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Unleashing Power: General Motors’ Fastest Trucks of All Time

Vukasin Herbez July 6, 2023

Amongst many things, General Motors is known as the company that created the first muscle car back in 1964. It was also a part of the pickup truck market from the very beginning. It was only a matter of time before those two concepts merged and their trucks became super-powered.

Over the years, GM has produced some fantastic trucks. They managed to keep their products on the list of best sellers in this field. However, GM’s performance-hungry customers demanded more than just top-of-the-market sales numbers. They wanted speed. And overall, GM delivered some of the fastest trucks ever made. Check out the best and fastest GM trucks ever built right here.

Photo Credit: GM


The Tesla Cybertruck might be the first fully-operational prototype electric truck of the future. But GMC’s Hummer EV is newer, bigger, meaner-looking, and filled with several features. Before attempting to reserve one, you have to know that the top-of-the-line version cost around $100,000 (via Car and Driver).

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That may be worth it, as the features of the GMC Hummer EV are insane. The base version will have a 625 hp engine and the next in line will have an 800 hp engine. The top-tier model will have an astonishing 1000 hp at its disposal. As with all electric vehicles, the torque figure is equally impressive. Its predicted range is 350 miles. But what really excites drivers is the combination of the drive train and suspension. It allows the new-age Hummer to climb even the steepest obstacles and go diagonally, bringing a new dimension to off-road driving. With an EV powertrain, the Hummer EV is blisteringly quick in a straight line. It can do 0 to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds, an insane fact.

Photo Credit: GM

Chevrolet 454 SS

After almost two decades of low-compression engines, slow performance, and safety and environmental laws in the early 1990s, US manufacturers finally started to produce and sell faster trucks. The wave of newfound performance was so overwhelming that every pickup brand had its fast model or limited edition. One of the most menacing was the mighty Chevrolet 454 SS. The basic idea behind this model was to offer the biggest available engine in the lightest full-size truck. It was a muscle car philosophy in truck form. Chevy engineers took the ordinary 1990 Chevy 1500 pickup truck with a short bed and added a massive 454 V8 engine (via Motor Trend).

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The enormous 7.2-liter V8 was good enough for 230 to 255 hp, a diminutive number, but it also had 385 lb.-ft of torque. That made it truly fly down the road. The big block engine was from Chevrolet’s heavy-duty truck lineup, and it was a durable machine. On the outside, the 454 SS was kind of low-key without any wild graphics or color schemes. There was a model designation on the back of the bed, and the only difference was a blackout front grille. However, despite the big torque number, the 454 SS was slower and couldn’t beat sports cars as the GMC Syclone did. Still, it was one of the fastest trucks around.

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GMC Sierra 1500 6.2-Liter

GMC trucks are often mechanically identical to Chevrolets, but GMC offered higher levels of trim and more features. In 2014, almost accidentally, GMC created a perfect stealth muscle truck in the form of its Sierra with a 6.2-liter V8 engine pushing a healthy 420 hp (via Car and Driver).

Photo Credit: Motor Trend

With the same engine as the base Corvette, the GMC Sierra was surprisingly agile in a 0 to 60 mph sprint. It took 5.4 seconds to do that with the help of all-wheel-drive. Of course, the full-size trucks don’t have high top speed, but the 2014 Sierra with a 6.2-liter V8 could top 110 mph, which is decent.

Photo Credit: Motor Trend

Chevrolet El Camino SS 454

The Chevrolet El Camino was a half-car/half-truck hybrid for carrying light loads and a helpful tool for small business owners. And most of them lived their lives exactly like that. But in 1970, Chevrolet introduced the wildest El Camino of all in the form of the El Camino SS 454 (via Hemmings).

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The mighty 454 V8 LS6 was a 7.4-liter Chevrolet’s big block engine with an official 450 hp rating. The engine delivered around 500 hp in real life and was a fire-breathing beast. It was one of the best engines of the muscle car era. In the El Camino SS, this engine provided performance that was close to the best regular muscle cars of the day.

Foto Credit: GM

GMC Syclone

Back in the 1980s, GM experimented a lot with turbocharged engines, which was in line with industry trends at the moment. The most famous of them all was Buick Grand National or Buick GNX, which featured a 3.8-liter turbocharged V6 engine and sub-five-second 0 to 60 mph time. Those Buicks terrorized drag strips and stoplights with that kind of firepower. By the early 1990s, though, those Buicks were gone. GM engineers were looking for where to install that turbo hardware. The decision was to make a crazy sports truck out of a Chevrolet S10, a compact pickup with four-cylinder power. This is how the Syclone was born (via JD Power).

Photo Credit: GMC

GM took an ordinary S10 body shell and installed a 4.3-liter V6 with a turbocharger, good for 280 hp. The Syclone also had a special four-speed automatic sourced from the Corvette and performance-biased all-wheel drive. Its power figures don’t sound much these days, but the Syclone was able to sprint to 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds. That made it faster than contemporary Ferraris. The key was its light weight and lots of torque from its turbocharged engine. Of course, the price was significantly higher than the regular model. There were less than 3,000 made, almost all of them in its signature black color. Today, the Syclone is very much a collector vehicle and a sought-after model. It is still relatively fast and can hold its own against much younger and more powerful cars.

