Chevrolet's SSR makes the leap from concept to production.

From Concept to Reality: More Details Revealed About the Production Version of the Chevrolet SSR
By: Michael LevinePosted: 01-07-02 12:00

General Motors is quickly building a reputation once seemingly owned exclusively by Chrysler. GM is presenting exciting concept vehicles at the auto shows and quickly greenlighting the most popular for production.

The Chevrolet SSR roadster pickup is one of those vehicles.

First presented in Detroit at the 2000 North American International Auto Show, the retro-styled SSR brings a piece of GM's rich truck heritage into the new century. The final iteration of the SSR, shown at this year's show, finally reveals what's bound for your driveway.

On the outside, the violet hued paint job shown on the concept SSR will be offered as an option on production trucks, along with yellow, red or black exteriors. Steel body panels make up most of the skin including the massive fenders surrounding the wheel wells. The 'power bar' across the tailgate has been removed from the final truck to present a cleaner look in the rear. Brushed aluminum exterior accents remain and, though not as wide as its inspiration, the SSR still wears brightly polished 19" wheels up front and 20" wheels in back - the largest production wheels and tires in GM's lineup.

The SSR's interior has undergone the most change but still remains quite faithful to the spirit of the orininal concept.

In a first for the SSR, the roadster wears the brand new Chevrolet Bow Tie logo that will eventually make its way to all Chevy cars and trucks.

Inside the SSR is where the most changes have occurred during the move to production.

The push button shifters, once located on the steering wheel, have been removed and transferred to a floor selector located on the console between the driver and passenger. The console is a new feature that also transforms the cabin into a twin cockpit, replacing the very retro bench seat shown in the concept. Exterior color is carried into the interior in a nice touch of continuity and fine detail. A massive LCD screen, protected by a hand operated cover, contains the radio controls. Three big, friendly knobs control the HVAC system.

PUTC spoke with Chevrolet spokesperson David Caldwell and Tom Wallace, the Vehicle Line Executive for GM's mid-size trucks who oversees the SSR production team for more details about the truck.

Exterior color splashes and brushed aluminum accents add fine details to the production SSR's interior.

Caldwell and Wallace confirm that the SSR will be powered by the Vortec 5300 5.3-liter V8 but, in another SSR first, the engine will be all aluminum - shaving around 100 lbs. off the cast iron version. The engine is also expected to receive a minor bump in horsepower above the regular 5.3-liter's 285hp.

Production is expected to begin in limited numbers by the third quarter of 2002 with the first SSR reaching showroom floors by February 2003. Caldwell and Wallace were unsure if the SSR would be badged as a 2003 or 2004 model.

Though final pricing has not yet been announced, it will be in the $35K-$45K range.

The all aluminum 5.3-liter V8 produces more than 285-hp.