June 25, 2024

Wade Through Films

The Ultimate Driving Machines

Junkyard Gem: 2009 Chevrolet HHR LS with Manual Transmission

The sales achievements of the retro-ized Volkswagen New Beetle in 1998 caught Chrysler’s consideration, which led to the large-offering PT Cruiser for the 2002 product calendar year. GM, with a prosperity of interesting-hunting equipment in its heritage, leaped on to the nostalgia bandwagon by coming up with a late-nineteen forties-design sedan shipping system for the Chevy Cobalt system (the PT Cruiser lived on the Neon system). This was the HHR, and creation ran from the 2006 through 2011 product yrs. A five-speed manual transmission arrived as regular tools on the HHR, but just about just about every a single bought in the United States appears to be to have been equipped with the optional 4-speed automatic. Here’s a single of all those uncommon a few-pedal cars and trucks, discovered in a Colorado Springs property.

The automatic additional $1,000 to the expense of the $eighteen,720 HHR LS, which was about $500 fewer than the (inflation-modified) expense of a two-speed Powerglide vehicle in the Chevy wagons of fifty yrs before. You’d think that the relative cheapness of the manual would have resulted in a good deal of takers amongst HHR buyers— this was the case with the PT Cruiser— but it took me many months of junkyard browsing to discover this kind of a car or truck. Perhaps the five-speed HHRs are so enjoyable to drive that house owners continue to keep them for a longer time.

I’m constantly on the lookout for these uncommon manual-transmission cars and trucks when I’m prowling the junkyards, and I’ve managed to location this kind of oddities as a five-speed Dodge Caliber, a five-speed Mercury Mystique, a five-speed (non-SHO) Ford Taurus, and a five-speed Toyota Previa All-Trac about the yrs. I’m however hunting for a 21st-century Camry with a manual transmission, devoid of achievements.

It has become stylish to despise the PT Cruiser in current yrs, but the nostalgo-Chrysler bought pretty well for yrs and it took right until the early 2010s before they began demonstrating up in the low-priced U-Wrench boneyards in huge portions. The HHR followed a comparable, if shorter, trajectory and is commonplace at this kind of yards these days.

This “truck” was a Cobalt beneath the pores and skin, with all of the pluses and minuses of its car or truck sibling. The modern-day and trustworthy Ecotec engine was a single of the HHR’s pluses this a single is the two.two rated at 149 horsepower. Buyers could get an HHR SS for 2009, which presented a screaming 260 horsepower. I do not be expecting to see an SS in a place like this for at the very least a few more yrs.

2009 was a tough calendar year for The Common, and sales of the HHR had plunged from their stable 2006-2007 ranges. Still, optimism remained.