Interior Color: Gray
Number of Cylinders: 8
Model: El Camino
Warranty: Vehicle does NOT have an existing warranty
Exterior Color: Black
Number of Doors: 2
General Motors has finally dropped the curtain on the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and 2014 GMC Sierra. Both trucks have undergone substantial revisions with updated versions of the company's 4.3-liter V6, 5.3-liter V8 and 6.2-liter V8 engines. In a shot across the bows of both Ford and Chrysler, GM says it won't use a V6 engine adapted from passenger car applications. Instead, it developed the 4.3-liter engine based on its proven truck-duty architecture.
All three mills will boast direct injection fuel systems as well as a new cylinder head design. Combined with a revised piston, the new engines feature a smaller combustion chamber with a compression ratio of 11:1 or higher depending on the application. Cylinder deactivation and continuously variable valve timing are all part of the recipe, and each engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission with auto grade breaking. So far, no fuel economy or horsepower figures have been released, though GM says the new engines will best their predecessors in both areas.
Outside, the trucks feature a number of enhancements to reduce drag and wind noise, and GM claims both the Silverado and Sierra will offer buyers some of the quietest cabins in the class. Extended cab models now feature front-hinged rear doors to allow easier access to the back passenger area, and Crew Cab buyers can now select between a five-foot, eight-inch bed or a six-foot, six-inch bed. Buyers with a mind toward going off road will also rejoice in the return of the Z71 package, complete with Rancho shocks, front tow hooks and additional under-body protection.
Automotive News reports that General Motors may slash production or ramp up discounts in order to deal with an oversupply of pickup trucks. GM currently has more than double the standard supply of pickups, and the vehicles are threatening to dampen the automaker's profits for 2013. Typically, automakers try to sustain a 60- to 75-day supply of vehicles, but GM is currently loaded with a 139-day supply, as of last month. At the end of November, the automaker was sitting on 245,853 units.
The manufacturer says that it will adjust production accordingly before laying any incentives on the profitable pickups. Even so, there's some concern that the inventory swell could hurt the roll-out of the next-generation Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. GM actually began slowly stepping back production in August, but it's clear the company will take further action as it heads toward the end of the year and into the next. Analysts predict the automaker could reduce pickup manufacturing by nearly half in the first quarter of 2013.
That still may not be enough to keep GM from laying extra cash on the Silverado and GMC Sierra. While the company's incentive spending was down in November compared to the same month in 2011, both the Ram 1500 and Ford F-150 saw double-digit percentage increases in sales last month while the Silverado and Sierra numbers slid compared to a year prior. Incentive spending could help move more trucks and add some balance to the GM inventory surge.
For nine years, Diesel Power magazine has run the Diesel Power Challenge, this year's grindfest being "a week-long torture test that features seven events, nine trucks, 8,000 horsepower, and nearly 15,000 pound-feet of torque." The road to being crowned "the most powerful truck" starts with a dyno run, and then continues through the completion of a CDL-style obstacle course, an eighth-of-a-mile drag race while towing a 10,000-pound trailer, a quarter-mile drag race without a trailer, a fuel economy test in the mountains and finally a sled-pulling test through a 300-foot-long packed-mud pit.
What kind of trucks get into such a fight? Last year's winner, for instance - who upgraded his truck this year to prove he didn't "luck into the win" - drives a 2008 Ford F-250 Super Duty with a 6.4-liter Power Stroke V8 upgraded with a custom intake, Elite Diesel triple turbos and a two-stage nitrous system. Another competitor has a 2005 Dodge Ram 2500 powered by a 5.9-liter Cummins inline-six, upgraded with Garrett turbos, dual-stage nitrous, a seven-inch exhaust stack and twin fans built into the bed to cool the Sun Coast Omega transmission. The numbers on that truck: 1,255 horsepower, and 2,063 pound-feet of torque at the wheels. Naturally, as the image above might suggest, things don't always end well.
You'll find all five videos covering this years challenge below. A scene in the dyno video sums it all up perfectly: a competitor leaves his nitrous on too long and the crew is treated to some ominous poppings, he leans out the window, throws both hands up and shouts, "Amer'ca!"