The SS badge used to make a Chevy special, exciting, and unique: besides anything else, an SS-badged Chevrolet was one thing – fast.
Today, however, the SS program (and nomenclature) seems to have lost its way. Case in point: the last-gen Malibu and current-gen Impala had/have SS versions but neither goes as far as the 1960’s and 1970’s Impala and Chevelle SS in terms of “sportifying” the car. Needless to say, the Malibu and Impala SS are not vehicles that deserve to wear the SS badge proudly. To its credit, Chevrolet did introduce the turbocharged Cobalt and HHR SS (which were considerably more “SS material” than the Malibu or Impala), but many still felt that there was room for improvement. To us, the only vehicle in production today that truly deserves to wear the SS emblem proudly is the new Camaro.
The Good News
Mark Reuss, GM vice president of global engineering, recently told AutoWeek that the SS program is alive and well but going forward, GM will be more selective as to what vehicles get to wear the badge. To us this means that just because a vehicle’s engine produces more horsepower, it doesn’t get to be an “SS” automatically.
But here is where it gets really interesting: Reuss worked in Australia as chairman and managing director of Holden – the same GM division that developed the awesome RWD Zeta architecture that underpins the new Camaro as well as the Holden Commodore and Statesman vehicle lines (and their Chevy- and Buick-badged brethren in Arabia and elsewhere). We hope that Reuss will work to convince fellow GM execs to mate the Zeta platform with an SS badge. To throw more fire into the rumormill, this report comes after rumors of a Zeta-based Chevy SS model coming in 2012.
Obviously, the sooner Mr. Reuss embarks on the convincing, the better: many GM fans would love to see something along the lines of a four-door Camaro on U.S. shores (and around the world).
We’ve received some interesting feedback before publishing this post. Namely, some have let us know that while they didn’t themselves purchase a Malibu or Impala SS, those models would be the only models these readers would consider because they were top of the line of their respective models. One loyal GM Authority reader and listener even let us know that he thought the Malibu SS model was “cool,” making us wonder that the SS program shouldn’t go away entirely on lesser models.[Source: Automotive News subs required]