Chevrolet SSR - Fire and Smoke

Fire and Smoke

Dan Ward
Jul 1, 2007
Photographers: Martin Barkey
Photo 2/17   |   chevrolet Ssr front View
Where there's smoke, there's fire. In the case of this blazing Chevrolet SSR, smoke rose courtesy of applying the accelerator and unleashing 500 hp. Fire can be found curling across the hood, fenders, and doors in an original hot-rod paint scheme. Martin Barkey, owner of MBRP Exhaust in Ontario, Canada, wasn't real thrilled with Chevy's base model '04 SSR, so he decided to take matters into his own hands. The end result is a truck as fast as it is good-looking, with several tricks hidden up its sleeves.
Photo 3/17   |   This is what 500 hp of a turbocharged V-8 looks like. Check out the build-up of how Hahn Racecraft created the one-off turbo in the following photos.
Starting with a stock '04 SSR, Martin delivered the fresh truck to Hahn Racecraft in Yorkville, Illinois, where the Hahn team immediately opened the hood and started envisioning horsepower the Hahn way. Equipped with a 5.3L V-8, the SSR was no slouch, but it was not nearly as quick as the drop-top truck looked. To resolve that issue, Hahn created a stage two intercooled turbocharger system. Squeezing the Garrett turbo into the tight confines of the SSR engine compartment required intuitive engineering and being able to overcome extremely tight tolerances. After several weeks of R&D and perfecting the system, Hahn had a single turbo upgrade that included larger fuel injectors, an intercooler, and a Tial blow-off valve. Pulling exhaust from the custom MBRP side exhaust tubes was an easy task, and the menacing look of the side pipes matched the nostalgic appeal of the SSR. For added combustion explosion, a Nitrous Express nitrous system was also installed and made the truck ready to launch by the flip of a switch.
Photo 4/17   |   chevrolet Ssr shifter
With the truck quick off of the line, Martin delivered the SSR to Jay over at Ultimate Driveline in Shelbyville, Michigan, for some much needed driveline and suspension work. First off, the driveshaft was replaced, the rear axles were shortened, and a new 4.10 gear set was added. Jay and his crew then added the Air Ride Technologies airbags for both the front and the rear. Shockwaves and Strong Arms lowered the front, while a pair of Firestone 'bags dropped the rear. Hiding underneath the dash, the Air Ride Technologies level-pro digital command center was stealthily mounted next to the drop-down 12-volt power source. Sitting low meant new wheels were needed, and Martin found the solution by using Asanti three-piece 20-inch AF118 chrome wheels up front and 22-inch Asanti wheels out back. Nitto 555 tires sized 265/35R20 up front and 285/35R22 tires out back provide the contact patch for this hauler.
Photo 11/17   |   Ron Gibbs applied the awesome flame-licks on the Chevy roadster.
Inside of the drop top, Martin left the stock leather in place. He then added a Harman Kardon car audio system for loud tunes when the top's down. The most dramatic and noticeable appearance alteration came from a wicked flame paintjob applied to the hood, fenders, and doors of the SSR. Bracebridge Collision applied the black paint and Ron Gibbs laid down the beautiful yellow-to-orange-to-red fade flames. He also masterfully applied the pinstripe to give the flames even more character. Other accessories included the addition of a BedRug and Red Top Optima battery.
Now, the only thing left to do was to take a test drive. Martin did just that, and you couldn't beat the smile off of his face with a baseball bat. Sweet looks, killer performance, and a convertible to boot, this SSR is simply radical. Read on, as we show you how Hahn created a turbocharged Chevy.


MBRP Exhaust
Hahn Racecraft
Oswego, IL 60543
(630) 801-1417



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