Photo Credit: Silodrome

Pontiac El Catalina

Before you say that the ill-fated Pontiac pickup truck is not part of a muscle car or performance car history, we beg to differ. If this car had been built, the Pontiac team of engineers would have presented it with a Super Duty, GTO Tri-Power or Ram Air IV engine at some point to compete with the El Camino SS or Ranchero GT (via Silodrome).

Photo Credit: Silodrome

In 1960, Pontiac wanted to expand their portfolio and even thought of producing some sort of light delivery vehicle or truck. The closest thing GM had at that point was a famous and usable Chevrolet El Camino which was based on a full-size Chevy car platform. Pontiac’s R&D department took the El Camino and mounted its own 1960 Catalina body, chopped and reshaped with the El Camino’s rear glass and truck bed. The finished concept was called El Catalina, and it was arguably more beautiful and elegant than El Camino.

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Chevrolet Big 10 1976-79

In the late ’70s, only Dodge presented muscle trucks and sold them as such. Chevy had the same idea but cleverly disguised it as a special version of its main pickup line. Back in the day, Chevrolet sold many special versions, which were mostly trim and color choices. The Big 10 even started as one of them. However, if you ticked the right boxes when you ordered your new Chevy truck, you could end up with a machine almost as fast as the 1979 Corvette (via Barn Finds).

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The trick, of course, was in the engine choice. If you paid extra for a 454 big block V8 and four-speed transmission, you could get a 245 hp beast that was more powerful than any other muscle car from the same period. Of course, the pickup truck construction put obvious limits, but this muscle truck could still accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in the eight-second range.

Photo Credit: GM

Chevrolet Silverado SS

Introduced in 2003, the Silverado SS was basically the spiritual successor of the legendary 454 SS model from the early ’90s. However, it was somewhat more refined and with more power and options. Under the hood was a 6.0-liter V8 that put out 365 hp, which provided sub-seven-second 0 to 60 mph times. The Silverado SS was offered in four colors which makes them easy to recognize on the street (via GM Authority).

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The Silverado SS was the attempted answer to Ford F150 Lightning. However, it was less extreme since Ford had a supercharged V8. Interestingly, the Silverado SS was a better-built and more usable model since it had two cab formats on offer, whereas the F150 Lightning was only available in one.

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Chevrolet SSR

Built on an SUV platform with a Corvette V8 engine, fold-down hard top, and tight cabin for only two passengers, the SSR was something like a modern hot rod. It had the glorious soundtrack from a small block V8 with around 400 hp and dual exhaust pipes (via Slash Gear).

Photo Credit: Car Domain

The performance could have been more impressive. The sprint to 60 mph took around six seconds but it wasn’t slow either. With the retro design, big wheels, and strange silhouette, it was definitely something different on the street. The SSR wasn’t your typical muscle truck, but it had a V8 and a truck bed so it could be considered one.

Photo Credit: GM

Chevrolet Silverado 1500 RST

The Silverado 1500 RST might be the perfect performance truck. It’s not as extreme as a Ford Raptor or RAM TRX and it doesn’t need to be. It’s a standard Silverado with Rally Sport Truck trim, exterior details, proven technology, and a very elegant, sporty design (via Penske Chevy).

Photo Credit: Motor Trend

Of course, it’s powered by a venerable 6.2-liter V8 with 420 hp mated to an eight-speed automatic powering all four wheels. That results in a 5.4-second 0 to 60 mph time, which is quicker than some muscle cars. Also, the 2021 Silverado 1500 RST is a great value for money, too.

Photo Credit: GM

Chevrolet Cameo

Before the 1955-’58 Cameo, pickups had a step-side design in the truck bed. This means that beds were made with sculpted rear fenders, often with wooden sides. It was a production method that dated to the first trucks from the early 1920s. But as one of the biggest pickup manufacturers in the U.S., Chevrolet introduced the fleetside truck bed on its new 1955 model (via Hemmings).

Photo Credit: GM

The fleetside construction was revolutionary in many ways. First, the truck bed looked more elegant because it was flush with the cabin’s lines and the truck design. Second, it allowed for the use of the maximum width of the truck bed, making the truck more capable of carrying a wider load. And third, the innovative construction was more durable and stronger than ever before. The first model to feature this construction solution was the Chevrolet Cameo, but it wasn’t successful at first. The Cameo was an upscale version of a standard Chevy truck. It featured a V8 engine and updated equipment. It was fast for what it was.

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Chevrolet Silverado EV

Ford beat Chevy to the punch in the electric truck war with the introduction of the successful Ford Lightning electric truck. However, GM is fighting back with Hummer EV and the upcoming Silverado EV. This electric vehicle will arrive later this year as one of numerous future EV debuts from GM. Built on the Hummer platform, it will have similar characteristics, but it will be somewhat more affordable and produced in higher numbers.

Photo Credit: GM

We can expect a range of 400 miles on a single charge, which is quite good, and an overall power figure of up to 662 hp. However, since the Silverado EV is going to be a working truck, we also can expect numerous exciting and advanced features designed to make it more practical and usable. The EV powertrain will result in some astonishing 0 to 60 mph times that are, in fact, faster than the contemporary Camaro.

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