Chevrolet’s 2003 SSR (Super Sport Roadster) was an ambitious venture, aiming to produce a factory-built hot rod with a retro design and superior driving dynamics. However, the outcome fell short of expectations, marking the SSR as a significant failure for Chevrolet, leading to its discontinuation after just three years.
The SSR attempted to be a blend of a 1950s Chevy pickup truck, combining elements of a truck, a muscle car, and an open-air convertible. Unfortunately, it didn’t successfully represent any of these genres. Utilizing a Chevy Trailblazer SUV chassis instead of one designed for a car or pickup truck, the SSR lacked real hauling capacity and failed to deliver a sporty experience.
The folding hardtop of the SSR was susceptible to wind noise, and the hard tonneau cover over the bed often leaked. The cabin was cramped, providing little space for anything besides the two passengers and lacking even a single cup holder. Under the hood, the SSR housed the same 300-hp 5.3-liter V-8 as the Trailblazer.
Despite the attempt to improve performance in 2005 by fitting a 390-hp version of the Corvette’s LS2 6.0-liter V-8, the SSR’s nearly 4800 pounds curb weight hindered its speed. The upgraded powerhouse added an element of fun to the quirky truck, but even with the extra horsepower, the SSR struggled to attract enough buyers, especially given its hefty price tag of nearly $50,000.