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The vehicle's design is inspired by the mid-1940s Chevrolet cars and trucks, specifically the 1949 Chevrolet Suburban, with large, square fender flares and a hemispherical grille. The design of the HHR has been credited to Bryan Nesbitt who was a former designer at Chrysler where he was the lead designer of the Chrysler PT Cruiser.
Nesbitt was recruited by GM to join its design staff and served for a time as the chief designer of the Chevrolet brand. The HHR has a large cargo-carrying capacity for a car of its size with 57.7 cubic feet in the passenger version and 62.7 cubic feet in the panel. It has a flat-load floor and fold-flat front passenger seat. For the 2007 model year, it's available in four trim levels; LS, LT, 2LT, and Special Edition. A panel van variant was also made available in 2007 for only the LT trim and became available on all trim levels in 2008.
In October 2006, Cheryl Catton, director of car marketing and retail integration for Chevy, confirmed that a high performance variant of the HHR would be built. The vehicle was expected to be released with SS moniker for the 2008 model year and use the Ecotec LNF turbocharged engine found in the Pontiac Solstice GXP and Saturn Sky Red Line. The vehicle had been photographed testing by a spy photographer several times since June 2006. Digital scans of the HHR SS Turbocharged dealer brochure were leaked on a fan forum site on July 13, 2007 before any official announcement.
On August 16, 2007, Chevrolet officially revealed the 2008 Chevrolet HHR SS Turbocharged at the Woodward Dream Cruise in Birmingham. It will be introduced as a 2008 model in Fall 2007. The SS Turbocharged features a 2.0 L turbocharged Ecotec LNF I4 engine and intercooler that produces 260 hp, race-tuned high-performance suspension, five-speed manual transmission with short-throw shifter, standard four-wheel antilock disc brakes, ground effects with unique front and rear fascias, aggressive black cross-mesh grille, liftgate-mounted aero spoiler, an analog A-pillar-mounted titanium boost gauge, leather-wrapped steering wheel with mounted audio controls, and unique 18 in high-polished aluminum wheels.
Chevrolet also introduced the HHR SS Panel Concept on 30 October, 2007 at the 2007 SEMA Show. A production version is anticipated for the 2009 model year.
Check out the Chevrolet HHR wallpapers and Chevrolet HHR Pictures (pics) collection below: