Misfit GM Pickup Finds a Niche

2004-Chevrolet-SSR_Roadster-Truck-Image-02-1024 II

How can a respectable Hyundai dealer in Spring, Texas (just north of Houston), separate himself from other car dealerships? Easy, by becoming an expert and clearinghouse for a freakishly unusual "exotic" pickup truck — in this case the Chevrolet SSR convertible regular-cab midsize sport truck that hasn't been sold new in almost 10 years. We liked the little super sport when it came out, but we understood it was not without several troublesome issues.

According to Automotive News, Paul Peebles, owner and president of North Freeway Hyundai, has found that the SSR brings quite a bit of attention and used-vehicle trade-ins to his business when passionate truck shoppers make the pilgrimage to his showroom. As a result, his dealership has become the No. 1 source for all things related to the unique retro-rod midsize pickup.

The Chevy SSR was the "retro-futuristic" brainchild of stalwart GM designer Ed Welburn (who still owns one). The concept vehicle debuted in 2000 and was sold between 2003 and 2006. Unfortunately, the timing for the unusual two-door could not have been worse; it has since become a relatively popular novelty for exotic car collectors and muscle pickup enthusiasts.

Fewer than 25,000 SSRs were built during its three-year run and values hover right around $25,000 depending on what engine is under the hood (some SSRs were equipped with the 6.0-liter V-8 LS2 Corvette engine and a six-speed manual) and whether it is one of the special Indianapolis 500 Pace Car models or one of the 25 Signature Series vehicles. The SSR had a modified Chevy TrailBlazer SUV platform, and a heavy and mechanically complicated drop-roof setup that meant it offered a huge covered trunk (or bed), and provided very little payload or towing capacity.

Peebles will continue to purchase and sell SSRs as long as they're still around.

Manufacturer images





Why would they make this ugly thing? Why not invest the time into the camaro that went on hiatus for this segment of time????

North Freeway is a respectable group - but, in all honesty, the SSRfanatic website (www.ssrfanatic.com) is the place to go for information on this wonderful truck! So many VERY helpful members, some that have developed aftermarket items to help keep these Roadsters on the road - and running cool! (Thanks Mike!!!)

I guess you have to have an SSR to truely appreciate it's value. The ultimate vehicle for me to make runs to the central California coast - Big Sur baby!!!

My 2003 (#1740) has been flawless! So many people (see above commect) just don't get it - the term we use at SSRfanatic - is permasmile!!! Can't help but have fun driving my SSR!

You mean they're finally affordable? If they hadn't been so grossly overpriced, they would have sold a lot more of them. They should have been priced just above the equivalent Camaro if Chevy wanted them to be popular, instead of pricing them at near-Corvette prices.

First time I saw a SSR was at Toronto auto show. It was sitting beside a corvette, they were the same price. In 2012 I bought 2003 red SSR with 18000 klm.( 11000 miles) for $24000. They were overpriced when new. Of all the vehicles I have owned this one draws the most attention. A lot of people have never seen one and do not know what it is. All I have done to it since I bought it is change the oil and wash it.

No one who criticizes the SSR has any real knowledge about them. I've had 6 Vettes and my 2004 SSR is far better than any of the corvettes ever was or could be. It's not without its peculiarities, but that is exactly what makes it distinctive. It's fun and fast and more practical and versatile than every other two seater out there. Why drive average when you can drive a car that makes you feel good even when you're not driving it?

Why drive average when you can drive a car that makes you feel good!
I can understand that!
I drive a pickup only because I need it as part of my job, but I never enjoy driving it, I would be ratter be driving a fast car that matches my good looks.
Pickups are for slobs, fat, ugly, bald men that don't brush their teeth.
I am extremely good looking, well dressed, professional looking sometimes I am embarrassed to be seen driving a pickup truck.

The vehicle requires some kind of load/Sports bar behind the seats.

Other than that is looks nice. I still see a few around, especially the van versions.

This is one vehicle that a diesel doesn't really suit........maybe.

All of the GM truck-haters should be wetting themselves over this truck--it has round wheel arches.

Is it body on frame? If not (and I don't think it is) then it isn't a "truck". It fits right in the with the Prowler/PT Cruiser/HHR fad crowd.

Clint: It IS body on frame, with a 5.3l in the first two years, then a 6.0l V-8, and rear wheel drive, with a retractable hard top! mostly built on a Trailblazers frame.

It was a huge failure, performance wise and looks.

The vehicle requires some kind of load/Sports bar behind the seats.
Other than that is looks nice. I still see a few around, especially the van versions.
This is one vehicle that a diesel doesn't really suit........maybe.
Posted by: Big Al from Oz |
There was no van versions,you must be mistaking this with something else,,
SSR was way too expensive,I remember a dealer in Edmonton asking 89.000$ !!!
You could get a shorty pickup with same motor for about 20 at that time and still have bigger load space..

I seen one of those a couple years ago and thought it was something currently being sold as I had never seen one before. I thought it was pretty neat and would have gave it a home if it were for sale,,, It wasn't.

I stand corrected as it is technically a truck (body on frame and yes it was given real engines). But it was also a flash in the pan fad with a very small niche following. If GM lost money on it then it was also a failure (not that that matters as GM can just get bailed out as needed). I don't know about that as they had to have had low sales expectations and low production, and the parts sharing with existing vehicles was high.

No company is courageous enough to make a really retro-looking pickup. This vehicle is more El Camino (and I own a '70, as well as a '68 C-10) than Cameo Pickup.

It just did not rock my world, though it is a seriously fast machine. Nor did the PT Cruiser. Nor did the new Bug. Of the reborn "Muscle" cars, only the Challenger seems to get the formula close enough.

Come on, truck makers. Give those of us who like vintage trucks with step-side beds and real fenders, not just Porsche-911 bulges for the fat tires.

The comments to this entry are closed.