Muscle Truck: 1990 Chevrolet 454 SS Pickup

Some classic vehicles will develop a cult following because they feature svelte lines that are almost seductive. Others will command respect because they feature sophisticated drivetrains that are a triumph of technological innovation. The 1990 Chevrolet 454 SS Pickup doesn’t tick either of those boxes, but it grabs your attention because it has a brutal appearance and a big-block V8 under the hood. Today, good examples are keenly sought, and this one looks like it is a beauty. The current owner has treated it with respect, but he now feels that the time is right for it to head to a new home. It is located in Yakima, Washington, and has been listed for sale here on Craigslist. If you hand the owner $38,000, you could drive away in this potent Pickup.

When the 454 SS appeared for the 1990 model year, it made quite an impact. It looked tough and purposeful, and the Onyx Black paint screamed for attention. While some vehicles from this era haven’t aged well, the SS remains pretty crisp and modern, and it wouldn’t look out of place parked next to today’s offerings. The paint on this truck shines impressively, but that is hardly surprising when you consider that it has been garage-kept for its entire life. Its exposure to the elements has been minimal, and this has also allowed it to remain rust-free. Black paint is perfect for revealing dings, dents, and other panel imperfections. These look straight and true, with no issues that would demand the buyer’s attention. The exterior trim is in excellent order, as are the alloy wheels and distinctive decals. Overall, this Pickup makes a positive impression from every angle.

The mechanical makeup of the 454 SS seemed to combine impressive performance with an effortless motoring experience. The engine bay is occupied by a 454ci big-block churning out 230hp and 385 ft/lbs of torque. The remaining specifications include a 3-speed automatic transmission, a 3.73 locking rear end, power steering, and power brakes with anti-lock on the rear. While this isn’t a muscle car, the Pickup should be capable of blitzing the ¼-mile in 15.9 seconds. Chevrolet saw this vehicle as a total package, and they weren’t satisfied with shoehorning a big-block under the hood and hoping for the best. As well as wider wheels and better tires, they equipped the 454 SS with upgraded suspension and Bilstein shocks. That should make its performance on twisting roads a cut above your average pickup. It appears that the owner has treated this Chevy with respect, and that is reflected by the fact that it is in sound mechanical health. It has 64,800 genuine miles on the clock, and considering how bulletproof the mechanical components are, it could be considered barely broken in.

If you had your heart set on a new 454 SS Pickup in 1990 but weren’t a fan of Garnet Red interior trim, you were out of luck. That is what we find inside this beast, and as is the case with the rest of the vehicle, it appears to be in excellent order. There is no evidence of any wear or problems and nothing to suggest that it has been the victim of abuse. The dash is in perfect order, as are the carpet, door trims, and wheels. Once again reflecting that “total package” approach, this interior comes with a vast collection of comfort features. These include ice-cold air conditioning, power windows, power locks, a tilt wheel, cruise control, a console, and an AM/FM radio and cassette player.

If you are looking for a subtle performance classic to park in your garage, this Pickup might not be for you. Chevrolet wanted the world to know what the owner was driving, and with Onyx Black paint, big wheels, and bold graphics, the 454 SS is anything but subtle. With the ongoing popularity of classic pickups, these continue to perform well in the market. This one is a beauty, and its condition is almost impossible to fault. It is possible to find examples in the mid-$20,000 bracket, although prices rise sharply from there. The asking price is pushing right into the top end of what you might expect to pay for a spotless example today. However, its condition and odometer reading would make the figure realistic if the owner is willing to be patient.  I don’t think that he’ll have seething hordes knocking down his door to get their hands on it, but I suspect that there’s a better than even chance that he will find a buyer eventually.


  1. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    Isn’t this the rig where Chevy had stopped making the 454 and had to outsource the supply to Mercury Marine or Kiekhaefer?

    Like 1
    • George Simpson

      Negative, ghost rider. They continued to equip the bigger trucks with the 454 until the new body style came out. Sold several new one ton pickups with the Rat.

      Like 6
  2. Greg Hoover

    This was Chevrolet’s answer to Ford’s Lightning pickup. It was affectionately dubbed “The Wimp Eater”.

    Like 3
    • Autoworker

      These were three years before the 1st gen Lightning (93-95). Good looking truck.

      Like 9
    • Dave

      Those of us who were 15 when the real 454 was introduced laughed. Chevy had tried and failed miserably with its “Monte Carlo SS”, powered by a blistering 305! It was an attempt to get those of us who were 15 in 1970 to buy a new truck twenty years later with the magical numbers “454” on the side.
      For some reason drivers insisted on racing me on my Suzuki GS850G. Granted, it wasn’t a hot rod like a V-Max, but it was more than able to dispatch these pretenders to the throne.

      Like 6
  3. Raymond

    Factory these were not fast, although they looked it…throw about 3 grand into one they could be made to be fast, but were initially disappointing despite looking so Syclone/typhoonisih….i raced one in a built iroc, expected more of a fight….

    Like 6
  4. Dave

    A guy at work has one. I had no idea they could be this valuable. If it’s just a ’90 with a big block you’re after, this would be easy to duplicate, and you could even add a real transmission, one with overdrive.

    Like 1
  5. Steveo

    230hp is nothing today. My how things change.

    Like 8
  6. Troy s

    No, it wasnt a technical advanced, Italian hard body styled wonder in 1990, it was a throw back to the SS454 cars from the early early seventies….more or less the Chevelles. No car came with this engine anymore so a “sport” truck filled the bill. This is the era when old muscle cars were really catching on again, so
    The SS 454 pick up was all dolled up in black with cool graphics and loads of torque….and thirsty as heck with the non overdrive tranny.
    Nice looking rig for a lot of money, I’d take.a Ford Lightning over it, just a better balanced truck.

    Like 5
    • MikeB

      Agree with Troy 100%.

      Like 1
    • Donnie L Sears

      I would never consider what that 454 had to be tons of torque.

      Like 1
      • Troy s

        Compared to the other half ton pick ups back in 1990, it had loads of it……not tons. I gave Chevy an A minus for trying, the truck itself …..a C minus.

  7. Ed Casala

    When I got out of the Marine Corps in 1989, I almost bought one of these. What changed my mind was the test drive. It was just not very fast. Ended up buying a Nissan truck with a four cylinder that made 100 hp or so. Was way more fun to drive. 38K for that? Good luck.

    Like 1
  8. Howie Mueler

    $38k and a firm price. Check out those gas mileage numbers!!

    Like 2
  9. Chuck

    I’m thinking 25ish

    Like 1
  10. Denny Tuttle

    Wife bought me a 90 SS 454 for my birthday .Nice looking and driving but was a dog for power. It got turned back in on the lemon law. Wiring kept shorting out .Had it in 8 times to the dealer. Topped out at 110 and got maybe at best 11 mpg Did get a ticket in the first hour I had it doing a burn out. Truck went back with 3 thousand miles on it. The price out the door was 18,745.00 .

    Like 3

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