Billed as the American Street Machine, Chevrolets eagerly awaited SSR (Super Sports Roadster) is part open-air roadster and part compact hot-rod pickup truck. Equipped with a retractable top stack hardtop, the limited-production rear-wheel-drive pickup will have a starting price of about $42,000. It will be equipped with a 5.3-liter V-8 engine and an automatic transmission.
Chevrolet promises a boulevard-cruiser ride and refined roadster handling. The SSR was unveiled for the first time, in concept form, at Detroits North American International Auto Show in January 2000.
The first 25 examples constitute a Signature Series. Each will be initially owned by Chevrolet and used in high-profile activities nationwide, and then theyll be auctioned off for sale at dealerships. Signature Series models get ultraviolet paint, a special interior and unique badging. Fifty individuals who were instrumental in the SSRs development will sign each vehicle.
Regular-production SSRs are expected to reach a few dealerships in the summer of 2003, as late 2003 models. Chevrolet expects to produce approximately 14,000 to 15,000 SSRs annually.
The SSRs styling was inspired by the Advance Design family of trucks that were produced from 1947 to 1953. The new version includes a sculpted hood and large flared fenders. The power retractable hardtop operates in 30 seconds, stacking roof panels vertically behind the passenger compartment. Because those panels are tucked rearward in a waterfall fashion, cargo-bed capacity is the same with the roof up or down.
Measuring about 191.6 inches long overall, the SSR rides a 116-inch wheelbase and uses body-on-frame construction. The cargo bed is approximately 4.2 feet long and 3.5 feet wide (at the wheelhouse). Mounting the battery at the rear is said to improve weight distribution and preserve the SSRs front styling. Chevrolet promises a tight turning circle, estimated at 38 feet.
The SSR features full-length hydroformed steel rails with eight cross-members on a modified version of the platform used for Chevrolets TrailBlazer sport utility vehicle. The SSR has a lower stance and wider track, which is intended to increase stability and flatten cornering. Aluminum wheels that are supplied by Speedline hold 19-inch front and 20-inch rear tires. Goodyear Eagle RS-A all-season performance tires will be standard. The fuel tank holds 25 gallons.
Two people will fit into the SSR roadster/pickup. Cockpit details have not yet been released.
Under the Hood
Final powertrain details have not yet been released. The SSRs 5.3-liter aluminum V-8 engine will produce approximately 290 horsepower at 5,200 rpm and 325 pounds-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. GMs 4L60-E four-speed-automatic transmission will be installed on all models. A Torsen traction differential distributes engine power to the wheel with the most traction; the automaker claims it will react before any wheel slippage can occur.
Four-wheel all-disc antilock brakes are standard.
Posted on 5/7/03
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