From what I understand, most enthusiasts' feelings about the Chevy SSR amount to this: good idea, poor execution. The stock retro-pickup is hamstrung by too much weight and not enough firepower under the bonnet, not to mention its cartoonish appearance. Well, American Specialty Cars has worked with Chevy to come up with the Blackbird 425, a much more evil version that from the looks of it could get none more black. A supercharger is applied to the SSR's standard-issue V8, so that it may now develop a far more remarkable 425-hp. ASC also firms up the SSR's ride with numerous suspension modifications to help preclude the heinous body roll permitted by its previously too-soft disposition. And perhaps because Marshalls was having a fire sale on them, or because they're all the rage, Brembo brakes now handle the stopping duties. Visually there's a bunch of carbon fiber stuff to make the interior seem ten kinds of futuristic and extra sideskirts and badges in all the right places. The Blackbird is overall a much more compelling reason to pick up an SSR, and it heralds a more performance-oriented vehicle for 2005, when a 6.0 liter, 390-hp V8 will be mated to a six-speed manual.

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