Judging from a quick drive over a few steep hillside trails, the Chevy Silverado 1500 4×4 with the Lingenfelter Reaper package is more suited to high-speed, open-desert romps than tackling 4-Lo terrain. Whether or not its suspension can keep up with the pre-runner worthy Ford Raptor over the whoops and deep sand will have to be determined in a head-to-head match on the same course. But in a mano-a-mano drag race — or maybe a wide-open charge over a dry lake bed — the advantage likely goes to the GM-powered Reaper and its highly responsive supercharged V8.
The Reaper was first shown at the Chicago Auto Show last February and is now available through select Chevrolet dealers. Basically, Chevy trucks are sent to Southern Comfort Automotive (SCA) in Trussville, Alabama, where the Lingenfelter engineering magic is applied in the form of a Magnuson supercharger, Fox Racing-inspired suspension upgrades and whole bunch of graphics, badges, and lights. Overall the cost is higher than a Raptor, which a base model can be scored at a Ford Dealer for less than $45,000 – but anyone spending that much on a special vehicle will usually add options to kick the check over $50,000. Reaper prices are going to run from around $55,000 for a base model to $65,000 for fully loaded supercharged editions.
The best-spent money is on the engine where the Magnuson TSV1900 supercharger raises the 6.2-liter V8 up to 550 horsepower. The Raptor’s naturally aspirated 6.2-liter engine is rated at 411 horsepower with 434 lb-ft peak torque.
The Reaper sounds tough with a Corsa exhaust and responds well to the whip. Power is shifted through an electronic six-speed transmission to all four wheels when in the dirt. Lingenfelter and SCA didn’t mess with the differentials, which is a little disappointing. Not that the well-respected Eaton G80 automatic locker available in GM trucks isn’t up to the task for the rear axle, but Ford offers a Torsen differential for the front. GM has no such option. Finally, GM’s lowest available axle is a 3.42:1 gear. The Raptor offers 4.10:1
Are you sensing a trend here? The Reaper has shortcomings that keep it from being a solid trail ride, but let’s team the Lingenfelter engine with proven suspension upgrades and put the truck in a more suitable element.
Beefing Up The Suspension
Working with Fox Racing, Lingenfelter modified the suspension to provide 11.2 inches of wheel travel in the rear and just over 9 inches up front – or about a 25 percent improvement over stock. Providing the damping is a set of Fox Racing 3.0 shocks with remote reservoirs. There’s also a three-inch lift to clear the 33×12.50x17LT General Grabber AT tires wrapped around bead-lock wheels.
If you want a little more style, 20-inch wheels are available, but real off-roaders like the 17s for the additional sidewall height when airing down. The end effect is a suspension that isn’t as compliant as one would like for trail riding but appears extremely well suited for higher-speed activity. In fact, all of the off-road development work was conducted in desert Baja-like environments, so that’s where this truck belongs.
Overall, the Reaper’s stance is quite authentic for ground clearance, and it’s ruggedly handsome with muscular wide-body fender flares, rock guards, brushed stainless skid plate and unique hood styling. This isn’t a cosmetic poseur package; there are substantial performance improvements with both the powertrain and chassis upgrades.
Off Road Xtreme’s first drive in the Reaper was over hillside trails above Willow Springs Raceway north of Los Angeles. They were slippery and steep but not fast – in other words, enjoyable but not extremely challenging.
The Reaper needs to stretch its legs in the open desert and allow the suspension to soak up the terrain. Honestly, it was more fun stomping the throttle on the access road than going in the dirt. The Reaper will definitely turn heads on the street, if not only for the sensory overload of graphics and bolt-ons.
You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a Reaper logo or badge pasted somewhere on this truck. Also intimidating is the lighting arrangement on the restyled front end. The Reaper has an arsenal of LED lights, including two 10-inch light bars and six DRLs.
Inside the cab, the Reaper package includes restyled gauges, door-panel accents and embroidered headrests.
Even though it’s a little pricey, part of the Reaper’s appeal is that the Lingenfelter upgrades and SCA restyling carry a 3-year/36,000 mile warranty. Also, all of the modifications, which many off-road enthusiasts would add anyway, can be financed along with the vehicle at the dealership. SCA can also outfit your Reaper with a number of accessories. For more information, go to reaperperformanceusa.com.