The SEMA show kicked off Tuesday with Chevrolet showing off eight customized trucks, led by The Chevy Beast, plus a bonus vehicle — an electrified 1957 Chevy.
The Chevy Beast follows all of the traditional efforts of other automakers looking to highlight the best of the company’s aftermarket accessories. In this case, a concept vision of the ultimate in high-performance desert running, says the brand.
The Chevy Beast concept is a four-passenger off-roader that’s based on a modified Silverado chassis, wears a customized pickup body, and is powered by a Chevrolet Performance LT4 650-horsepower supercharged crate engine.
“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.”
The beauty of The Beast
Like so many other vehicles on the show floor, The Beast aims to push Chevy’s aftermarket parts to their limit in terms of performance and looks. It starts with a Silverado short-bed chassis, which was shortened.
Engineers then designed a 4130 chromoly tubular safety structure that was integrated into the modified chassis, which was then mated to a customized, lightweight body. Removing weight is critical to achieve the performance necessary for romping around the desert.
A long-travel off-road suspension system was also created for the vehicle, including a five-link rear suspension, the company noted. The truck’s widened, 91-inch track improves handling, stability and driver control during high-speed off-road driving.
Power comes from a Chevrolet Performance LT4 crate engine — a 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 putting out 650 horsepower. It’s backed by a 10L90 10-speed automatic transmission sending 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.
Outside matches the inside
The Beast also got some exterior tweaks as well, most notably tubular doors and a clamshell-style front end. The rear end has almost no overhang to improve attack angles, especially on steep grades. Two spare tires are mounted in the back bed.
The Beast wasn’t the only truck the company brought to SEMA, there are seven other pickups and SUVs wearing the bowtie in Vegas, including:
- 2022 Silverado ZR2
- 2022 Silverado High Country Midnight Concept
- 2022 Silverado 3500HD Hoonigan Concept
- 2022 Colorado ZR2 Extreme Off-Road
- 2022 Colorado Z71 Off-Road Performance Edition
- 2022 Tahoe Z71 Overlanding Concept
- 2021 Suburban Street Concept
More details on all the Chevrolet vehicles and accessories at SEMA are available by clicking here.
Not all rough-and-tumble in the Silver State
GM teamed with the MotorTrend Group and Cagnazzi Racing on an update for Project X: a 1957 Chevy that Hot Rod magazine bought in 1965 to update with the latest aftermarket products year after year. This year it gets perhaps its most significant update ever: electrification.
Throughout the years, this four-wheeled test bed has been powered by inline-6 and V-8 engines, and at times used carburetors, fuel injection and supercharging. Now it uses an electric motor putting out an estimated 340 hp, according to Chevrolet.
“Project X has always served the car community by pushing the envelope with groundbreaking technologies,” said Douglas Glad, group content director, MotorTrend Group. “As the auto industry shifts rapidly toward electric vehicles, this Project X build is just the latest in its celebrated legacy of adapting hot rodding to the powerful technology of tomorrow.”
Builder Cagnazzi Racing replaced Project X’s supercharged LSX V-8 with an electric motor that delivers an estimated 340 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque. The battery, which is being evaluated for potential use as a next-generation Chevrolet Performance product, has been developed around a modular concept that could allow customers to scale the pack capacity based on range, cost, packaging and weight considerations.
In Project X, the 400-volt proof-of-concept lithium-ion battery stores 30 kilowatt-hours of electricity, providing enough range for weekend cruising. A quick-change differential allows the final-drive ratio to be adjusted based on how the car is being used. Fitting the differential with a shorter final-drive ratio provides quicker acceleration while using a taller gear relaxes performance and extends the range.