Chevrolet SSR Concept Roadster

It's almost a sure bet that the Chevrolet SSR (Super Sport Roadster), which combines the functionality of a pickup truck with the performance of a sports car, will go into production. And for that we say, "way to go GM!" because this is the truck that GM has to build. After years of middle-of-the-road truck design the SSR offers GM a chance to capture new market share with an innovative and bold design.

The distinctive exterior design of the SSR take its cues from Chevrolet's long heritage. The front grill sports a full-width Power Bar and Bow Tie and the rear has a similar combination. The strong fender lines are reminiscent of older Chevrolet trucks from the 1950's.

With a longitudinally mounted 6.0 liter V-8, the SSR is built for speed and handling. Five spoke alloy sport wheels are mounted on 19-inch wheels up front and 20-inch wheels in the back to help the truck stick to the road.

Inside the truck, with some cues from the Corvette, is a twin cockpit theme - a traditional trait of Chevrolet sports cars. The gauges and instrumentation are quite clean and free of unnecessary clutter. Underneath a dash mounted panel door are controls for the climate and stereo including navigation, weather access and a Windows computer with Internet and e-mail access. A front bench seat with foldable armrest / storage bin / cupholder allows for additional space when a third person or child seat is not present.

To create the extra space on the bench seat, designers moved the automatic shifter from the floor to the steering wheel.

The coolest feature on the SSR is its power-operated retractable hardtop. The two-piece top stows vertically between the seat and the rear storage bed.

The bed area has a lockable storage system to protect cargo and you can remotely lower the tailgate using a key fob or manually open it with a latch on the inside of the gate.

"On one hand, it's a roadster, but people who live with roadsters face hard challenges as far as having places to put things and carry any sort of cargo - not with the SSR," said Ed Welburn, Director of GM's Corporate Brand Character Center. "On the other hand, it can carry things for you, but it's not just about hauling things to an event. Driving it is an event in itself. It's all about cruising, whether it's on Woodward in Detroit, South Boulevard in Miami Beach or the autobahn in Germany."

The SSR was designed entirely on computer. No clay models were ever built. It went from first sketch to full-size model in a seven week period.