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.
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.
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.
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.