The 2003 and 2004 model years used General Motors' 5.3 L 300 hpVortec 5300V8. Performance was 7.7 seconds for 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h) with a 15.9 s/86.4 mph quarter mile run. The 2005 SSR used the 390 hp (291 kW) LS2V8 also found in the C6 Corvette, Trailblazer SS, and Pontiac GTO, and also offered a manual transmission option, the six-speed Tremec, for the first time.
For the 2006 model year, the LS2 engine featured minor modifications that boosted its output to 395 hp (automatic transmission) and 400 hp (manual), respectively. Performance improved dramatically with the LS2, the 6-speed manual version had an advertised 0-60 mph time of 5.29 seconds. In addition, GM badges were added to the vehicle.
The SSR's "retro" styled design was inspired by Chevrolet's late-1940s Advance Design trucks, in particular the 1947–1955 pickups. The vehicle rode on a GM368 platform specific to it, a version of the period's highly adaptable GMT360, and featured a steel body retractable hardtop designed by Karmann and built by ASC. The body of the truck, namely the front fenders, were made with deep draw stampings, a forming technique that had not been used in automotive stampings in decades, and required a "relearning" of the forming technique. The production model was based on the SuperSport Roadsterconcept car shown at the 2000 Detroit Auto Show. An early-production SSR was the pace car for the 2003 Indianapolis 500auto race.
The SSR was introduced as a 2004 model on New Year's Eve 2003. In spite of marketing efforts which included the SSR being used as the pace car for the 2003 Indianapolis 500, it sold below expectations with under 9,000 sales at US$42,000 each. Citing a 301-day supply of SSRs, General Motors in December of that year announced five weeks of layoffs at Lansing Craft Center, the factory that made the SSR. On November 21, 2005, GM announced that it would close the Craft Center in mid-2006, spelling the end for the SSR. The final SSR, a unique black-on-silver model (Highest VIN 1GCES14H06B126138), was built on March 17, 2006. Analysts estimate that 24,150 SSRs were produced in total. Of the total production, 24,112 were available for sale to the public.
^Amanda Silva (May 15, 2015). "The Chevy SSR: A Curious Conversation". Auto Influence. Retrieved July 6, 2018. But the coolest SSR on-screen moment came in the form of a 2003 Chevy roundup of sorts, a commercial showcasing the year’s ten new Chevrolets, directed by Michael Bay of big-budget action film acclaim, like Transformers. How appropriate. Airing on New Year’s Eve, this sixty-second spot introduced the SSR to the world. A new car…uh…truck…or convertible…for the new year.
Vehicle exclusive to Canada Vehicle exclusive to Mexico; City Express was also sold in United States and Canada 2014-2018 Vehicle exclusive to Brazil Vehicle exclusive to Chile Vehicle was not sold in the Americas