Tuesday, 22 July 2008

The General Gets Our Vote - HHR SS Panel Arrives in 6-8 Weeks!

I love cars. :D

I started working on them in my late teens, and grew attached to the smells, sounds, and speed of 350 horsepower small blocks, 400-500 big blocks, and later the multi-valve small displacement engines pulling all sorts of cars into all sorts of crazy speeds.

For the last 6 years or more, I have owned a 1997 Ford Taurus V8 SHO.

It has been a very reliable, very fast, and very maneuverable mode of transport. For both street and track I could ask for nothing better for my money.

But, at 10 years, the reliability ratio to the age of the car is starting to equalize. No serious repairs done to date ... yet. So, do we want to spend any money on a 10 year old car versus putting that money into a new one?

From a business perspective the answer is a resounding no!

On the hunt for a replacement in the last year or so, there were many contenders to replace the SHO. But, none really stood out from the pack.

The key elements that needed to carry forward from the SHO:
  • Reasonable power (200bhp+).
    • Too many times in this city the power is required to escape others concentrating on other things.
    • The power is important for highway travelling which we do a fair amount of for our business.
  • Reasonable fuel consumption (when not into the throttle).
    • SHO gets 340KM on 60 litres consistently for years in the city.
  • Handling must be on par or vary close to the SHO's Semi Active Ride Control.
  • Better product carrying capabilities than the trunk or back seat of the SHO.
While doing an install at a client site, the phone system technician was in working on setting up the phone system integration into the SBS network with me. He had an Chevrolet HHR Panel as his company transport.

What caught my eye was the lack of glass in the rear passenger doors. Right away, the element of security came to mind for any system or component contents that may be in the vehicle while parked.

The other thing that struck me were the lines. On the Wikipedia entry for the HHR (Heritage High Roof), the styling cues pull from the 1940's era Chevy Suburban 2 door. Neat.

This last weekend the dealer provided an HHR SS that was the standard 4 door layout for me to scoot about with on errands and to take Monique for a spin.

What a lot of fun that drive was. The vehicle is stable at any speed, in corners, into twists and turns, and flat out a blast from "not to 60" in a shade over 6 seconds.

GM's quality, fit, and finish have come a long way over the last couple of decades ... and that really shows through in the HHR I got to play with.

So, we signed on the dotted line for one. We should see it in about 6 to 8 weeks.

Anyone looking for an excellent second car, or primary get-about, that has power to spare, the Taurus SHO is now available. ;)

Any suggestions for logos and the like for the sides and back? The HHR SS Panel will be black with an ebony interior.

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

*All Mac on SBS posts are posted on our in-house iMac via the Safari Web browser.

6 comments:

Chris Knight said...

Sounds like you would enjoy the Subaru Legacy 2.5GT Wagon.

The Australian version is a serious contender as a replacement for my MY01 Subaru Impreza WRX (front view, rear view)

Chris Knight said...

Oh, and you get 100kms per 10L of fuel.

Andy said...

I enjoy our "hearse" as we call it but most of our other techs don't like driving it, mainly due to the reduced visibility - reversing is a pain!
Ton's of advertising space and the side opening doors are very useful although mind they don't get accidentally unlocked by pushing the release when the keychain is in your pocket - although the car can be locked, the side doors can still be open.
Also the volume in for the ipod is really really quiet - you have to jack the volume up to full blast which means the next person getting in the car, switching to the radio gets their ears cleaned out ;-)

Philip E. said...

Chris,

I have owned a couple of Subarus. I enjoyed them both.

At this point though, the HHR SS Panel provides the best of both worlds for me: performance and security.

I want to keep my money in this country as much as possible too ... yeah that one can be argued till the sun goes down. ;)

A good set of winter tires like the X-Ice that go on the SHO every winter takes care of the traction needs ... those tires rock on ice and in snow ... like the time my Dad and I came back from an MS event in Calgary and hit 90KM of shear ice on the highway. We stayed behind a truck dead-heading his way back. When he slowed down we did too. Never lost the car once averaging 70-80KM/h. Lots of cars and 4x4s in the ditches though.

Andy,

Send me pics! I would love to see what it looks like.

I drove 1, 3, and 5 ton trucks for a living for many years. So, having no windows south of the driver and passenger doors makes no difference to me.

Might to a future employee though ... so I will have to keep that in mind when it comes time to add another one for company use.

Philip

Andy said...

Photo sent by email for you.

Philip E. said...

Andy,

Got it thanks!

I like the white ... nice and clear as to its purpose too.

The logos look really kewl.

I am thinking that we will put our company logo (in the blog URL) on the rear quarter panels along with the SBSC vertically on the rear passenger door and horizontally on the rear liftgate. I think the panel version that we will get doesn't have the rear window iirc.

The one we are ordering will be in black ... so the other logos may not turn out really well. Our logo will go well on the black background and the SBSC blue and white will stand out really well.

Any that get ordered for the company will be in white ... and will be decked out in similar fashion to yours.

Are those aftermarket backup sensors on the HHR's bumper?

Excellent! Thanks for that.

Philip