Collector Car Corner – Ultra-rare 2006 Chevrolet SSR

Collector Car Corner - Ultra-rare 2006 Chevrolet SSRThe engine bay is a work of art thanks to custom paint and graphics applied by Don “Mitch” Mitchell.  
Collector Car Corner - Ultra-rare 2006 Chevrolet SSR

Dave Mareck poses with his one-of-a-kind 2006 Chevrolet SSR pickup/convertible.  (Greg Zyla and Ronald Evans photos)

I’ve received about 20 letters over the last five years about the Chevy SSR, so now is a good time to answer these many Chevrolet SSR inquiries with one column.

Being that one of the featured trucks around where I live in the Sayre, Pa. to Elmira/Binghamton, N.Y. area is a very rare 2006 Chevrolet SSR silver over blue pickup convertible, owned by Dave Mareck, of Sayre, Pa., I can attest that this feature will answer many of the questions I’ve received.

Mareck sat down with this writer recently to tell his story on how he came to own such a rare SSR, especially knowing that General Motors (GM) had very low production quota mandates on the tutone SSRs.

Collector Car Corner - Ultra-rare 2006 Chevrolet SSR

Dave has a framed plaque of the originality and rareness of his SSR.

Said Mareck, “In the fall of 2005 Chevrolet announced that the Michigan based Lansing Craft Center, where the SSR’s were built, was ceasing production and there would be a final production run of 2006 SSRs starting Feb. 2, 2006 and ending about March 17, 2006.”

Mareck explained that he had hoped to buy a 2007 SSR, which had been slated by GM as the original final year of planned production. There were also plans to enhance the front and rear fascias for 2007 and rumors persisted than an optional 505-horsepower supercharged (Z06) LS engine was also in play.

However, sometimes the best laid plans come undone.

“Once I learned that 2006 would be the final year for the SSR, I had to order one right away. So, in 2006 several new options were introduced: Pacific Blue paint, a full chrome package and an optional tutone paint, all of which I ordered,” Mareck said.

Collector Car Corner - Ultra-rare 2006 Chevrolet SSR

Rear of Dave’s SSR shows the unique rear spoiler he added that came from a Chevy Cobalt. The colors were applied by Don “Mitch” Mitchell, who has a shop in Waverly, N.Y.

The proud owner of the unique truck, which has been a featured vehicle at many car shows, explained that he worked closely with GM’s Bob Walczyk, who at the time was the SSR Production and Marketing manager. Mareck received pictures from Walczyk on the specific paint combination he wanted, IE: Silver over Blue or Blue over Silver for review.

Deciding on silver (top) over blue (bottom), Mareck quickly entered his order with his Chevy dealer, notably Simmons-Rockwell, located in Bath, NY. However, more help was needed from Walczyk.

“I called my dealer on Saturday, Jan. 7 of 2006, and put in the order for my new 2006 SSR. Everything seemed fine until I received a call the following Monday that my order was rejected because of a 20-percent “GM constraint” on tutone paint SSRs. So, I sent an email to Bob Walczyk on that Monday at 10:59 a.m., gave him the order and dealer numbers, and asked if there was anything he could do,” Mareck noted.

Just 24 hours later, on Tuesday at 11:14 a.m. (Mareck keeps every bit of detailed information on his SSR), the happy SSR consumer received an email from GM stating that the order had been processed into POMS (Production Order Management System) and was at production event number “3100”(which means build when ready).

Then later the same day, Mareck got a call from the Simmons-Rockwell Sales Manager that he had received a call from Chevrolet and his order was processed and they would be getting another SSR for the dealership to sell. The Simmons-Rockwell sales manager asked Mareck who he knew at Chevrolet.  

Mareck said with a smile, “I told the sales manager that evidently I knew the right guy.” To this day, Mareck points to GM’s cooperation and Walczyk’s devotion to a potential Chevrolet owner as critical in getting the SSR he wanted. 

Thus, Mareck’s SSR was built on March 7, 2006 and delivered to the dealer late on March 10, 2006, which Mareck feels has to be some type of record for new truck delivery.

As for the SSR, under the hood are special graphics and paint by noted area specialist Don “Mitch” Mitchell, from Waverly N.Y. The custom under hood paint really makes the SSR a car and truck show standout. Powered by the larger 6.0 LS series V8 engine, the silver and blue tutone versions number just seven from a total run of 24,180 SSR’s built from 2003 to 2006. In addition to the under hood custom paint, a special rear spoiler from a Chevy Cobalt sedan painted by Mitch and installed by Mareck give the SSR a one-of-a-kind look.

For a finishing touch, Mareck added special, mirror polish high quality wheels from Complete Custom Wheels in Daytona Beach, Florida for a final motif enhancement. The custom wheels replaced the stock Ultra Silver painted wheels his SSR came with and they are proper size 19-inch front and 20-inch rear dimensions. When all is combined, his SSR is a major attraction and attention getter both at shows and while traveling up and down the highway.

In ending, Mareck is indeed aware that his tutone Ricochet Silver over Pacific Blue SSR would be a major acquisition for a Dallas Cowboys fan, player, owner or employee. Many a car show attendee had made the statement: “If you take your silver and blue SSR to Dallas, you could probably sell it for twice what it’s worth to a Cowboys fan or even a player.”

Although Mareck agrees, he’s not budging.

“Well, I’m a Pittsburgh Steelers fan,” he said with a smile. “And I have no intention of selling my SSR anytime soon.”

(Greg Zyla is a syndicated auto columnist and welcomes questions on collector vehicles, auto nostalgia and motorsports at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, Pa. 18840 or email at greg@gregzyla.com).

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