Chevrolet will introduce a David production version of the high performance SSR sporty, retro pickup concept unveiled earlier this year in late 2002.

General Motors Corp. President G. Richard Wagoner gave the program the green light during his appearance Aug. 9 at the U-M Management Briefing Seminars.

The SSR concept debuted in January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit to raves by the automotive press. It also was a hit at the Geneva Auto Show in March.

SSR, an acronym for "Super Sport Roadster," borrows design cues from Chevy pickups from the 1947-'52 era, including a bulbous hood and sweeping horizontal grille topped by a bright metal strip stretching over both headlights. Ward's sources say the production version will be close to the concept vehicle.

Chevy won't say where the SSR will be built or how many will be produced. However, Ward's learns that final engineering will be sourced to an independent outside company using GM's powertrain and other components. "It will be built in a GM facility," says a Chevy spokesman, declining further comment. Possible candidates: GM's Lansing Craft Center, where low-volume niche vehicles have been built in the past, or the Bowling Green, KY, Corvette plant.

It's understood Chevy will market the SSR as a "halo" vehicle primarily aimed at enthusiasts. Because it seats only two people, that also could be a limiting factor. No word on pricing, but based on SSR's equipment, limited production and potential appeal, look for a healthy number north of $30,000.

Although some dimensions and features may change, the SSR will be powered by a V-8, but not necessarily the 6L, 300-hp V-8 in the show vehicle, sources say. By 2002 GM will likely have a more advanced V-8. Or SSR could borrow Corvette's 5.7L powerplant.

A power-operated, two-piece retractable roof that can be stowed between the seats and box is highlighted on the show car and likely will be carried over. The vehicle also features a button on the key fob to remotely lower the tailgate.

The show car is built on the S-10 midsize pickup platform, but the production model may use the larger GMT800 pickup chassis from the Chevy Silverado.

Among other features, the dark purple SSR concept includes:

* Leather seating for two.

* Electroncially controlled 4-speed automatic transmission.

* 5-spoke aluminum wheels.

* 19-in. tires in front, 20-in. tires at the rear.

* GM's OnStar communications system and space for a laptop computer with Internet access.

* A lockable tonneau cover over the box.

Major dimensions: Wheelbase, 115.8 ins.; overall length, 186.1 ins.; width, 76.1 ins. The pickup box is 5.3 ft. long, 4.7 ft. wide.