Muscle Truck Project: 1990 Chevrolet 454 SS

Muscle trucks are hot commodities lately and I think they always will be, at least until the bubble bursts. This hot muscle truck is a bit of a project and it’s listed here on eBay in Saratoga Springs, New York, the former home of the Hemmings Concours. The seller has a $15,500 buy-it-now price listed and the current bid price is $10,875 with the reserve not being met yet.

Bubble or not, there will always be people who can afford whatever vehicles they want to buy. Not that a lot of us are jealous of those trust fund babies… I mean, those hard-working people. I’m kidding, I’m kidding! I don’t know if the 454 SS will ever catch up to the Dodge SRT-10, the Viper-powered super truck, but this 454 SS would be a great project truck to own and value-wise, they typically sell for more than a similar era Ford Lightning pickup. And, it’s still a truck that can be used for hauling things more than just hauling ___…

They were made from 1990 to 1993 and Chevrolet only made around 17,000 of them, with most of them coming in the first year of 1990. They were on the market for about a year before the GMC Syclone and Typhoon came on board and weren’t quite as fast or collectible, but they could burn a set of rear tires off in no time even with a now relatively-low horsepower rating. It was more about torque with this one and the 454 had it goin’ on. For the fun of it, here’s a MotorWeek review of the 454 SS from 1990 here on YouTube.

You can probably already tell that this isn’t a trailer queen show truck. It needs a little help pretty much everywhere top to bottom. As is almost always the case, it sure seems like if the seller would have spent a few hours cleaning the hell out of this thing inside and out, it would have brought higher bids. I have to wonder if someone would have hit the buy-it-now price by now if it would have been cleaned and detailed? It sure would have been a more enticing price if it had been a nice, clean truck. Any thoughts on that?

I’m not sure why the air cleaner lid is turned over, except that I used to do that all the time as a teenager. This truck supposedly has had the 454 V8 totally rebuilt in 2006 and it has been stored for the last eleven years. They say that it runs and drives and overall this truck is in fair condition. It’s really unfortunate to see a hot, very-collectible vehicle like this one just lingering in storage somewhere. Any thoughts on this one? Good buy or good-bye?


  1. alphasud Member

    I’m still blown away that someone would take the time to list the truck on a international forum and not take the time to have it properly detailed and have good pictures taken. It’s just pure laziness. I would never consider any bidding on a truck for sale in the rust belt of America. Flipping the air cleaner lid might have made a difference on some of the early engines but I laugh at all the aftermarket intakes when I work on cars with the air cleaner hanging in the breeze of a hot engine compartment. You will note the engineers took their time to make sure this engine received cool air from the fender well area. Believe me if there were no gains to be had they would not have put it on in the first place.

    Like 21
    • JEFF S.

      I think it was mythbusters that compared stock intake to aftermarket intake systems. What they found was no improvement. Any improvement that was gained was from using a new filter vs the old filter that had thousands of miles on it. IMHO there is nothing better, than just changing your stock air filter, per owners manual. My 2020 Ford Edge says change every 20 K miles, 10 K miles to go and you can still see light through it, still looks brand new.

      Like 3
      • JBD

        We have built several smog 454 Votrec engines out of motor homes. They were so smogged out with air pumps, small valves, open chambered heads, etc that they barely made 200HP/350 TQ. With a new line bore, RV cam, heads & intake can make 450HP/600 TQ. It is well worth it if you are a full time RVer.

        Like 2
    • Phipps Hadaway

      Exactly… Would be like making your dating website profile picture yourself hungover in your underwear without shaving haha

      Like 2
    • Brad

      I sold one with 68k miles with mint interior no rust and nice paint 3 years ago for 12k. Way to much money

      Like 2
  2. angliagt angliagt

    I never cared for the speedometers on these,
    & the interior just looks cheap (& fragile).Lots of plastic.

    Like 11
  3. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    This looks like any typical truck from upstate NY, driven many miles in the winter, through snow and slush. Evident inside and out.

    Like 8
  4. Joe Haska

    I am certainly a big fan of the “Sport Truck” concept, I love short box, lowered, loud trucks, I have owned several and probably will own another one. I agree with all your comments on this 454 SS P/U, however I have never liked this particular truck that much. I am not exactly sure why, but I think it’s because they are all the a same and if you change it, most would think you would be destroying a very rare vehicle, I don’t necessarily agree with that, but instead of buying this truck, it would be better for the truck and me, to start with a basic standard pick up.

