General Motors is to create a one-of-a-kind “pedigree” for each of the first 25 Chevy SSRs produced for sale as part of a unique launch programme for the new model that is a cross between a pickup truck and a convertible roadster.

Both the vehicles and the programme carry the name “Signature Series.”

Production of the first 25 SSRs will take place between December 2002 and April 2003. They will be used in a variety of high-profile launch activities around the country during the 2003 calendar year, and many will be part of themed events created specifically around the new model.

Each will embark on a unique journey, and along the way, Chevrolet representatives will collect memorabilia, photographs, autographs, news clippings and other keepsakes that connect to the journey. These collectibles will create a “pedigree” specific to each SSR, and will be placed in a special scrapbook that will be auctioned off with each vehicle at the end of its road trip.

“We developed the Signature Series vehicles and programme concept as a creative way to introduce the new Chevy SSR to as many people as possible,” said Chevrolet mid-size trucks marketing director Russ Clark.

The Signature Series vehicles will carry vehicle identification numbers (VINs) 000001 to 000025 and all 25 will be identical in appearance and content with extra features not available on any other 2003 model year SSR including ultra violet paint; a Signature Series badge on the “waterfall” interior panel between the bucket seat uppers (each chromed badge will be numbered and signed by two or more GM or supplier team members directly associated with the SSR programme); silver stitching on the black leather-wrapped steering wheel and seats; an SSR logo on the VIN plate; Signature Series badging on the tailgate, body-colour engine cover with silver insert; auxiliary gauge package located on the floor console; floor mats that include the SSR logo and cargo compartment trim with wood rub strips, lights and drop-down storage.

The SSR Signature Series program will consist of nine themed pedigrees.

These include: #1 General Motors – unlike the rest of the Signature Series vehicles, which will have two signatures on the waterfall interior badge, this special vehicle will have four (GM president and CEO Rick Wagoner, vice chairman Bob Lutz, North America president Gary Cowger, and design vice president Wayne Cherry). GM will retain this SSR as part of its historic vehicle collection.

#2 Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Foundation – donated by GM, the SAE Foundation will auction this SSR in spring 2003 to raise funds for the Heinz C. Prechter Scholarship for Automotive Excellence. The SSR, with its retractable roof, was one of the last vehicle programmes the late Prechter was involved with at ASC Incorporated, the specialty vehicle and systems company he founded.

#3 – 4 “Chevy Racing SSR” – selected Chevy-affiliated race drivers, team owners and sanctioning body officials representing NASCAR, the Indy Racing League (IRL) and the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) will be the first to take an SSR for a brisk lap driving around some of America’s great racetracks. They’ll also likely show up at a variety of public events including autograph sessions and pre-race parades. Potential scrapbook items may include driver’s gloves, autographed race programmes and photographs taken during these special events.

#5 “Stars Car” –  this SSR could be used to transport a Hollywood star, well-known musician or well-known athlete.

#6 – 10 “Street Art SSRs” – one Signature Series SSR will be dedicated to each of Chevrolet’s five US marketing regions. Artists selected from four cities within each region will be commissioned to create original works (i.e., oil paintings, watercolours, pen and ink, etc.) depicting the SSR against a backdrop of America – its geography, landmarks, people and culture. The artists and their finished work will appear at a variety of events within the region, with a public exhibition of all 20 pieces at a special gallery showing upon completion of the programme.

#11 – 13 “Music Tour SSRs” – each of these three vehicles will spend the summer of 2003 on tour with a specific musical artist or group at up to five outdoor concert venues around the US. The SSRs will be placed in highly visible locations for concertgoers to see. It’s possible the vehicles might be part of an on-stage performance. Memorabilia signed by the artists and photos from the venues will be obtained for the scrapbook to accompany each SSR.

#14 – 17 “Feature Car” – Chevrolet will work with major media to create opportunities to feature SSR prominently in their publications, events or television shows to gain national media exposure. The pedigree would include materials from the creation of the feature or event (e.g., writer notes, photos, B-roll, autographs, etc.).

#18 “Rock & Roll” –  to be displayed at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Pedigree scrapbook items will likely include autographed photos of the performers with the SSR and personal items such as drumsticks and guitar straps donated by various artists.

#19 – 25 “Media Review” – these seven vehicles will be used for journalists’ road test evaluations. Documentation for each vehicle’s pedigree will range from unpublished photos to author-autographed copies of the publications featuring their SSR stories.

Ultimately, all of the Signature Series SSRs (with the exception of VIN #1) will be offered for sale through public or GM dealer auctions during 2003. The scrapbook and memorabilia collected in association with the use of that particular vehicle will be included as part of the auction package.

The start of SSR regular retail production and shipment to Chevrolet dealers is scheduled to begin at General Motors’ Lansing, Michigan, facility in summer 2003.

The part roadster, part pickup SSR has a power-operated retractable hardtop that stores vertically in a compartment between the passenger and rear storage compartments.

The frame and chassis of the SSR are similar in design to Chevy’s mid-size TrailBlazer sport utility. Power comes from a new aluminum block version of GM’s Vortec 5300 (5.3-litre) small-block V8 and drives the rear wheels through a four-speed automatic transmission. The car rides on 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels.

A range of factory-fit options and dealer-fit accessories will be available for the 2003 SSR, with additional accessories being added in subsequent model years.