Sun | Jul 12, 2020

Hot-rod hearse

Published:Sunday | May 23, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Laranzo Dacres, Gleaner Writer

"It looks alien, eh!" said an onlooker as a Chevy SSR cruised across his path for the first time. This cross between a pickup truck, sports car and a hearse is nothing short of being a multipurpose hot-rod with head-turning capabilities!

One of the two-seater '04 Chevrolet SSRs (super sports roadsters) was spotted gliding along the streets of downtown Kingston recently - a long way from the uptown residence of its owner. This truck - with its sculpted look and retro design - would stir even the most focused to shift gaze, moved by the roar of its 5300 5.3L V-8 engine - the sound of extreme power!

What is interesting - yet not readily noticeable - about the SSR is that owner and businessman Patrick A. Williams also uses the vehicle as a hearse to transport baby-sized coffins because of the limited size and design of the trunk.

"Due to the type of business I have, and the uniqueness of the ride, I decided to install rollers in the trunk so I could use it as a hearse for babies. The rollers obviously make it easier to get a coffin in the back of the vehicle," Williams told Automotives. "With this modification, I can just flip the lid and drop the tailgate and lay the coffin down."

" I also use it as a delivery van for flowers, plus it is my personal vehicle," he added.

Williams said he was attracted to the '04 Chevrolet SSR because of its magnetic uniqueness.

"I bought it in Miami. I sold my Dodge so I could get this one. It was a great buy, because the previous owner owed the bank and had to sell it. So, at the price I got it for, it was basically a gift," Williams said laughing.

The Chevy SSR is the world's first convertible sports pickup truck and the only one of its kind to have entered Jamaica. The limited edition of the Chevy SSR series was produced during 2000-2006, with the last car coming off the assembly line on March 17, 2006.

This vehicle, which rolls around daily on the streets of the capital city on 20" rear and 19" front wheels, gets Williams a lot of attention.

"I get attention all day long, everywhere I go; whether it is at funerals, while at the stop lights or when I pull into the gas stations. In fact, some people ask to take photos of the vehicle, while some even ask to stand beside it and take their pictures," Williams said, "but I don't have any problem with the attention."

As Jamaicans, we thrive on being unique and showcasing our creativity, and Williams is no exception. He has made his vehicle even more outstanding by installing a rear-view camera and a subwoofer bass box just for his pleasure.