Road Test - 2004 Chevrolet SSR

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Oct 2, 2003.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Modern hot rod meets 1953 Chevy pickup

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    By Andrew Bornhop
    September 2003

    The Chevy SSR looked stunning in its Ultra Violet purple paint with ghosted white flames as it paced this year's Indy 500. Weeks earlier and not so visibly, the folks at Indy struggled with what to call the SSR. It wasn't exactly "the official pace car." Nor was it "the official pace truck." So they simply sidestepped the issue and dubbed the SSR "the official pace vehicle."

    That difficulty in classifying the SSR is understandable, given its unique characteristics. On one hand, it's a retro-looking pickup with a small covered bed and a 2500-lb. towing capacity; on the other, it's a 2-seat roadster with a folding hardtop and rod-inspired billet-style trim. Both descriptions are correct, and Chevy doesn't care which you prefer.

    It works with me, largely because it proves the gigantic company with a sometimes stodgy image can bring a cool concept car to production very quickly. After the SSR concept starred at the Detroit show in January 2000, GM boss Rick Wagoner gave the go-ahead for production that August. And now, less than 3 years later, SSRs are rolling out of the Lansing factory at a rate of 14,000 to 15,000 per year.

    Impressive. And even at those small volumes, Chevrolet says the SSR will be profitable, perhaps because it's priced at $41,000. Also, 32 percent of its parts are carried over from other Chevrolets, helping keep costs down.

    The hydroformed frame, for instance, is a shortened version of the TrailBlazer EXT's. And the engine is Chevrolet's 5.3-liter V-8, an aluminum-block version that sends 300 bhp at 5200 rpm and 331 lb.-ft. of torque to the rear wheels via a 4-speed automatic transmission and a Torsen differential. The alloy rear wheels are massive 20 x 10s carrying huge P295/40R-20 Goodyears. The fronts are only a bit smaller, 19 x 8s wearing P255/45R-19s.

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    A roadster with cargo room galore.

    As you'd expect, the front and rear suspensions of the SSR are taken from the TrailBlazer, with a double-A-arm arrangement in front and a 5-link live axle in back. The bushings, spring rates and shock valving are all unique to the SSR, which rides lower than the TrailBlazer and benefits from 52/48 weight balance, electronic traction control and large vented brake rotors at each wheel.

    It's not much of a stretch to envision the SSR as a modern interpretation of what the 1947-1953 Chevy pickups might have become. Separating the SSR from those old friendly pickups, however, is its retractable hardtop, whose roof panels move independently and stack vertically in a well just aft of the cab.

    Further differentiating the SSR is its covered bed. It's actually more of a locker than a bed, a lined and watertight storage compartment that's carpeted and fitted with decorative strips on the floor.

    On the road the SSR benefits from firm suspension tuning, accurate but heavy steering and a solidly mounted steering column. The SSR is much too agile to feel like a pickup truck, yet the ride height is much too high to be fooled into thinking you're driving a car. What's more, the V-8 has a pleasant burble that's especially audible when the top is down. Neither wind noise nor buffeting is a problem with the top down.

    My major gripe with the SSR is that it's not that quick. Chevy's 0-60 claim of 7.6 seconds is credible, but the SSR just doesn't peg the acceleration thrill factor. Perhaps it's because of the 3.73:1 final drive, or, more likely, its 4760 lb. curb weight. Evidently, that's the price to pay for having the rigidity needed to make the folding top line up properly each time.

    Where the SSR shines is in top-down cruising and looking cool. It's a weekend car, er, vehicle, with a hot-rod feel augmented by numerous gauges, including a strange one measuring fuel economy in gallons per hour used. More suited for a boat or an airplane, I mused, but then it dawned on me — it might be occupying a spot for an upcoming supercharger boost gauge. Wishful thinking, I admit, but shouldn't the SSR have the performance to back up its racy good looks?

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  2. LEGbEND

    LEGbEND .

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    i'm predicting sales similar to the prowler.
     
  3. El Slotho

    El Slotho Every hour wounds. The last one kills.

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    If it had balls, I would love it.
     
  4. dan

    dan New Member

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  5. poopies4u

    poopies4u Active Member

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    i'd sport it
     
  6. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    :werd:

    Like the Prowler and Thunderbird, it's not meant to be a street demon. It's a cool and stylish boulevard cruiser with some exclusivity, which is fine.

    But I also think it'd be fine if it offered a 400HP engine for big smokey burnouts. :hs:
     
  7. Dumpster_chicken

    Dumpster_chicken OT Supporter

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    Be greatful GM didnt put the S-10 4.3 in there or even worse a 4 cylinder like they planned before. 300HP is all the power you need ouit of somthing that small and I bet it'll move. I personally think the body could use some more work but over all I like it.

    Edit: Oh lord I didnt see how much it weighed. Cut down on the fatty foods, damn.
     
  8. El Slotho

    El Slotho Every hour wounds. The last one kills.

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    Yep. Cool enough in its own right, but man oh man would an SSR-V be appreciated. :big grin:
     
  9. MiseryIndex

    MiseryIndex i never know why. i only know who. Moderator

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    don't blink.
    i know someone with a 53 chevy puckup :)
    turquoise :yum:
     
  10. CyberLeader

    CyberLeader Superior Cybernetic Race

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    Wish I was in Japan (But I'm in OH)
    wow, what an ugly piece of shit.
     
  11. Nemesis_152

    Nemesis_152 I'm a delicate desert flower from Arizona.

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  12. Sonic

    Sonic Live every day to the fullest, for yesterday is go

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    4800 pounds for a 2 seater?:rofl:
     
  13. GunShow

    GunShow You had best unfuck yourself

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    What an overly expensive hunk of automotive shit.
     
  14. GregFarz78

    GregFarz78 New Member

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    It will sell like shit b/c the price is way too high
     
  15. GregFarz78

    GregFarz78 New Member

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    "Chevrolet says the SSR will be profitable, perhaps because it's priced at $41,000"

    I'd love to hear the explaination for this statement :ugh:

    Sure I'd pick this over a bmw any day :nuts:
     
  16. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Carry over parts/engineering, and you're not the market for the car.
     
  17. GregFarz78

    GregFarz78 New Member

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    I still cant see middle aged men buying this car...what market is it aimed at?
     
  18. RX Bandit

    RX Bandit Sell You Beautiful »

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    That looks like the fucking dumbest/gayest piece of shit ever. I'm glad I sold my z28 so I don't need to be associated with that monstrosity.
     
  19. BLoG

    BLoG Scented Meat

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    Heavier than a brand new lightning. :uh:
     
  20. Sonic

    Sonic Live every day to the fullest, for yesterday is go

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    The niche cars always die within 2 years, look at the Beetle, Thunderbird, Prowler, etc...
     
  21. BLoG

    BLoG Scented Meat

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    The prowler went from 97 to 02 :hs:
     
  22. kaldurak

    kaldurak Gimme some sugar baby.

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    :werd: I need a Prowler, a Thunderbird and one of these. Pack them away in storage and then bust them out on 30 years. :wackit:

    that would rule.
     
  23. Dr.Smasher

    Dr.Smasher .

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    It's a hideous pile of crap, and I hope it fails

    I want my RWD Monte Carlos, Regals, and Grand Prixs again
     
  24. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    The Thunderbird ran its product cycle as well. :hs:
     
  25. Sonic

    Sonic Live every day to the fullest, for yesterday is go

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    And sales plummeted after the first 2 years. Oh, and add PT Cruiser to that list.
     

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