2003 Chevrolet SSR Pickup - SOLD
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  • Overview & History
  • Specifications
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Today this truck shows just 6936 original miles and remains in virtually new condition and completely original, right down to the original Goodyear tires.

It was probably the Dodge Viper that started it, but for about ten years, there were awesome retro-styled cars coming out of normally conservative auto makers that blew everyone away. Plymouth Prowler, Ford GT, and yes, the Chevrolet SSR. From our perspective today where nobody can take chances, seeing something as wild and wonderful as this 2003 Chevy SSR pickup is refreshing to say the least. Just imagine a product planner walking into his boss’s office today and saying, “Well, what we want to do is build a pickup truck that looks like one of the old Advance Design trucks, but add a retractable hardtop, a big V8, and bucket seats from a Corvette. Oh, and we’re going to make the bed out of plastic.” He’d be laughed out of the office before he got to the bucket seats part! THAT is why the SSR is special. We’ll never see anything like it again, and it represents GM at its best: fun, well-engineered, and surprisingly practical.

This Torch Red SSR is one of the first off the line, an early production model in the very first year of production, which was limited to just 1500 units—after all, they didn’t know whether it was going to sell or not. As a result of that, it was snapped up by a collector who understood that rarity and unusual design, not to mention a V8 engine, usually add up to future collectable. Today this truck shows just 6936 original miles and remains in virtually new condition and completely original, right down to the original Goodyear tires. If you squint, you can certainly see design cues from the Advance Design pickups introduced in 1948, but the SSR has its own personality—it’s not merely a retro car. It’s sleeker, lower, and longer, of course, and while the bulging fenders are very much a nod to the past, the pointed nose, smooth flanks, and beautifully designed bed are all quite modern. The SSR was an experiment for GM to develop the tooling to do deep-draw composite panels like the front and rear fenders, and their smooth, ripple-free flanks show off the results of that effort. The paint is 100% original and in excellent condition, the doors open and close with a precision that they couldn’t have imagined in 1948, and the grille definitely has an old-school look. If you want attention, there still aren’t many better ways to get it than with an SSR.

The black leather interior is more Camaro than pickup truck, and they skipped the retro stuff here and went right for state-of-the-art. Supportive bucket seats grab you and hold you in place, because this is a pickup that loves to hustle around corners. The fat leather-wrapped wheel has four beefy spokes that have controls for the entertainment system and information center, and the big, aluminum shifter knob feels indestructible in your hand. SSRs came only one way: loaded, so this one has all the goodies, ranging from ice cold A/C to power windows, locks, mirrors, and seats, to a killer AM/FM/CD stereo system that fills the 2-seat cabin with sound, top up or top down. And speaking of the top, it’s really a rather remarkable piece of engineering. Simply press the button and it unlatches itself from the header and slides back into a slot between the cab and the bed, disappearing under a flush-fitting tonneau. It takes about 20 seconds, and suddenly you’re in the coolest tanning booth ever made. The bed is still a pickup bed, big enough to handle big stuff, but with a hinge-mounted weatherproof hard shell on top and full carpets and teak rub rails, it’s really too beautiful to haul drywall. Instead, think of it as the world’s biggest trunk.

All early SSRs are equipped with the same 5.3 liter V8, which is plenty adequate for the 2-seat pickup. With 300 horsepower on tap, it feels punchy around town but with a deep overdrive gear, it just loafs along at highway speeds. As a member of the LS family, there are surely plenty of performance modifications available, but this one remains 100% stock, right down to the factory tags, markings, and fasteners. It’s very nicely preserved, looking almost showroom fresh under the hood and wearing a plastic intake shroud that’s unique to the SSR. It cleans things up under the hood. Reliable GM engineering means that it should run virtually forever, and while this truck has very low miles, it doesn’t have 0, so it has been properly exercised to keep everything in top condition and all the fluids have been changed according to time, not mileage. Turn the key and it fires instantly and idles smoothly without fussing, and you can drop it into gear and go without a moment’s hesitation. It’s a show vehicle that actually works like a real car! Forget building a hot rod, this SSR does all the same things with engineering that you could never duplicate in your garage.

Underneath, it’s based on the TrailBlazer platform, so it’s heavy-duty and feels indestructible. Handling is still crisp and you’ll be surprised by how eager this truck is to change direction, even with a rigid truck axle out back. The transmission is a quick-thinking 4-speed automatic overdrive unit and there are 3.73 gears out back that really give it quick reflexes on the street. The exhaust system has a great rumble that’s definitely muscle car aggressive and as you can see in the photos, the underside is pretty much as new. Not only has this SSR never seen rain or snow, it’s never even been wet! The surface scale you see on heavy metal parts like the rear axle is totally normal and is called “pickling,” which is a process used by the manufacturer to “pre-rust” the parts in a controlled way to prevent future corrosion—that’s probably how it looked as it rolled down the assembly line. You’ll also find a giant disc brake at each corner, which give this pickup incredible stopping power, especially when paired with the giant 255/45/19 front and 295/40/20 rear Goodyear RS-A run-flat radials. Chrome wheels were the only option on the 2003 SSR, and this truck has them—it’s the right choice.

We’ll probably never see any domestic automaker build anything like this SSR ever again. It’s also the ideal hobby vehicle, especially if you simply want something you and the wife can get in, go, and have fun. A/C, good fuel economy, safety equipment, and modern road manners all mean it’s as easy to use as your daily driver, but the outrageous look and retractable top mean that it will be welcome at shows for decades to come. Frankly, owning a cool car (or truck) doesn’t get much better than this. A painless, fun way to get into the hobby. Call today!

Vehicle: 2003 Chevrolet SSR Pickup
Price: SOLD
Stock Number: 113104
Mileage: 6936
VIN: 1GCES14P33B101510
Engine: 5.3 liter V8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Gear Ratio: 3.73
Wheelbase: 116 inches
Wheels: Front: 19x8, Rear 20x10 chrome plated aluminum
Tires: Front: 255/45/19, Rear: 295/40/20 Goodyear RS-A
Exterior Color: Torch Red
Interior Color: Black leather
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