LOS ANGELES -- Seeking to generate marketing buzz, Chevrolet will take four customized HHRs on a national tour.
The retro wagon is scheduled to go on sale this month.
The company commissioned four extreme makeovers, from a devilish-looking tailgater, complete with a working grill and smoothie maker, to a music machine that thumps to the beat of a 1,200-watt stereo system. They were unveiled June 22 at GM's design center here.
"What we want to do is develop a cult demand for accessories for the car," says Lori Queen, vehicle line executive for small cars at GM.
GM spokesman Bob Tripolski says the vehicles will be displayed at sporting events, concerts and other venues.
Year One, a vehicle restoration company and parts distributor in Braselton, Ga., created a commercial van suitable for transporting parts. The inside mimics a performance shop, with places to hold parts and catalogs. The HHR's engine was replaced with a 450-hp V-8.
The dragster HHR, customized by Unique Performance of Farmers Branch, Texas, is equipped with a Corvette LS2 V-8 engine rated at 500 hp. The company raised the hood and put a speaker on the dash.
The tailgater HHR was created by PTeazer Inc. of Huntington Beach, Calif. The back seats were removed to install a roll-out grill. A subwoofer was created from a racing gasoline can, and football helmets serve as speakers. Flames cover the exterior.
Darkside Motoring of Chatsworth, Calif., installed a 1,200 watt stereo system with four subwoofers. Nine-inch DVD systems are mounted in the headrests.