When you shop the right Chevy dealer, you can find much more than just the latest Chevy models. You can also find previously owned models, which can include rare special editions or even older Chevys that represent a piece of automotive history. Is a classic Corvette on your wish list? You might be able to find it at your local Chevy dealer. Miami residents know to shop at Miami Lakes Chevrolet for the best selection in the area.
While many of Chevrolet’s classic models have a decades-long history, some of its notable vehicles had a run of only a few years. One of our favorites that didn’t actually become a widespread favorite is the Chevrolet SSR.
Debut of the SSR
The SSR actually began life in 1999, when the concept art began being put together by Wayne Cherry, who at the time was the vice president of the GM Design Centers. Cherry wanted to create a Halo vehicle that would both pay homage to the company’s past and signal what was to come for its future. He looked at Chevrolet’s truck history for inspiration.
The resulting design was a hybrid between a car and a truck. The cab seated two people and had all the stylings of a sedan, but there was a narrow truck bed in the back that could carry small loads. However, the SSR did not have any of the power needed for hauling heavy cargo. The front had a hard-top convertible roof, creating a unique combination that did not look like anything else on the road. Though the bubbly, rounded design looked reminiscent of something from the 50s, it did not quite replicate retro design, nor did it look totally modern.
A production version of the SSR was built in 2001, and it made its first appearance on a casual drive the night before the Woodward Dream Cruise in Michigan. Rick Wagoner, the president and CEO of GM at the time, drove the car amongst other attendees out for an evening cruise.
The SSR was not produced for sale until 2003, and it had a short run. By 2006, the line was discontinued, and the only place you could find an SSR was at a used car dealership or on the secondary market.
The Chevrolet SSR was a true fusion vehicle. It was a car and a truck. It was a sports car and a utility vehicle. It was both vintage and modern.
The convertible cab had two seats with a high position, making you feel like you were riding in a truck. Yet the interior was more plush and comfortable than what you would find in most trucks. The interior had leather upholstery, power-operated controls, cruise control, keyless entry and other nice perks. If you wanted to, you could customize the look of the interior with things like chrome trim or color-keyed bed strips. You could upgrade the interior with options like heated seats, a more advanced audio system and auto-dimming mirrors.
Outside, the SSR’s design included a low hood, fat fenders and a large wheel base. The rounded edges and exaggerated features made the SSR look a bit cartoonish. Some people thought it looked ridiculous, while others thought it looked stylish and daring. Whatever your opinion of it was, one thing was certain: It was unique.
The two-piece convertible hardtop was stowed vertically between the seats and the truck bed. A tonneau cover made it possible to close the truck bed to create a more finished look to the exterior, or it could be rolled back for towing cargo.
Under the Hood
The Chevrolet SSR had a 5.3-liter Vortec 5300 V8 engine that put out 300 horsepower. However, the engine struggled under the weight of the SSR’s 4,700 pounds. Those first models could go from 0 to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds, and they didn’t have much towing capacity.
In 2005, a 6.0-liter LS2 V8 engine was introduced that increased the horsepower to 390. A six-speed manual transmission also became available that year. The engine was the same one used by the C6 Corvette and the Pontiac GTO.
In 2006, only a few minor modifications were made to the engine, increasing the output to 395 horsepower with a four-speed automatic transmission or 400 horsepower with the manual transmission. GM also added badges to the 2006 model, distinguishing it from the rest of the production run in the first and only generation.
Unfortunately, even though the Chevrolet SSR pushed the boundaries and was a unique vehicle, the reception to it was pretty underwhelming. Only 24,150 Chevrolet SSRs were produced over the line’s four-year history. Only 24,112 of those were available for sale.
Chevrolet really rolled out the red carpet when introducing the SSR, but it made little impact on sales. The bowtie brand hired action movie director Michael Bay to create the debut advertisement for the SSR. The ad was 60 seconds, and it premiered on New Year’s Eve 2003. The ad featured six vehicles boarding a carrier as it traveled across the United States. The song “Magic Carpet Ride” by Steppenwolf played in the background.
Chevrolet also snagged a spot for the SSR as a pace car in the 2003 Indianapolis 500.
Despite the fanfare, overall sales were low. GM eventually had to close the Lansing Craft Centre in Lansing, Michigan that produced the SSR. It announced the closer in November 2005, and it closed up shop in mid-2006.
Even though sales may have been low for the SSR, it continues to hold a place in the hearts of Chevy fans around the world. In fact, it even has a cult-like following on the website SSRFanatic.com. The SSR seems to have a love-it-or-hate-it look, and many people emphatically loved it. Those are the people who are keeping the memory of the SSR alive, and they are the people who are keeping resale values up on the secondary market.
When the SSR sold originally, it was priced at just over $40,000. That was a bit more than some wanted to pay for what was essentially a novelty vehicle — especially when they weren’t in the “love it” camp when it came to the look. However, prices are significantly reduced now that the only available SSR models are previously owned.
Since not many of the Chevrolet SSR were produced, you’ll have to be vigilant in your search if you want to find one of these rare gems. Visiting the right Chevy dealer is key to your success.
For the best Chevy dealer, Miami residents know to visit Miami Lakes Chevrolet. We have the widest selection in the area and some of the best prices. If the timing is right, you may be able to find a gorgeous Chevrolet SSR on our lot, or you may find one of the many other exceptional vehicles that Chevrolet has produced over the years.
We don’t just aim to sell you a new vehicle at Miami Lakes Chevrolet. We also provide the care and service your vehicle needs to stay in top condition for many years to come. When you own a rare vehicle like a Chevy SSR, you need to give it the right care to keep it on the road for as long as possible. You won’t be able to easily replace it, so you have to do what you can to protect it.
Visit Miami Lakes Chevrolet today to learn more and to shop for a Chevrolet SSR or other Chevy models.