At the 2007 SEMA Show, Chevrolet revealed the HHR Panel SS – a customized vision that previews a forthcoming production model differing only slightly from the stylized SEMA concept. The Panel SS fuses the production HHR SS’s turbocharged powertrain and race track-bred suspension with the unique HHR Panel body style.
“It was natural that our designers and engineers brought up the ‘what if’ question when it came to the HHR SS and the HHR Panel,” said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. “They were given the nod to pursue it and we think the result is fun and exciting; it amplifies the very best attributes that have made the HHR so popular with customers.”
The HHR Panel SS concept combines production components with custom details. And while the concept vehicle will be shown at events around the country, the HHR Panel SS limited-edition production model will be offered at Chevy dealers starting in the 2009 model year.
The underpinnings and powertain of the HHR Panel SS concept include the production turbocharged and intercooled 2.0L Ecotec engine that produces 260 horsepower (194 kW), unique exterior styling and an SS-specific interior. The exterior details include production SS front and rear fascias, rocker panels, a modified SS front grille and an SS rear spoiler. It also features polished metal body side trim and 20-inch wheels that are unique to the concept vehicle, while a “suede” paint scheme has a satin appearance that recalls classic hot rods.
Inside, SS-embroidered sport seats – with suede-like Ultra Lux inserts – a new gauge cluster with 140-mph speedometer, an A-pillar boost gauge and a new, driver-oriented steering wheel support the vehicle’s performance capability. The cargo area – there is no rear seat – has been customized with billet aluminum tie-downs, floor strips and load brackets.
Underneath, a tuned suspension based on the production SS’s FE5 Sport suspension enables sharp ride and handling, but was modified slightly for the SEMA concept vehicle to accommodate the larger-than-production 20-inch wheels and tires. The FE5 suspension was developed and tuned at Germany’s famed Nürburgring racing circuit and includes specific stabilizer bars, spring rates and damper tuning – all designed to complement the turbocharged powertrain. Along with its high-performance attributes, the HHR SS is equipped with a host of safety and convenience features, including the StabiliTrak vehicle stability control system and four-wheel disc brakes with ABS.
HHR Panel SS
2.0L Ecotec turbocharged and intercooled DOHC engine with 260 horsepower
Electronically controlled automatic transmission
HHR SS FE5 Sport suspension with modifications to accommodate concept 20-inch wheels and tires
Enhanced brake system
Production HHR Panel body with production and modified HHR SS exterior panels
Satin paint finish
Polished metal exterior trim
Modified HHR SS interior, including SS-embroidered seats, specific gauges and A-pillar boost gauge
Customized cargo area with billet tie-downs, rub strips and load brackets