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SEMA 2007: Chevrolet HHR Panel SS Revealed Live, We Check Out The Big Red Rear End

This image was lost some time after publication.
This image was lost some time after publication.

Check out the inside of the back end of the newly revealed Chevy HHR Panel SS custom concept. How bad of a case of the red-ass does this SuperSport have with all of that hot red leather? Yeah, that's right — that's all red leather covering the interior of the cargo bay from the waistline up. Because this HHR SS is for show, for go and for hauling. Or as one PR person for Chevy claimed, "if the HHR Panel Van is for the small businessman, the HHR Panel SS is for the sporty small businessman." Or at least it's for the small businessman with a flair for Moulin Rouge. We'll have more later we're sure. For now, hit the jump for the press release.



At the 2007 SEMA Show, Chevrolet revealed the HHR Panel SS - a customized vision that previews a forthcoming production model differing only slightly from the stylized SEMA concept. The Panel SS fuses the production HHR SS's turbocharged powertrain and race track-bred suspension with the unique HHR Panel body style.

"It was natural that our designers and engineers brought up the 'what if' question when it came to the HHR SS and the HHR Panel," said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. "They were given the nod to pursue it and we think the result is fun and exciting; it amplifies the very best attributes that have made the HHR so popular with customers."

The HHR Panel SS concept combines production components with custom details. And while the concept vehicle will be shown at events around the country, the HHR Panel SS limited-edition production model will be offered at Chevy dealers starting in the 2009 model year.

The underpinnings and powertain of the HHR Panel SS concept include the production turbocharged and intercooled 2.0L Ecotec engine that produces 260 horsepower (194 kW), unique exterior styling and an SS-specific interior. The exterior details include production SS front and rear fascias, rocker panels, a modified SS front grille and an SS rear spoiler. It also features polished metal body side trim and 20-inch wheels that are unique to the concept vehicle, while a "suede" paint scheme has a satin appearance that recalls classic hot rods.

Inside, SS-embroidered sport seats - with suede-like Ultra Lux inserts - a new gauge cluster with 140-mph speedometer, an A-pillar boost gauge and a new, driver-oriented steering wheel support the vehicle's performance capability. The cargo area - there is no rear seat - has been customized with billet aluminum tie-downs, floor strips and load brackets.

Underneath, a tuned suspension based on the production SS's FE5 Sport suspension enables sharp ride and handling, but was modified slightly for the SEMA concept vehicle to accommodate the larger-than-production 20-inch wheels and tires. The FE5 suspension was developed and tuned at Germany's famed Nürburgring racing circuit and includes specific stabilizer bars, spring rates and damper tuning - all designed to complement the turbocharged powertrain. Along with its high-performance attributes, the HHR SS is equipped with a host of safety and convenience features, including the StabiliTrak vehicle stability control system and four-wheel disc brakes with ABS.

Vehicle highlights:

* HHR Panel SS
* 2.0L Ecotec turbocharged and intercooled DOHC engine with 260 horsepower
* Electronically controlled automatic transmission
* HHR SS FE5 Sport suspension with modifications to accommodate concept 20-inch wheels and tires
* Enhanced brake system
* Production HHR Panel body with production and modified HHR SS exterior panels
* Satin paint finish
* Polished metal exterior trim
* Modified HHR SS interior, including SS-embroidered seats, specific gauges and A-pillar boost gauge
* Customized cargo area with billet tie-downs, rub strips and load brackets
* GM Accessories Personal Audio Link

Chevrolet is one of America's best-known and best-selling automotive brands. With the largest dealer network in the United States, Chevy is the leader in full-size trucks and the leader in sales of vehicles priced $35,000 and above. Chevrolet delivers more-than-expected value in every vehicle category, offering cars and trucks priced from $9,995 to $83,175. Chevy delivers expressive design, spirited performance, great value and good fuel economy. Chevrolet offers more vehicles rated at 30 mpg than any other manufacturer. More information on Chevrolet can be found at

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You know what grabs me about this item? Not a damn thing about the car, that's for sure. No. What grabs me, and really gives me hope for the blogosphere, was the correct and appropriate use of the word "flair."

I mean, you might have a "flare" for something, but that's only if you intend to set it on fire.

Which perhaps is exactly what this car needs.