CHEVROLET SSR WAS A PICKUP/HOT ROD MASHUP
The Chevy SSR stole the spotlight when it debuted as a concept vehicle at the Detroit Auto Show in 2000.
Occasionally, when freed from the constraints that come with designing modern family sedans or SUVs, mainstream carmakers can surprise us with startling vehicles. Sometimes, such efforts score a hit that becomes an icon, like the Dodge Viper. Even when niche models fail to turn auto-show excitement into showroom successes, though, we still admire them for keeping the enthusiast flame burning.
The 2004-06 Chevrolet SSR is a perfect example of the latter.
Carmakers went on a California car culture-inspired nostalgia bender starting in the late 1990s that produced the 1997 Plymouth Prowler, ‘98 Audi TT, 2001 two-seat Ford Thunderbird and the SSR. The Chrysler PT Cruiser and Chevrolet HHR brought the trend to volume-production models.
The Prowler and SSR stand apart for attempting to bring the hot rod aesthetic to low-volume production. The results, however, came with compromises that fated both vehicles to cult status.