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OPTICAL AND HEARING
23rd August, 2005
When it comes to America's Chevy SSR, the shy need not apply. This heritage-styled roadster utility turns heads, garners thumbs-up and elicits smiles wherever it goes. After significant changes in 2005, including the introduction of the LS2 V-8 engine and available six-speed manual transmission, the SSR returns for ’06 with more power. A new intake manifold and revised calibrations help raise horsepower to 400 (298 kw) at 6000 rpm for models equipped with the available six-speed manual.
SSR models equipped with the standard four-speed automatic deliver 395 horsepower (294 kw) at 5700 rpm. Torque is rated at 400 lb.-ft. (542 Nm) at 4000 rpm for both manual- and automatic-transmission SSR models.
The '06 SSR also introduces new exterior colour offerings, a custom-look two-tone paint scheme consisting of Smokin’ Asphalt and Ricochet Silver. The paint scheme splits horizontally across the vehicle, starting at the bonnet cut line and extending around the body feature line that wraps around the cargo area. The transition between the two colours – the scheme is available with Smokin’ Asphalt over Ricochet Silver Metallic or vice versa – is feathered so smoothly that it appears as the same surface. Both colours have a clear coat applied that gives the two-tone finish a custom “one-off” appearance.
Colour-keyed interior components in all SSR models with the two-tone paint scheme will match the vehicle’s upper colour. The two-tone exterior paint appearance reinforces the customised look of the vehicle, similar to the style of contemporary street rods. Additionally, Pacific Blue Metallic has been added to the SSR’s palette, bringing the number of available exterior colours to six.
While the SSR's glorious exterior shape may recall the 'full-fendered' forms of the late ’40s and early ’50s, this innovative roadster is anything but retro when it comes to incorporating leading-edge technology and creative design solutions. One of its most distinguishing features is the clever power-retractable hardtop, which provides an open-air driving experience without sacrificing cargo space. Incorporating a “top stack” design, SSR’s retractable hardtop is the first ever applied on a utility truck. It is the only system of its kind where the roof panels move independently, stacking vertically behind the passenger compartment – a design that ensures quick operation with minimal stowage requirements.
A single button on the console transforms SSR from an enclosed hardtop to a convertible in less than 30 seconds, neatly tucking the roof panels rearward between the passenger compartment and cargo area. This unique vertical storage design system enables SSR to maintain its 22.5 cubic feet of cargo room (637 L) – even with the top down.
Also new for '06 are several dealer-installed SSR accessories that have been designed and engineered by GM.
These include: satin chrome and bright chrome sill plate covers; satin chrome pedal covers; vehicle care kit; reversible cargo area mat and a customised vehicle cover. Returning accessories include an engine cover insert, cargo area strips (available in all vehicle colours, as well as satin chrome) and a cockpit windbreak. Auxiliary gauges and running boards are available for vehicles not originally equipped with them from the factory.
Other accessories and accessory packages include: an auxiliary gauge package (volts, delivered torque, exterior temperature), a body colour package, which adds the exterior colour to SSR’s auxiliary gauge package, engine cover insert and cargo area strips; a body colour package with running boards; and a windbreak.
SSR’s flared front muguards and quarter panels are formed using a blend of modern technology and some traditional methods used to produce the original 1947-1953 Advanced Design Chevy lineup of 'pickup' trucks, which formed the inspiration for this unique modern-day muscle truck. The stamping process, for example, uses a unique method called “inverted toggle draw,” which combines the original toggle draw process and the more recent stretch draw concept. The use of new Grade 5 deep-draw quality steel enables these shapes to be formed without splitting.
Underneath its sleek exterior, SSR incorporates a body-on-frame construction, which is an upper steel unibody mounted on a boxed frame. Fully hydroformed steel side rails provide the frame with strength and stiffness, relatively low weight and precision fits. Eight cross members – as opposed to only four or six in similar frame designs – boost structural strength while contributing to a smooth ride, more precise handling and reduced noise and vibration levels.
The upper unibody helps support SSR’s retractable roof system, while minimising the loss of structural integrity typically associated with convertibles by augmenting the stiffness of the entire vehicle with special cross members.
SSR’s stiff frame and specifically tuned suspension provide a boulevard-cruiser ride, yet are responsive enough to handle the added horsepower of the LS2 V-8 while also delivering the durability levels expected in a truck.
The front suspension uses upper and lower control arms for superior kinematics, damping and stability, and works with SSR’s rack-and-pinion steering to provide precise control. SSR’s rear five-link live axle suspension, which uses monotube shock absorbers with mountings outboard of the frame, also provides improved body and wheel control. Steel coil springs and a micro cellular urethane auxiliary spring enhance ride comfort and stability during fully loaded conditions.
SSR models equipped with the automatic transmission have standard electronic traction control, an 8.6-inch (21.8 cm) rear axle, a Torsen differential and massive P295/40R20 rear tyres that ensure power is delivered to the ground with exceptional traction and control. The Torsen differential, proven on performance cars, works seamlessly with the traction assist to maximise performance during strong acceleration or over varying road surfaces . The SSR with a manual transmission forgoes the traction control feature and utilises a 9.5-inch (24.1 cm) rear axle with an Eaton heavy-duty limited-slip differential.
Four-wheel vented disc brakes with ABS and dynamic rear proportioning provide SSR with outstanding stopping performance, and world-class levels of brake feel, wear resistance and low noise. The use of non-asbestos organic compound lining extends brake life to 40,000 miles, depending on vehicle use and payload.
Flexing potent new muscle to match its stunning looks, SSR is powered by the newest version of Chevy’s legendary small-block V-8. Ratings are 400 horsepower (298 kw) for six-speed-equipped vehicles and 395 horsepower (294 kw) for automatic models. Torque is a strong 400 lb.-ft. (542 Nm) and is harnessed by the standard Hydra-Matic 4L65-E four-speed automatic transmission. A Tremec M10 six-speed manual gearbox is available.
Under the retractable hardtop, SSR's interior design is based on Chevrolet's twin cockpit approach, with a horizontal cross-car bar and body-colour accents that pull exterior design cues inside. The satin chrome aluminium look used on elements of SSR’s exterior continues on the interior door trim and instrument panel bezels. The cleanly styled instrument panel contains gauges with bold graphics and a simple three-dial design for all climate controls.
The interior is packed with luxury as standard equipment, including leather seating surfaces, six-way power-adjustable driver seat, two-way power-adjustable passenger seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel with radio controls, air conditioning, cruise control, driver information centre, and a AM/FM stereo with CD player and MP3 capability. Also available are heated seats with driver-side memory, a six-disc CD stereo, 250-watt Bose sound system, self-dimming inside rearview mirror (with halo lighting and universal remote) and a self-dimming outside driver’s mirror.
SSR options including chrome wheels, running board and auxiliary gauge package (includes readouts for voltage, delivered engine torque and outside air temperature). The running boards and gauge housings are available in satin chrome or colour-keyed finishes. Another popular option is the cargo compartment trim, which adds a customised feel to the cargo area with a carpeted layer over the entire area, underside of the cargo area and tailgate. The trim package also includes two simulated oak track covers and seven bed strips.
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