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Friday
Oct162015

2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 4WD LS

Dear Chevrolet:

I was worried that the many items dragged into and out of the bed of the 2015 Silverado 1500 4WD LS would scratch the bed liner, and I’d have to inform you of my transgression. Only they didn’t. Proof that the $475 cost for the factory applied spray-on bed liner is durable and well worth the money.

A massive garage sale earlier in the season — it took two months to plan and arrange — meant my garage was out of commission while a number of six-foot tables were arranged around the garage and my restoration project. Though that didn’t allow me the opportunity to track down and fix the slight gearbox leak, it did force me to consolidate the many parts and pieces that have built up over the years. Now that most of the big items have been installed, I could get rid of the items I have replaced and rearrange the garage. I also was able to unload a weight bench that has gathered more dust than use, and which no one wanted to buy or even take for free at the sale.

What drove me to spend most of last week in the garage sorting through my junk is this:

These are photographs from a get together last weekend at a friend’s house. He invites everyone he knows who is car obsessed, and we have a barbecue at his house. The building you see in the background is his work space. Most red-blooded car folk would kill to have such a building in which they could work on their various automotive projects. In comparison, my two-car garage looks pathetic, which brings me back to the start of this story.


Stuff, like work, expands to fill the available space. It happens so subtly you often don’t even realize just how much space you are wasting, or how little space you have in which to work. When the small squirrel snuck into the garage, and then died atop a plastic tote when he couldn’t find his way back out, I realized it was time for some serious cleaning. After all, I didn’t even know he was in there until he began to smell a bit… ripe.

In one long weekend I was able to go through all of the boxes, containers and whatnot, remove all of the cardboard and paper, and place everything in plastic bins. Everything that was aluminum, brass, copper or metal was put to one side. This would be taken to the scrap yard. In that pile were the old, rusted vacuum canisters for the Elan’s headlamps, a pair of clutch plates, the old exhaust system and radiator, and much, much more. True, I could have spent more of my life than I can comprehend trying to sell these items on eBay, but it was much easier to load them into the six-foot six-inch box of the Silverado, and drive them to the scrap yard for disposal. Plus, the $9.65 made on the transaction was probably much more than I would have made selling the items if I took my time into account at a reasonable $/hr amount.

Here are a couple of photos of what getting rid of this stuff looked like:

 

Yep, that’s the chassis on which the Elan originally sat. For years I had wanted to take it for sand blasting and powder coating, then make it a piece of lawn art. But as the years have gone by, I had come to the conclusion this would never happen. So I loaded it into the Silverado’s bed, and drove it up to the scrap yard.


Though I am sure others have already done so, let me thank you for the steps carved into the ends of the rear bumper. This is an elegant solution that gives you the chance to either step straight into the bed, or reach over the side to retrieve an item or tie one down. In my case, I was able to secure the side-to-side movement of the chassis with a length of rope without having to climb into the bed.

I have to confess, the ride improved measurably with 480 lb. in the back. The jitteriness and harshness began to smooth out, and the truck became better behaved. It also seemed quieter for some reason, though that might have been due to the fact that my teeth were no longer chattering together as I drove on what I thought were relatively smooth roads.

And if I’m going to confess about that, I should also confess that I never took the truck out on the highway. In that light, the indicated 16.7 mpg is pretty reasonable, and just slightly above the EPA-estimated 16 mpg city. It also bodes well for reaching the 22 mpg highway number on an extended highway drive.

I was looking at the window sticker, and am very glad that whomever orders this truck added the Custom Package. The 20-in. silver-painted aluminum wheels shod with P275/55R-20 Continental Crosscontact tires really brightened up the exterior, as did the chrome door handles and mirror caps. And I am really happy this person paid the extra $100 for color-keyed carpeting to replace the rubberized vinyl floor covering. Without it, the interior would have been a bit too institutional. As it is, the hard plastic instrument panel, though well laid out, has large gaps around the upper and lower glove boxes, and the 4.2-in. diagonal color display is lost in the bezel that keeps it anchored in a spot designed for a much larger display.

The interior is roomy, but hard to get into without the optional running boards. After you struggle a bit to duck under the A-pillar and roof, you get a commanding view of the road and what’s around you. Unlike some trucks I’ve driven, it’s pretty easy to tell where the Silverado’s forward extremities are located. And while it’s not something I would want to parallel park or place between two vehicles in a crowded parking lot, the Silverado is surprisingly maneuverable.

It’s also got a lot of punch. The $1,095 charged for the 355 hp/383 lb.-ft. 5.3-liter V8 (see below) is well worth it. Especially when you find yourself idling around town in sixth gear, and have to kick it down to get going. Then wonderful sounds begin to emanate from under the hood and through the exhaust. It’s not raucous or loud. Rather it is creamy and strong; a refined but subdued bark with a good amount of bite. I could get used to this.

Pickup trucks are like that. They have this incredible utility coupled with a straight-ahead personality that is so very seductive. The $39,210 as-tested price, which includes the $1,195 destination charge and a $1,700 credit for ordering the Custom Package and V8, is quite reasonable.

So thanks for the use of the Silverado, and the chance to finally move some items out of my garage. It may not move the restoration project along any faster, but it will make maneuvering around the garage that much easier.

Sincerely,

Christopher A. Sawyer

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