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The 2003-2006 Chevrolet SSR was a retro-styled convertible pickup truck, though the vehicles with which it shared its basic architecture were none of the above. It would not surprise me if the SSR was the product of a truth-or-dare game gone horribly wrong, and a group a General Motors engineers found themselves at the losing end of a sinister “dare.”
In recent years, Ford’s F-150 product planners and marketing staff have found themselves with an enviable “problem:” They have apparently not yet found the ceiling for what buyers will pay for a fully decked-out full-size pickup. With each new model year, pickup manufacturers keep finding buyers for ever-more-high-end trim levels loaded with new features and gilded with luxury-level appointments.
There are few automobiles to which more “firsts” and “lasts” can be awarded than the 1981-1983 Imperial.
Even folks with just a passing interest in comedy know that there are dozens of punch-line responses to the classic prompt, “Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup!” My new favorite is, “That’s possible–the chef used to be a tailor.”
General Motors can lay claim to two of the most noteworthy examples of automotive downsizing. On the success side is the Impala/Caprice redesign for 1977. Leaner and more fuel efficient, the downsized big Chevys found the proverbial market sweet spot, and sold like crazy to full-size-car shoppers looking for something trimmer than they had been driving (but not too trim).
It’s always interesting to note how the passing of time changes our perspective. Ask anyone who remembers the car today, and they’re likely to tell you that the Cadillac Catera was a badly executed car that sold poorly.
In order to sell General Motors brass on the idea of building a small, two-seat coupe, Pontiac marketing types made a few interesting concessions.