2003 Chevrolet SS Concept



(from GM Press Release) DETROIT - The 2003 Chevrolet SS concept showcases a new generation of Chevy muscle, with dynamic design, race-proven technology and balanced performance.

A modern interpretation of Chevrolet's Super Sport heritage, the Chevy SS is a contemporary four-door family sedan turned sports car. It packs rear-wheel drive with a high-technology version of the legendary small-block V-8, and high-performance suspension and brakes to match.

"It's a vehicle to be shared with your family or with your buddies," said Franz von Holzhausen, the SS's exterior designer. "It builds on Chevrolet's great performance heritage, while updating the SS concept for a whole new generation."

The Chevy SS, a product of GM Design's Los Angeles studio, exudes power and performance at first glance with its intense, Victory Red exterior and a reflective Cromax glass finish. The design is fluid with a short front overhang, long dash-to-axle and wide, muscular fenders providing an aggressive stance.

Powerful wheel arches house 21-inch front and 22-inch rear aluminum wheels with BF Goodrich performance tires. The package also includes side gills, sporty round taillamps, through-fascia dual exhaust and a brushed stainless steel panel surrounding the taillamps.

"This is classic muscle car flavor interpreted in a modern way," said von Holzhausen. "It speaks about muscle and power, but you also have the romance of the lines. Its DNA is clearly seen in the way we've modeled the fuselage, fenders and elements of the front and rear," said von Holzhausen.

The SS's muscular forms also hint at Chevy's ultimate performance car - the Corvette.

Underneath the hood is the latest evolution of Chevy's race-proven small-block V-8. The car's longitudinal all-aluminum 6.0-liter V-8 engine pumps 430 horsepower and 430 lbs.-ft. of torque. The engine is paired with a Hydra-Matic 4L65-E four-speed, rear-wheel-drive, electronically controlled automatic transmission. It also could be equipped with the fuel-saving Displacement on Demand technology, debuting on somein 2004 on some 2005 GM models, which shuts down half of the cylinders during most driving conditions and automatically and seamlessly reactivates them for more demanding conditions, such as brisk acceleration or load hauling.

The SS features sophisticated low-arm SLA suspension and independent rear suspension for high-performance driving. The chassis features driver-adjustable shocks to change the damping ratio. The SS driver can tune the chassis for a softer setting during the week and dial in more performance for track days on the weekend.

To complete the performance package, the brakes are six-piston calipers with 14-inch rotors up front, and four-piston calipers with 14.45-inch rotors on the rear. To help make the SS friendlier for everyday driving, it also is equipped with active-traction control.

"The interior is clean and understated with hints of SS heritage. The cool off-white leather surfaces, which contrast well against the warm red exterior, provide a spacious ambience," said Bryan Nesbitt, GM's executive director of design, body-frame integral. "The interior seat upholstery mixes the white leather with a modern woven, hounds-tooth check vinyl reminiscent of the SS cars of the past. Slate leather covers the upper doors and instrument panel while brushed stainless steel accents add refinement," said Nesbitt.

"The SS seats five, but maintains a driver-oriented, cockpit feel," said Blake Allen, the SS's interior designer. The steering wheel is leather-wrapped, and the performance seats are buckets with body adjustments for sport driving. The gear shifter is console-mounted in the SS tradition, with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifting in the sport mode. There is a built-in child booster seat in the center rear, and the entire rear seats fold flat for extra cargo space.

Three DVD players (one behind each seat headrest and a center mounted unit above the console) and XM Satellite Radio also are included, along with the OnStar in-vehicle safety and security system.

"It all adds up to an aspirational performance car for Main Street America, and it points toward the next-generation of Chevy SS vehicles," said Nesbitt. "The great Chevy rear-wheel-drive V-8 vehicles are deeply embedded into the American psyche.

"With their power and speed, these cars gave Americans a sense of freedom and rebellion against the ordinary, at a price tag that many could afford. The Chevy SS truly is mobile entertainment for performance enthusiasts of all generations," Nesbitt said.