    Like 6
  5. BeeMoe

    That first line is a classic Yogi Berra-ism, there Scotty.

    Like 6
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Ha! Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded..
      They will always be hot trucks, at least until they’re not. Ha.

      Like 8
  6. BlondeUXB Member

    Rebuilt in 2006 and beaten some more ‘till 2020…

    Like 12
  7. George Mattar

    With 4.8 million trucks for sale on the Internet, keep looking. These POS trucks eat gas like Rosie O’Donnell downs donuts.

    Like 16
    • Mitchell Gildea Member

      Underrated comment

      Like 6
    • randys

      if you are interested in one of these the ones to get are the 91+ with the 4 speed automatic and the better exhausts system. replace the “peanut” heads with something better and it flies with ok gas mileage

      Like 6
  8. JBD

    Flipped air cleaner is what we did as teenagers to get a big 4 barrel induction sound, even with the little smogged-out Rochester Quadra-Jet carbs.
    Winter beater truck seems to stand out as a daily driver looks evident.
    It is a good base truck for a project with upgraded Heads/Cam/Intake.
    It will actually get better gas mileage if you drive moderately.

    Like 3
  9. John

    A “hot” truck?
    “Not quite as fast as a Cyclone”?
    What are you smoking, man?

    Like 0
  10. John

    Syclone, then. Marketing is everything!

    Like 0
  11. Bing

    I was born and raised in upstate NY. Actually lived in Saratoga Springs for a time. Big issue with the north country is the salt and sludge that cover the roads every winter.. It really takes its toll on vehicles. I current life in Texas and have since 82. I am an active buyer of used iron, especially pick ups…
    As such I pretty much keep my buying zone to the South land, coast to coast..
    Just my thoughts on the locale and I agree with the gentlemen about the dirt, grime and bad photos… I sell on e bay and Hemmings and go to great lengths to clean top and bottom, front to back before taking photos.. I do undercarriage shots as well. Just worth it especially if you are asking someone to buy your vehicle sight unseen depending just upon your photos, description and phone conversations.

    Like 6
  12. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Auction update: this truck has been relisted with no buy-it-now price.

    Like 0
  13. Ralph

    The air cleaner, and overall presentation of this one says everything. These were strictly a GM marketing vehicle, not a performance vehicle. The 454 engine was very weak, I recall several owners who regretting the expense of the SS 454. I remember several of these being traded back to the dealers for a stock engined model very soon after purchase. They could burn the rear tires off, but almost any 4 banger in a small truck can / could do the same. Not much weight over the rear tires. Never was an impressive truck, just another one with oversized engine and over the top decal package. This one will cost a fortune to restore, and new owner will just end up with another overweight dinosaur…

    Like 2
  14. Mark

    Way to much money for a smog engine ( boat anchor). Should have scrapped the rust bucket when they were taking cash for clunkers….

    Like 0
  15. Mike Smith

    Would be a fun project @ 4000 bucks.

    Like 0
  16. martinsane

    What the fluff?

    I have a 90 GMC extended cab i will sell to anyone interested for 5 figures. Same interior, a sea of maroon and the exterior is matching maroon as well.

    Good night, seriously even with the SS sticker 10k? I bought mine for 1k in far better condition. This truck is was and always will be the cars you drive right past without a 2nd thought.

    Like 1
  17. JEFF S.

    First Ebay listing ended with $11,100 reserve not met. Latest Ebay listing is at $8,600 reserve not met. With 33 bids so far, who are these guys with what, my dad, who was a auto body repairman, used car salesman, called stupid money. I agree with my old man bidding on this POS is STUPID!

    Like 0
  18. JBD

    I could easily build a 454 based 502/556 BBC to rival a Farmtruck / AZN truck of street outlaws. This trucks frame would probably split in half with serious power due to rusty winters and salty slush in upstate NY. Probably a rare truck during the early ‘90s, but like the Lightning’s of the era, just a single cab. Now there are Trail Boss/Raptor/Rebel models out with 375-450 HP from the factory.

    Like 1

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