Posted: May 30, 2014
The Chevrolet Reaper
The Chevrolet Reaper combines impressive technology with rugged styling and serious off-road capabilities.By Ellen McKoy
Who would’ve thought a casual meeting in a tiny Mideast emirate would inspire two storied automotive enterprises to collaborate on a project that would transform one of America’s most popular pickups? But that’s precisely what happened when Ken Lingenfelter and Mike Copeland from Lingenfelter Performance Engineering and Michael and Matt Sweeney of Southern Comfort Automotive put their heads together in faraway Dubai.
Both companies have deep roots in the automotive industry. Lingenfelter Performance, which traces its 40-year pedigree to legendary drag racer John Lingenfelter,is recognized for its precision-engineered engine packages and aftermarket components. Southern Comfort, known as a luxury automotive upfitter, focuses on building limited-production specialty vehicles, such as the Black Widow and Apex Series trucks. So relying on their decades of collective experience, the companies joined forces on an extreme makeover, using a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado as their platform.
Dubbed the Chevrolet Reaper™, the truck combines the best of both worlds, the impressive technology of the Silverado along with rugged styling and serious off-road capabilities. To give the truck a more aggressive stance, Southern Comfort beefed up the front end with a restyled front clip and Reaper hood.
The replacement front bumper adds eight extra inches of ground clearance — an asset when venturing offroad — and features an integrated brushed-stainless skid plate that bolts to the truck frame for maximum undercarriage protection. The addition of Southern Comfort’s wide-body fender flares enhances the truck’s muscular look. The company’s wheel-to-wheel rock-guard side steps — which can be removed for extra clearance when navigating rough, muddy or rocky terrain — provide easy in-and-out access.
Rigid Industries’ integrated LED off-road lighting delivers improved visibility with two 10-inch light bars integrated into the bumper, while six daytime running lights add a distinctive look and can pierce through fog at night. As a finishing touch, Southern Comfort’s optional Reaper graphics package adds zing and a splash of color to the monochromatic paint scheme.
Interior enhancements include Southern Comfort’s custom embroidered headrests, painted door-panels and painted interior accent pieces. A Reaper gauge package from US Speedo allows the driver to easily monitor the vehicle’s performance. But it’s the power-boosting upgrades and other mods that give this truck its high-performance capabilities. The stock 6.2L 420hp V8 engine has
been cranked up to 550hp through the optional Lingenfelter-tuned Magnuson TSV1900 supercharger system. A cat-back exhaust package from CORSA Performance helps optimize performance and delivers that unmistakably powerful sound.
Since no self-respecting off-roader would venture into rough country without the right tire and wheel setup, and suspension mods, the Reaper comes well equipped. It rides on road-gripping General Grabber all-terrain tires fitted with exclusive Reaper wheels, and was raised three inches with a long-travel suspension system from Ride-Tech, coupled with specially tuned and tested Fox Racing 3.0 factory-series shocks with remote reservoirs.
Available through select Chevrolet dealerships, the Reaper is a testament to Lingenfelter’s and Southern Comfort’s rich heritage. Whether heading for an off-road adventure or a night on the town, the truck sets the right tone for serious off-roaders and wannabe weekend warriors yearning for a high performance, upmarket ride that packs plenty of power and panache.