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Craigslist: 2008 HHR Has Hasty Hopes

Marcal Eilenstein February 7, 2014 For Sale 38 Comments


I wouldn’t normally be interested in the Cobalt-cum-PT Cruiser that they call the HHR, but this one has so much, shall we say, potential, that I couldn’t pass it up. Why, you ask? Read on and find out! 

I sat in the front passenger seat of an HHR when they first hit the streets, and my only memory of that rental car ride is feeling cramped. In an effort to flatten the roof and make the little wagon look longer than it really is, they removed what little headroom there was to begin with. It feels like sitting in a chopped and lowered Cobalt, which, well, it is. The high belt lines don’t help. Anyway, this car is very different from the plain white model I remember from years ago.

[Source: Seattle craisglist]

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From the ad:

2008 Chevrolet HHR Low miles 1 of a kind little Hot Rod – $9000 (Maple Valley)

08 HHR. 67,000 miles. 2.2 liter. 5-speed manual. 30+mpg. Lowered 2 inches. CGS Cold Air and Cat-back. Rolled Visor. Dummy Spotlights and lots lots more. Original owner. Dealer Serviced. Every shred of paper work from day one. $9,000.00.
. If this sounds interesting please call 206 979 XXXX. Will not respond to text-message or e-mail.

Well, it’s got the right number of pedals, so that’s a promising start. The low miles combined with the overall good condition of the car make me wonder if this is just a weekend toy for someone. I hate to admit it to you, but the more I look at this HHR, the more I like it. As customs go, this one is pretty good: it’s showy, but it’s not tacky. It’s got just the right touch of chrome, and even the whitewall tires look good here.


Most people would have just slapped some fake hood vents on it or a cheap flame job, but the seller here has done it right, if you ask me. The only thing that concerns me is that price – $9,000 seems like a lot dough for what is basically a 5-door Cobalt. What do you think? Am I crazy for liking this?


  • "Am I crazy for liking this?"

    No… you're insane. And I say that with peace and love… peace and love.
    And yes… super tacky, and that's an understatement.

  • Maymar

    It's a little too nauseatingly far off the retro deep end for me, to the point where I'd expect the current owner listens to nothing but the cruise night-friendly hits of the 50's and 60's.

    The HHR itself isn't bad, but without the SS upgrade, I can't get that excited. Like you said, it's a Cobalt wagon. I never found them all that cramped, but visibility absolutely suffered with the chopped roof.

  • DemonXanth

    I like it, well done, clean, thought out, and finished. Maybe not $9k liking. But I do like it.

  • skitter

    This is the small car for the people who want the experience of driving a big truck.

  • It's cute. Cute in the way a store with a clever name is, like a hair salon called Curl Up and Dye. You see it and go, "Oh, ha. I get it. Cute." and then you forget all about it.

  • Van_Sarockin

    It's overkill that doesn't really fix the underlying problems, but I appreciate the effort.

  • R Henry

    I admire people with creativity and the will to transform dreams to reality, A+

  • IronBallsMcG

    Don't like dummy spots, but they look even worse next to those modern mirrors.

    • I don't even like dummy spots on '50s cars.

  • Rich

    I'd like it a lot more if it was a panel version.

  • MattC

    I certainly understood all the hate for the later PT Cruisers. I had a rental HHR for about a week (while my daily was being repaired) and to be quite honest liked it very much. It achieved great gas mileage , had decent room and seemed pretty well suited fro commuter duty. The only glaring problems were some hampered visibility and cheapness of some of the interior. However, I would love to try out an SS version with proper 3 pedals.

    The CL add might appeal to some., but I would lose the whitewalls (sorry I always hated whitewall tires, nostalgia be damned) , lose the fakety fake spotlights (again screw the nostalgia thing). 67K on an Ecotec engine is nothing and it does have the right transmission. But $9K seems steep.

    • Maymar

      Honestly, the PT Cruiser is pretty close to what would be a theoretical 1rst gen HHR. It's cheaper and Chryslerier and sucks a little more fuel, but easier to see out of, and features many of the same strengths.

