The retro look may be kind of old hat, but today’s Nice Price or No Dice Chevy SSR still does old school right. Let’s see if it’s also priced for the here and now.
Part of the joy of a kit car is the sweat equity one puts into turning it from kit to car. There’s additional fun to be had once it’s completed, but when the time comes to sell it, well, to everybody else, it’s just someone else’s amateur hour project. That was the main issue with yesterday’s Ford-powered Jaguar XK 120 kit car. There were plenty more issues with that completed kit, and all of those combined resulted in the No Dice button getting a workout. At $20,500, that homage Jag ended the day having coughed up a massive 92 percent loss of a hairball.
While it was generally bemoaned for its execution, yesterday’s kit car should have been praised at least for its concept. The Jaguar XK 120 is, after all, one of the prettiest cars on the planet. Today’s 2005 Chevy SSR is another vehicle that takes its inspiration from the past. In its case, that’s GM’s Advanced Design truck line of the 1950s. This Chevy adds to that attraction by also being that rarest of the rare, a convertible top pickup truck.
Chevy offered the SSR during the retro craze of the late ’90s and early aughts. Along with cars like the Plymouth Prowler and Ford GT, the SSR showed an American auto industry that was willing to take chances and flex its fun muscle every now and then. The economic downturn that followed killed off a number of these fun for the sake of fun vehicles, leaving the used car market dotted with icons like this cool truck.
The SSR was based on the ladder-frame GMT360 platform, which also underpinned the likes of the Chevy Trailblazer SUV and its oddball siblings, the Isuzu Ascender and Saab 9-7X. This one is well-kitted with a 390 horsepower LS2 V8 and a six-speed manual transmission. That feeds a limited-slip differential and eventually the fat back tires. That should make for all kinds of tire-spinning fun and games.
According to the ad, this was a one-owner car until just this year when it went to the dealer to find a new home. By its appearance, the truck was pampered by that original owner. Over the course of that ownership, the truck only managed to amass 5,944 miles meaning the new has hardly even had time to wear off.
The paint is described as Aqua Blur Metallic and that is a complementary color for the SSR. Chevy offered this model in a number of extremely bright primary colors so it’s nice to see a more subdued shade that lets the truck’s retro lines take center stage rather than the paint. The SSR’s styling may be purely subjective in its appeal, but it undeniably stands out and is a far cry from the angry go-bot styling of today’s Chevy pickups. Here, the rounded, flared-fender design is complemented by running boards and a set of chromed factory alloys.
The trick feature, of course, is the folding hardtop roof. That seems to be functioning as it should as the ad shows us pictures of it raised and lowered as well as at different stages of in-between.
Below that roof is a two-seat cabin with leather upholstery, silver accent trim, and a set of Camaro-esque gauges on the tunnel. Everything here looks as good as you might expect a car with just 6K under its belt. The bed in back is topped with a removable hardcover and is surprisingly roomy despite the two locking storage bins splitting up the space.
The title is clean and the Hemmings ad describes the truck’s condition in Bill & Ted fashion, calling it “excellent.” The price tag is $36,000.
Now, prices on SSRs are all over the place at the moment, and while this is near the top end for these models, this truck is properly kitted — only the ’05 and ’06 models got the LS2 and it has that rare stick — so it has that going for it. It also has extremely low miles making it almost as-new, a rare find for any 16-year old vehicle.
The question that you’ll need to answer is whether those factors add up to that $36,000 asking, or if the SSR is just too goofy a truck to even bother.
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