Rare Rides: The 2004 Joe Gibbs Racing Tahoe Is Fast and Confused

rare rides the 2004 joe gibbs racing tahoe is fast and confused

Customized and limited edition SUVs are nothing new to regular readers of Rare Rides. The striking Funkmaster Flex Expedition clouded eyes with tears of joy. Neiman Marcus once modified a Lincoln Blackwood, showing just how easily versatility and usefulness can be stripped from a Ford truck.

After those Ford and Lincoln examples, I think it’s time we took a look at a General Motors offering — perhaps a Tahoe. A supercharged, racing Tahoe.

Our subject today is a 2004 Chevrolet Tahoe, dressed with Joe Gibbs Limited Edition special sauce. The first thing to say is how well it would sit in a garage next to a GMT360 Chevrolet TrailBlazer SS. Their exterior treatments are remarkably similar. According to the listing (no longer active), Mr. Gibbs is a Super Bowl-winning football coach who also ran a successful team in NASCAR.

Your author doesn’t follow either of those sports, so someone in the B&B can fill us in on the accuracy of those statements.

As mentioned above, there are some SS-style changes with the front bumper.

Nobody will doubt you’re driving a Joe Gibbs Performance Tahoe, as the badges festooning the car are massive.

Special side skirts are also here, replacing the running boards you’d commonly find on almost all GMT800 vehicles.

Note the rear bumper, which has been taken from a Yukon Denali model of similar vintage. The D-pillar panels were taken from an Escalade.

The door handles bother me, so let’s talk about those briefly. Only base or LS models were available with matte black door handles. LT and LTZ trims had color-matched gloss handles. Modifying a vehicle to make it sporting and luxurious would make more sense if you used one of the versions which already contained luxury features.

Some sporty five-spoke deep-dish rims help the overall look here.

Under the hood, Mr. Gibbs has added a supercharger to the 5.3-liter LS V8, adding 100 extra horsepower (according to the ad copy). With 395 horsepower and fat tires, it should be decently quick.

You’ll find some interior modifications once you open the front door. The front seats have additional bolstering (these seem legitimately custom-made) and have suede inserts in the center portion. That’s for when you’re hammering this beast around the track! The modified seats require manual back adjustment, limited lower cushion adjustments, and there’s no power lumbar. No heated seats, either.

The middle seats get the same suede treatment, but do not have the embroidery like the front.

It’s not clear whether this third-row seat is a replacement or the original, but the ruching indicates it’s from a truck made between 2000 and 2002. For 2003, GMT800 models switched to a smooth-style seat with defined panels rather than ruching. There’s also a subwoofer that’ll be bouncing around back here, for reasons unknown.

You also get some white gauges, replacing the standard black ones.

In the dash, there’s an aftermarket Sony GPS unit, as well as a signed placard where there would normally be a small cubby. Below, there’s some hookup for an ancient cellular telephone from The Matrix II or something.

The Tahoe has covered almost 135,000 miles and seems well maintained. The eBay listing ended early, claiming the item was “no longer available.” So, expect to see it back online shortly.

What do you think this truck is worth?

[Images via eBay]

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3 of 22 comments
  • APaGttH APaGttH on Jun 05, 2017

    I'm guessing this had chrome door handles and someone along the way replaced them with the matte black materials. It is very easy to swap the handles out. Dude, I murdered out my ride. The little bit I could see in the interior with electronic climate control, center console, and steering wheel controls, this doesn't look like GMT800 LS level trim. If it is, it was equipped stupidly a the LT version would have likely been cheaper versus checking off the boxes to equip it this way. GM had some serious stupidity on the GMT800 seats they provided customizers. I remember the North Face Edition Avalanche didn't have heated seats, power tilt, or power lumbar. The reason was they used a lower level seat frame for the customized trim, that negated these options. I'm sure some bean counter thought this was a very good idea. The Vortec 5.3L V8 takes to forced induction very well -- the stock 4-speed automatic if it isn't the HD model can take the HP, my question is what is the torque number. Bad things start to happen if you approach 450-475 pound feet. IIRC this was around 340 pound feet of torque out of the box NA.

    • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Jun 05, 2017

      I agree it's stupidly optioned. But you'd have a hard time finding an LT with monotone door panels, and no heated memory seats, but with a sunroof. I think they used a base.

  • SuperCarEnthusiast SuperCarEnthusiast on Jun 06, 2017

    I think it worth around $225K but I would only pay $18K for it now!

  • Dlc65688410 Please stop, we can't take anymore of this. Think about doing something on the Spanish Pegaso.
  • MaintenanceCosts A few bits of context largely missing from this article:(1) For complicated historical reasons, the feds already end up paying much of the cost of buying new transit buses of all types. It is easier legally and politically to put capital funds than operating funds into the federal budget, so the model that has developed in most US agencies is that operational costs are raised from a combination of local taxes and fares while the feds pick up much of the agencies' capital needs. So this is not really new spending but a new direction for spending that's been going on for a long time.(2) Current electric buses are range-challenged. Depending on type of service they can realistically do 100-150 miles on a charge. That's just fine for commuter service where the buses typically do one or two trips in the morning, park through the midday, and do one or two trips in the evening. It doesn't work well for all-day service. Instead of having one bus that can stay out from early in the morning until late at night (with a driver change or two) you need to bring the bus back to the garage once or twice during the day. That means you need quite a few more buses and also increases operating costs. Many agencies are saying for political reasons that they are going to go electric in this replacement cycle but the more realistic outcome is that half the buses can go electric while the other half need one more replacement cycle for battery density to improve. Once the buses can go 300 miles in all weather they will be fine for the vast majority of service.(3) With all that said, the transition to electric will be very good. Moving from straight diesel to hybrid already cut down substantially on emissions, but even reduced diesel emissions cause real public health damage in city settings. Transitioning both these buses and much of the urban truck fleet to electric will have measurable and meaningful impacts on public health.
  • Cprescott I assume that since the buses will be free to these companies that these companies will reduce their bus fare.
  • Scott Mopar4wdthanks for those stats. But if 40% of suv buyers are 65+ that is not a long term strategyat 70 I’m perhaps not germane as I have only 2 cars now and replace only when they’re stolen
  • Mopar4wd I think the real question is when every EV can be optioned to be startlingly fast, you need something else to differentiate. Handling features etc, outright acceleration may not be as much a measure as it once was. That's the real problem I see for Dodge, their best bet would seem to be making them look way better than the competition.