The 2012 model year is the last for GM’s 355 pickup, the Chevrolet Colorado, and GMC Canyon. The 355 burst onto the scene in 2004, replacing the Chevrolet S-10 and GMC Sonoma pickups. The Colorado and Canyon pickups improved greatly from 2004 to 2012. One of the biggest improvements was the 5.3L aluminum-block Gen IV V-8 that became available starting in the 2009 model year. V-8 power in a lightweight truck brings a smile to our faces every time the accelerator is mashed.
We built a 2011 Colorado Z71 Crew Cab V-8 4x4 last year and loved the truck. Finances being what they are, we ended up trading that truck for 2012, our ’12 JK Unlimited project vehicle. What a mistake. The JK was fine, but we missed the sparkling performance of our Chevrolet. It was no secret that GM was discontinuing the 355 lineup in 2012, so we figured we better act fast to get one of the very last V-8 Colorado pickups. Axtell Taylor GM in Logan, Utah, just happened to have a white Z71 V-8 sitting on their lot. It was soon ours.
Our ’12 Colorado Z71 Crew Cab V-8 4x4 pickup is almost identical to our ’11. The rear headrests are smaller and the exhaust pipe doesn’t have a polished stainless tip, but the trucks are the same. To build this one into a competent backcountry explorer, we used many of the same parts that our ’11 had and added a winch and rocker guards. The future holds more in store for this truck. The Last Colorado will be built to explore the backcountry and be a comfortable base for further exploring via bike or on foot. Our plans include a rooftop tent, storage in the bed and back of the cab, etc.
In Phase I of the build, Dixie 4 Wheel Drive in St. George, Utah, installed a Rancho 4-inch suspension system, Bilstein shock absorbers, ARB Air Lockers front and rear, a Warn winch in Jeremy Thompson’s custom winch mount, and Trail-Gear rock sliders.
Our ’12 Colorado is a pleasure to drive and is the vehicle of choice, whether we’re going to the store or to the Grand Canyon in the dirt. Check out the photos for details.