks. Think, security types."
I heard that as; 'the Men In Black have been chasing down aliens in Lingenfelter-tuned Tahoes for years.' That's way cool. We had no doubt Lingenfelter knows what's up tuning GM sports cars, but the confirmation that they've been around trucks too lends more much-needed credibility to the Reaper project.
When the new body style Silverado dropped, the timing was right for someone to "fill a void in the market for Chevy enthusiasts seeking a stand-out, supercharged off-road vehicle with head-turning curb appeal," said Matt McSweeney, president, Southern Comfort Automotive.
When asked about Lingenfelter's future in the truck world, Ken's response was equally encouraging; "This is just the beginning." Looks like we can look forward to some more beefed-up GM trucks in the future.
During the presentation, it was confirmed that the Reaper will be sold through Chevrolet dealers, and while each dealer will reserve the right to set prices, the tab is "expected to start in the mid 50,000's."
It was also confirmed, explicitly, that this vehicle was "designed to be driven aggressively" and that it had been driven across a desert test course under the supervision of Fox Suspension in excess of 60 MPH "about 10 MPH shy of a professional Class-8 Off-Road Race Truck" on the same course, so claimed the man with the mic.
I'm still not in love with the styling, but I'm inclined to take anything with Ken's endorsement seriously. Let's see some real-world testing of the Chevy Reaper before we shrug it off.
Images: Brian Williams