On September 11, 2006, Chevrolet delivered a slightly used '05 Chevy SSR with 16,237 miles on the odometer to the headquarters of The World's Leading Truck Publication. Our instructions were simple: Do not drive it on any public roads under any circumstances and make it look as cool as possible in the next 24 months. On October 24, 2008, Chevrolet picked up their slightly used SSR with 16,311 miles on the odometer, only this time, it looked a little different than it did in '06. If you had a truck that you couldn't drive, what would you do? We thought so, and that's why we cut it up. This is the story of one red-headed stepchild that turned out to be Project Super Stunner.
This SSR was exactly what we hoped for when we pitched Chevrolet the story idea back in the beginning of '06. It had low miles, an LS2 V-8 under the hood, and it was backed by a T-56 six-speed manual transmission. With nearly 400 hp on tap and the gearbox to make it smoke the tires, the SSR was a blast when we drove it on the track at California Motor Speedway in Fontana, California. Making several runs down the 1/4-mile and in the slalom, the SSR showed quickness, but was not overtly fast with a best time of 14.59 at 96.86 mph. On the dyno, we quickly realized why the SSR was running in the mid-14s with the wheels turning the rollers at 245 hp. Whereas, this wasn't too shabby, we knew the aluminum V-8 had more available so we turned to four companies: K&N filters, NOS, Corsa Performance, and Stan's Headers.
Flowing more air into the LS2 is a K&N intake with carbon fiber surround for lightweight strength. Flowing more air out of the V-8 is a set of Stan's Headers long-tube headers exhaling into a Corsa Performance exhaust that is quiet while cruising with no droning and yet with the throttle wide open, the exhaust note means business. For a serious jolt in horsepower, an NOS nitrous system from Holley was installed. With the 150hp jets installed in the LS2 throttle-body plate, the dyno rollers were churning to the tune of 499.4 hp. Now we were cooking with some hot grease! Back at the drag strip, the SSR blazed down the quarter-mile at 12.89 at 114.48 mph. Able to roast the tires at a moments notice, we were now ready to make the SSR lay frame. To accomplish this admirable task, we turned to the professionals at GO-EZ Customs.
Our short trailering of the SSR brought us to Placentia, California, where GO-EZ Customs calls home. Known for their all-out assault on suspensions, some of the lowest and most custom cars and trucks in SoCal have rolled out of the GO-EZ shop doors. Art Gomez, owner of GO-EZ, listened to our request and looked at the SSR and then quickly said, "No problem, we'll lay this thing out." After a call to Mac Springs for a set of Slam Specialties airbags and ASCO valves, Air Zenith was dialed for a pair of compressors to make our air suspension dreams come true. Keeping to his word, Art and the GO-EZ crew got cracking on the SSR with welders in hand. The guys removed the factory front struts, made their own 'bag mounts, installed the Slam 'bags and notched several key areas for added clearance. With the front handled, the crew went to work making sense of the five-link coil suspension in the rear. Relocating the Panhard bar, performing a C-notch, and making a large oval loop for the 'bag mounts and center structure allowed the rear to lay low. Go-EZ then notched the body to make room for the driveshaft and after all was said and done, the power hardtop still went up and down without a hitch.
After the sparks had settled and Art hit the AVS switch box for the air suspension, our Project Super Stunner was looking sick as the frame gently rested on the California pavement. Now we had an SSR that ran like a racehorse and could drag frame with the best of them, but the stock red Chevy paint was too boring for our tastes. We loaded the SSR onto the Truckin' trailer and made the drive out to Hemet, California, to meet up with Josh, at Nostalgic Restyling.