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Chevy Americana mania

This month GM released the Hummer H3 and now Gympie-based right-hand-drive conversion company Performax International is unleashing two massive Yank utes.

The first fully complianced 2008 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra utes have arrived with 4.5 tonne towing capacity.

Performax International recently achieved Australian Design Rule compliance for the United States-built Silverado after completing design, engineering and conversion work in-house at its Gympie factory.

The main model offered will be the Silverado 2500HD crew-cab four-wheel drive, priced at $123,000 plus on-road costs with a four-year/120,000km warranty and four-year roadside assistance. Other models from the extensive Silverado and sister GMC Sierra range are available on order.

The 2500HD features crew-cab pick-up bodywork, GM Duramax 6.6 litre V8 turbodiesel power, Allison six-speed automatic transmission with high and low ranges and dashboard-selected four-wheel-drive engagement.

Peak engine outputs are 272kW at 3200rpm and 895Nm of torque at 1600rpm.

The Allison Adaptive Shift Control gearbox with manual over-ride includes a tow/haul mode, which alters shift patterns to maximise engine efficiency in pulling and braking. Tow/Haul mode also engages grade braking, which selects a lower gear to assist hill descents even when cruise control is operating.

Performax International general manager Nick Vandenberg says the 2008 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD is the answer for many heavy-duty and long-distance haulers in Australia.

“The 2008 Silverado is a big step forward in performance, refinement, styling and comfort for this type of ute,” Vandenberg said. “With towing capacity at 4.5 tonnes, it's the big ute many people have been waiting for."

“We had orders for almost 20 even before the ADR compliance process was completed and now we expect many more from both recreational and business buyers.

“There is no other new vehicle like it on the Australian market, especially at a price within the range of many less capable 4WD wagons."

“The new exterior and interior styling looks great and the cabin provides real comfort, with a spacious rear bench for three large adults, leather upholstery and the comfort and safety items usually found on passenger cars.”

Performax International, formerly Corvette Queensland, has been importing and converting American cars for almost 20 years, developing an unequalled reputation for the quality of its engineering work and customer service.

It employs more than 40 people and produces about 200 vehicles a year for Australian roads.