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I've been re-reading the beautiful "SSR an american original" book by Gary Witzenburg (great book - I hope that every owner has one), and have come up with a few tidbits interesting enough for me to write down. I'll post a few occasionally to see if anyone else finds them interesting (otherwise, ignore).

Around 2003 when the SSR came out, GM was very busy and cash-strapped, especially coming out with ten new models at the time, so they shoved most of the SSR development over to a company called ASC which was nearby, but GM still oversaw the project. ASC was originally called, "American Sunroof Corporation," so designing the retractable top was a good fit for them. They wanted to keep it out of the GM system so it would not "disturb the other programs," and they made it a "Specialty Vehicle" since no GM funds were available.

The original idea of a sports car/truck came from Wayne Cherry who was a GM Design VP at the time. Rick Wagoner, GM Chairman and CEO fell hard for the idea and really pushed it all the way through, even "greasing the skids" a bit so it could get into production as soon as possible. "The first time GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner saw the SSR - as a foam model at a September 1999 Design Center show of proposed future trucks - he fell in love with it and made it clear that he wanted it. Badly. Not only in production, but also in his driveway." He drove examples at the Woodward Dream Cruise three times (the first one was on a S-10 chassis), and he was serious about keeping the production truck as close as possible to the initial show version (thanks for that, Rick!). A bystander at the cruise yelled to him, "You'll never build it!," and he replied, "Yes, we will!"

A few weird sketches came up from various designers, but it was Doug Ugemach from ASC who sketched the first "slammer" design of the SSR. His quote, "I was working on other projects at the time and had to sneak a sketch in at lunchtime."

More to come later.
 
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