Friday, July 18, 2008

Democratic Truck - SSR

Saturday morning Senator Ben Westlund Democratic candidate for State Treasurer will ride in the Baker City Miner's Jubilee Parade in my 2004 SSR. Two years ago Carol Voisin did the same in her run against Rep Greg Walden (R-OR2). I used it in the OR2 Primary as campaign transportation, it runs in the Haines OR 4th of July Parade bearing Baker County Democrats banners and it sports an Obama sticker. It is a perfectly good Democrat.

Since Chevrolet didn't build many of these there aren't a lot of people familiar with how they work, or even what one is. If you push a button on the console with your foot on the brake pedal, the top goes away, as you see above. It is fascinating to watch, even when you're used to it, a gadgeteer's dream. It becomes a sleek convertible with no effort on the driver's part, nice weather fun that takes about 30 seconds to accomplish, a red light is sufficient if the weather changes or desires change.
No, it is not a car, it is a 1/2 ton pick-up, the saddle bags in the rear remove easily, about 1 minute each (if they're empty) and the toneau cover is held on by two self-aligning bolts though it takes two people to remove and place into its storage bag. The wood strips are also removable.
Seats are heated leather, driver's automatic adjusts for two drivers, full gauges, 4 speed overdrive automatic tranmission, full info readout on odometer screen, steering wheel controls for 6 CD Bose stereo with automatic equalization. It is one of the most comfortable vehicles I've ever driven or ridden in and by far the quietest convertible I know of, it is quiet compared to luxury cars. All this with a 5.3 litre (327cid) 300 horsepower V8 that gets 22 mpg highway.
The handling is outstanding, sort of a 5000 pound Corvette - with a really big trunk.
It isn't a reasonable family with kids vehicle, two is the seating, no matter how good friends you are. It isn't the sort of thing you'd dump a frontend loader scoop of rock into. It has a limitted tow capability, the hide away hitch is cool, though. It certainly is a nifty parade vehicle.
Chevrolet began production in 2003 1/2 model year and finished in 2006, '03-04 were 5.3 L and from then 6.0 L/400HP, 4K units the first partial year and 6K there after. This car is the fully optioned model with running boards, full gauges, finished bed, and 6 CD player.
If you're in Baker City Saturday, wave enthusiastically as we pass by and stop at Paizano's Piza on 10th at noon and have lunch with Senator Westlund and Baker County Democrats. We are all grateful to my wife that she lets us use her truck.

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