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Chevrolet SSR

Broadcast dates : 28th November 2004
2nd December 2004

The SSR, the weird and wonderful monster retro blob that canít decide if itís a pick-up-truck or a convertible, is straight out of a 1940ís comic book with twenty-first century computer- whiz interpretation.

The Chevy SSR is about as subtle as a baseball bat.

It draws its inspiration from the late 1940s pick-ups that were popular amongst farmers in South Africa. The horizontal grille slats and the bulging fenders are from another time and place.

The overall look is pure California street rod, and as for practicality, well, you could lower some designer luggage, or even a coffin into that rear covered load bin, but as for bricks and bags of cement, fahgeddaboudit!

Of course the SSRís party trick is that it is a cabriolet pick-up. Chev says itís folding hood transforms the pick-up into a roadster in less than 30 seconds, but it seems to take a whole lot less, possibly because the synchronized sections operate so slickly.

American car makers have been experimenting with folding steel roofs since the 1950s, and when it comes to economical engineering, no-one does it better than the Americans.

The SSR is made for cruising.

Itís a vehicle for show-offs, because people simply stop in their tracks and gape as you drive past.

It also has a raucous exhaust note from its 5,3-litre V8 motor, which pumps out a useful 223 kW at 5 200 rpm and 448 Newton metres at 4 000.

The chrome-plated wheels are standard, and interestingly they are 19-inchers for the front and 20-inchers for the rear.

A four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive is standard, ideal for drive-by posturing and there are all sorts of goodies like cruise control, power everything, and electrical elevation of that solid load-bay tonneau cover.

The varnished wood embellishers on the floor of the load area are in fact attached by Velcro, so they can be removed if heavy objects are loaded in the back.

Itís hard to figure out what sort of person would buy an SSR. It isnít practical and it isnít a serious sports car.

And yet, the answer to that may beÖÖSomeone with a sense of humour.

Because riding up high in an open-roofed pick-up is lots of fun.

The SSR is not available here, and nor is it likely to be.

With the governmentís decision some time ago to outlaw the importation of left-hand-drive cars, it wonít be coming, as General Motorís Chevy division doesnít build them in right-hand-drive form.

An interesting snippet is that in America, the SSR sells for the equivalent of about R250 000. At this sort of price, it would sell like hot-cakes in South Africa.

Chevrolet SSR
  • Engine: V8, 5 300 cc
  • Power: 223 kW @ 5 200 rpm
  • Torque: 448 Nm @ 4 000 rpm
  • Transmission: Four-speed automatic with overdrive, rear-wheel-drive
  • 0-100 km/h: N/A
  • Top speed: N/A
  • Fuel consumption: N/A
  • Price: N/A in South Africa

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