The Chevy SSR would make a great drift truck

Drifting, if you’ve ever done so, is an absolute ton of fun. The feeling of controlling a vehicle that’s just on its limit of being out of control is one of the best vehicular sensations I’ve experienced. It’s a delicate balancing act. And, when perfected, hysterical fun.

Some vehicles are better for drifting than others. And some specifics make a vehicle ideal. Rear-wheel-drive is preferred, as the rear tires need to be free to spin and the fronts need to be unhindered to steer. A manual transmission allows for maximum control of the power. And a big, torquey V8 supplies the power needed to keep the tires spinning endlessly.

Other factors are helpful, too. The right weight distribution can allow for controllable sliding. A low center of gravity makes it easy to pivot the car when needed without its weight hindering movement. And, of course, it always helps when the vehicle in question is one that puts on a bit of a show.

Source: Mecum

For all of the reasons above, and mostly the last, I have the crazy idea that the Chevy SSR would make a fantastic drift vehicle.

Think about it: the SSR has every ingredient for the makings of a properly great drift vehicle. Rear-wheel-drive. A 6-speed manual transmission, the same T-56 that was in Corvettes and Vipers and many others. A 6.0-liter LS2 V8, the same that was in the Corvette and GTO and many other GM performance cars. The right weight distribution, 52% front and 48% rear. A low-enough COG. And, crucially, a showy, irregular body that would make the drifting even more hysterical. Especially against the background of the familiar 240SX and FR-S stalwarts.

Source: SeriousWheels

Imagine a convertible pickup truck being hooned at full tilt, back end out, smoke spewing from the back tires. It’s the image of absolute debauchery. Doubly so with the roof down. Lowered a few inches and with the suspension tightened up a bit, the SSR would be a full-fledged drift machine. Add in some long tube headers and a properly sorted exhaust system, and the result is the drift truck of my dreams.

Source: Mecum

Don’t get me wrong, I know the limitations of the truck as both a truck and in regards to how it would perform as a drift vehicle. A true drift car has massive steering angle. It has a nearly ground-level COG. And it has the ability to take a beating without complaining. But know what an SSR drift truck would have? Charm and uniqueness. And the fact that it would be a ridiculous, laugh-inducing thing to both pilot and see in action. And if drifting isn’t first and foremost fun, what’s the point?

Unfortunately this is wholly a dream and in no way a reality, but hey: a guy can dream. And for me, that dream consists of an SSR drift truck.

Source: Hagerty

About Ross Ballot

Host of the Off the Road Again Podcast. 4WD and four-wheeling enthusiast and expert. Formula 1 fanatic. Contributor to Hooniverse, ATVRider.com, UTVDriver.com, and Everyday Driver. Usually found getting a vehicle stuck in the mud or on the rocks and loving every second of it.

10 Comments

  1. I don’t know if there are cheap ones available in the US, but it looks like the “I know what I have” is strong up in Canada. Meanwhile, you can pick up Trailblazer SS’s for about half as much (at best), which shares a chassis and has the 6.0. Otherwise, I’d just get weird and import a Holden Ute (still for less money).

    That said, I’m here for the lunacy of hacking up anything beloved by the “I know what I have”‘s.

    1. Start with the Trailblazer and add on as many cheap aftermarket SSR body panels (if there are such things) as necessary to make it look like an SSR.

      It’s a Ship of Theseus after you’ve lowered the CoG, splayed out the steering angle and reinforced everything anyway, so why bother paying more for the base truck?
      Oh, right. To freak out the squares.

  2. It has LS engine architecture, so smoking tires ought to be pretty straightforward. Points for being unique, but I am curious if they will actually be collectible or just coveted by original owners.

  3. Google tells me the weight is 4760lb which is an awful lot for something you want to filng about easily – don’t forget the ‘original’ stereotypical drift car was a Corolla AE86; you don’t need massive power to drift, just to put on a huge smoke show. To be
    anywhere near competitive with an SSR you’d need to tube frame it under a set of
    panels,

    1. “To be anywhere near competitive with an SSR you’d need to tube frame it under a set of panels.”

      Which would essentially make it not an SSR.

      1. True and it’s probably against the relations anyway. Mind you I don’t think they address body on frame vehicles*, which says something about suitability in itself.

        * Disclaimer: not familiar with US series regs

        1. Formula Drift rules do make some allowance for vehicles with separate frames, as non-unibody sports cars do still exist
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/56e4fdf9cb212731f66ce3302a6186db2048ac2e551507bbe9846589a51266e8.jpg
          However the rules do explicitly say “No Trucks or SUVs will be allowed” which might be harder to get around. Josh Robinson had to get special dispensation to run a Holden Ute in Pro2 the past 3 years, and I would imagine the argument hinged on it being at least half car
          You would also be required to keep the factory frame, because teams didn’t even get all the way to 100% custom tube frame before they pushed those rules back
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e34167a255aed9ce49813f8e13635d28a4d9a431f7d851c56375e13889dfef32.jpg

          1. Good point, I didn’t think of Corvettes. As for utes, they are just coupes with a really big open trunk, right?

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