Remember in the early 2000s when American car manufacturers, envious of the success of BMW's Mini and the new VW Beetle, and hopped-up on a heady mixture of nostalgia, patriotism and a booming economy, began churning out retro-styled tat? Cars like the Ford Thunderbird, Buick Blackhawk concept, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Pontiac Solstice and Chevrolet HHR hit show stands and showrooms alike, with varying degrees of success.
There were, of course, some far more palatable examples of the craze once people calmed down a little; Ford's GT and seventh generation Mustang both arrived in 2005 and were soon to be joined by the new Dodge Challenger, sparking a revival of American muscle which continues to this day.
Today's Spotted is, for better or worse, a peak example of that noughties retro fad. You can see what Chevrolet's marketing department envisaged if you squint hard enough; buyers chucking their surfboards in the back before cruising down to the Pacific coast with The Beach Boys wafting out of the stereo. After an afternoon of sun, sea and sand they'd head home, only to be challenged at a red light by some punk in his souped-up something-or-other, at which point they'd bury their right foot and show them a clean pair of exhausts.
That's not as absurd a concept as it might seem at first glance. The awkward, '40s styling may not be to most tastes (with the exception of the car's two former owners, we assume) but for the rest of us there are still things to enjoy about it. SSR stands for Super Sport Roadster, afterall - three words which, if given to us as a design brief with a request for a million separate concept sketches, would still never result in a car that looks this way. But might well result in one that's powered like it is.
As a 2006 model-year car, this example boasts the 6.0-litre LS2 V8 engine found in the Corvette, here outputting 395hp and 405lb ft of torque for a 0-60 time of just 5.3 seconds. Think of the SSR, then, as a Ute in the finest tradition. Huge engine up front, pick up bed out back, rear-wheel drive underneath and arresting styling all over. The car's retro status didn't end with its design, though, it extended to its production too. The platform may be based on the Trailblazer SUV, but the exterior panels were manufactured using 'deep draw' stamping, a technique so outdated that it had to be figured out from scratch by Chevy specifically for the car.
Not so old-fashioned were the hard-top folding roof, retuned steering system and advanced suspension set-up. "No other manufacturer has a vehicle like SSR," boasted Chevrolet's General Manager upon its launch. He was right, but there was a reason for that, one which saw Chevy end up with a year-long backlog of the cars in 2004. This revised, uprated and generally better version was the manufacturer's final attempt to convince buyers to part with their hard earned cash. At $43,180 it didn't work, but now, for £24,950, and as a much rarer sight on UK roads, we'd wager there'll be at least one fan of Americana who'll find it's just what they've been looking for.
SPECIFICATION - CHEVROLET SSR
Engine: 6,000cc, V8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 395
Torque (lb ft): 405
Year registered: 2005
Recorded mileage: 11,000
Price new: $43,180
Yours for: £24,950
See the full ad here.