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5 Reasons the Chevy Silverado Intimidator SS Is Still Awesome

Do you remember the Chevy Silverado SS? That was the Super Sport edition of the Silverado, and if you were to search possibly EVERY used Chevy dealer, you could get lucky enough to find one. The Chevy brand had once used the SS badging across a number of nameplates, giving shoppers an option for high-end, performance-oriented iterations of that model. While the Silverado SS was not a common part of the full-size truck’s trim lineup, it did make waves when it debuted in the early aughts.

In the Silverado SS line, there was a particular special edition that made heads turn—an off-shoot from the already specially-tuned trim that gave the Silverado some extra mojo. This special edition of the Silverado SS was known as the Silverado Intimidator SS, a truly rare specimen that was only available in limited quantities for the 2006 model year, and was designed as a tribute to legendary NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt. So what made this particular truck so cool, and why is it still awesome to this very day? Well, here are five reasons…

No. 5: Tribute to Earnhardt

One of the biggest selling points of the 2006 Chevy Silverado Intimidator SS is that it was designed as a tribute to the late Dale Earnhardt, not unlike some of the other tribute special editions that Chevy had produced over the years. What’s more, the Intimidator title derives from Dale Earnhardt’s nickname on the track. This legendary racer had earned his moniker for his racing style and for putting fear in competitors in the pole position.

In many ways, the Silverado Intimidator SS embodies a lot of what made Earnhardt so popular on the track. What’s more, this vehicle was styled after the black Monte Carlo that helped Earnhardt earn so many victories. The combination of livery and nickname is perfectly encapsulated in the design of the Silverado Intimidator SS. It’s a shame that only so few were made because it makes it highly challenging to find one at a used dealer anywhere. Even still, if you can get your hands on one, you’ll find plenty of additional tributes to the “Man in Black” thanks to Dale Earnhardt logos sprinkled throughout the interior cabin, as well as Intimidator badging featured on the mats and instrument cluster. So not only is the truck super menacing and performance-oriented, but it’s an awesome tribute to a legendary racer as well.

No. 4: Rear-Wheel Drivetrain

The Chevy Silverado Intimidator SS was only available in rear-wheel drive. So if you were looking for an all-wheel drive or four-wheel iteration of the Silverado, you wouldn’t be finding a Silverado Intimidator among that specific selection of vehicles. Chevy had specifically engineered the Intimidator SS to be designed for speed, and that meant focusing on delivering as much power as possible from the wheels to the road without diverting any power away from pushing all the torque to just two wheels. This was accomplished thanks to a 3.73:1 locking rear differential, which enabled drivers to do one thing you often don’t see pickup trucks do: burnouts.

Yes, with the 6.0L rocking a 10:1 compression ratio at 345 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque, the 364 V8 under the hood enabled the Chevy Silverado Intimidator SS to easily burn rubber right off the line. The four-speed automatic transmission is probably one of the biggest drawbacks to the powertrain configuration; a six-speed manual would have been a far better tag-team partner to the V8, but the four-speed was standard on the Silverado during that era, so that’s what it had available. Even still, the truck’s performance-themed power output and specially tuned suspension made it a snappy-handling full-size pickup with plenty of power to put down on the road.

A wet Chevy logo is shown.

No. 3: Blackout Livery

It may not seem like a big deal, but one of the defining features of the Intimidator is its imposing livery. The all-black body exterior gives the Silverado Intimidator SS that menacing visual flair that makes it stand out significantly from the other trims and trucks that Chevy has produced. The glossy black paint scheme paired with the sporty exterior design works all kinds of wonders for this particular Silverado.

Basically, every part of the truck that isn’t the windows, antenna, wheels, badging, lights, and grille is basked in black. The high gloss reflective nature of the paint scheme is also very similar to the Midnight Edition that Chevy often rolls out for various models over the years. However, the big difference between the Midnight Edition and the Intimidator SS is that there’s a much stronger focus on the sports styling of the Intimidator, especially with the exterior, wheels, and fascia. So all of that together helps accentuate the very aggressive charm of this rare breed of Silverado.

No. 2: Suped-Up Suspension

The beauty of the Intimidator SS is that it’s not all just colors and badges. It’s more than just the namesake and the history attached to the vehicle. In fact, the Intimidator SS has a lot of exciting features that help make it a standout when it comes to the way this particular truck handles. This was all thanks to the way the Silverado Intimidator SS was configured for handling, to make full use of its powertrain capabilities.

While the standard Silverado SS already had some neat suspension improvements, just looking at the way the Intimidator SS sits, you might notice it looks meaner and lower. Well, that’s because it IS meaner and lower. The Intimidator has a lower ride height than the regular SS in addition to two multi-stage leaf springs in the rear with a stiffer suspension for performance handling; this also includes Tenneco shocks with reinforced jounce bumpers to absorb shock better and make it easier for drivers to maintain the stability of the Silverado while the suspension is under stress. In short, the Chevy Silverado Intimidator SS was specifically designed to handle well at high speeds—just like a truly intimidating street truck built for racing ought to be.

Suspension is shown on a truck at a used Chevy dealer.

No. 1: Sports-Tuned Exterior

One of the most important aspects of the Chevy Silverado Intimidator SS is its appearance—but not just the blackout livery and aggressive badging. It’s also the sports-tuned look that the Intimidator embodies; it’s not the typical look you would find from an older-generation Silverado. Most trucks of that generation had a far more casual design to the grille, fascia, and body lines—something you would see in the inventory of a typical Chevy dealer. However, the appeal of the Intimidator SS is more than just color and performance.

Even though it was part of the first generation of Silverado models, the Intimidator SS embodied some of the cues we would see in the second generation. Some of these cues include the relaxed fenders over the wheels and smoother corners compared to the more hard-edge rectangular design we saw in the first-generation models. A sports hood, chrome grille, and quad headlights with the bowtie badge in the center are accented by its super-cool lower bumper. Dual air intakes on either side of the lower fascia with an additional honeycomb grille opening at the bottom give the Intimidator SS that almost aftermarket visage as if it had just come out of West Coast Customs.

The chrome against the blackout livery also makes the truck pop, especially with the 20-inch bright chrome wheels and matching chrome badging on the side and back of the truck. The rear double cab tinted windows add to the truck’s menace, while the rear lip spoiler on the tailgate reminds you that this is, after all, a performance-oriented sports truck. While Chevy has moved further away from this kind of design with each new generation, you can’t deny that the Silverado Intimidator SS is still one of the best-designed Silverado models out there—and definitely one for the history books.

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