      In both cases, I can't really get behind the cult they attract, but as sensible econowagons playing dressup, I'm fine with their existence.

  • See also: polishing a turd.

    • Alcology

      HHR. POS. Coincidence?

  • lil-red

    For me the spots need to be at hood level, don't remember ever seeing any mounted this high.

  • I don't hate it. I don't want it, but I don't hate it.

  • Alcology

    Hate the designer not the modifier.

    I even like the new Thunderbird, but if we could go back in time and stop the PT and the HHR I'd settle for the new Tbird never existing.

    • I don't like any of the three, but considering the relative scarcity of those Tbirds, I can easily forget those exist. The others? Unpossible. Keeping my fingers crossed for their rapid demise, the PT in particular.

      • Zaxbys

        Well, considering that rust is about the only thing that prevents me from fixing a car, and the PT is relatively cancer-free, mine will be on the road for many years to come BWAHAHA!

        "Suddenly, a wild drunk driver appears. Drunk driver uses t-bone. It's super effective!" ohhhh…

  • racer139

    At our shop right now we have an incredibly abused hhr in burnt orange. The car has around 80k km and is in need of an engine and most of its front suspension replaced. The body is battered with dings and a few large dents and the owner is still making payments and is wondering if she should fix her beat up hhr.The mechanic doesn't think the car is worth fixing and neither do I, but as the owner still has like two years of payments and no hope of getting a new car it has to get a new engine.

  • desert fox
  • d4rksabre

    The HHR is stupid. And will always be stupid. And all the fiberglass and acetylene in the world can't fix that.

  • As far as retro designs slathered in an add on layer of nostalgia go, this is pretty successful. I'd looks the side window visors, the add on chrome on the rear doors, the chrome surrounds on the headlights and ditch the fake spots for real ones.

    Better yet, start with an SS panel (did the make those?) with the stick, make the mods and you'd have a better result for less money.

    • Zaxbys

      Pretty sure you can't get the SS with panel sides. And judging from what others are saying and my own experience with my PTC, I'd say you'd want as much visibility as you can get.

      • Maymar

        The HHR SS panel absolutely existed, but it's phenomenally rare. I've seen one in black, with the slushbox at a grocery store near my apartment.

        Mind you, I've spent a little bit of time in a couple regular HHR panels, and they're so impossible to see out of, I'd want to mount the gigantic side mirrors of a dually just so I had some idea what was beside me.

        • Zaxbys

          So, I'm wrong on the Panel and SS combo, but right on the Panel and SeeStuff combo. Eh, I'll take it.

          • Maymar

            I doubt there's much shame in not knowing everything about the HHR, or not knowing anything about the HHR. I might want to feel shame for knowing what I do about them.

            • Zaxbys

              Don't worry: now that I own one, I can probably outpace most people here on PT Cruiser knowledge. I haven't gotten any death threats yet, so Flappy PT is gonna stay in the comments.
              /pop culture reference…

  • Zaxbys

    I want to like it, I really do. But's it's just a little too over the top for me. Remove the hood badges and the A-pillar lights and then we'll talk.

  • 2cver

    It looks like an HHR that's been Foose-ified. This Chevy, on the other hand, is what gets me excited for reasons unknown.

    • I'm really curious about that pair of wheels that appear to be raised – any Hoons local to this who can check it out in person?

      • OA5599

        Probably pneumatically or hydraulically retractable.

        The front axle has a differential I think it would be hopelessly complicated for the second front axle to also be driven, unless also hydraulically, and I would expect that off-road it would be more hinderance than help.

  • Otmane EL RHAZI

    Nice car I like it!

  • brenschluss

    Slowest rental I've ever driven. Not sure I can abide by calling this a hot rod of any kind.

    Lose the spots and it looks about as good as it could, so credit where it's due.

  • seguin

    We have an HHR SS at work as a shop truck…frankly, it's awesome. Can haul many things, including ass. Also a surprisingly good handler despite the weight.

  • kathie63

    I want the visor!!