It's the turn
of the 21st century
, and Chrysler's PT Cruiser
is selling like hotcakes
in the United States
-- its vintage
style along with modern conveniences have made it one of the most desirable American cars
ever. So, what else can other automaker
s do besides jump on the bandwagon
? The newly produced SSR
, first shown at the 2000 North America
n International Motor Show
, is GM
's foray into the old-school
, imitating a 40's
... sort of.
The SSR is actually some kind of strange hybrid of car and truck (ute, anyone?) which uses a retractable hardtop similar to various Mercedes-Benz cabriolets like the CLK 320. Unlike the PT Cruiser, which is little more than a glorified station wagon, the SSR has a very respectable amount of power for any era, reminiscent of the days when gasoline was abundant and cheap -- its Vortec 5300 (5.3-liter aluminum-block V8) engine produces 290 horsepower and 325 lbs. ft. of torque, sent to the rear wheels by way of a TORSEN traction differential and an electronic four-speed HydraMatic 4L60-E transmission with overdrive (the same can be found in such cars as the Camaro, Corvette, and various Cadillacs).
It is currently still in the concept stage, but GM plans to begin mass sale by summer 2003.