The biggest fad that came out of the 2000s was “retro-styling,” the design throwbacks. It wouldn’t be until late in the decade when automakers learned that the only throwbacks people want are for the late 60s / early 70s. However we did get three very...interesting convertibles. I’m talking about the Plymouth Prowler, the Chevrolet SSR, and the Ford Thunderbird. Which was your preference?
*To get a better understanding of what the modern equivalent of these numbers would be, add 100 hp / 100 lb-ft, add $10,000 to the prices, and take one second off the 0-60 mph times. What you think and feel of the stats after those conversions is how everyone felt about the cars over a decade ago with their listed stats.
2005 Ford Thunderbird
3.9L V8 rated at 280 hp / 286 lb-ft mated to a 5-speed auto with manual shiftability. Weighed around 3,750 lbs and was on the same platform as the RWD Lincoln LS and Jaguar S-Type. That top comes off and has a dolly for you to leave it at home. Plan accordingly.
0-60 mph in 6.5 seconds and a base price of $37,320 at the time.
2006 Chevrolet SSR
This specific model year used the 6.0L LS2 V8 from the GTO and made 395 hp with the 4-speed auto. But it’s the 6-speed manual that got you the full 400 hp / 400 lb-ft. Of course a power retractable hardtop convertible truck will end up heavier than the Chrysler and Ford offerings, running at around 4,700 lbs.
0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds and a base price of $43,180 at the time.
2001 Plymouth Prowler
3.5L V6 rated at 253 hp / 255 lb-ft mated to a 4-speed auto (but the top is manual). It only weighed around 2,850 lbs, was RWD and had a 50/50 weight distribution due to the transmission being located at the back of the vehicle.
0-60 mph was 5.9 seconds in its final years with a base price of $44,625.
Remember that these were the halo cars for retro-styling. As far as the US automakers go, these cars were how we ended up with the 60s focused Mustangs, Camaros, and Challengers. The next generation of these “muscle” cars will probably be throughly forward looking in design rather than focused on call backs.
Reflecting on vehicle designs that were reflecting on vehicle designs is an odd experience. The 2000s is kind of the late 70s of cars, huh? Not much you want from the US.