• Nov 21, 2009

When the SS badge returned to Chevrolet, we were pretty excited. But then the double letter #19 made its way onto the last generation Malibu, and we were immediately and nearly permanently turned off. General Motors later turned up the heat with the turbocharged Cobalt SS and HHR SS, and while we liked those models very much, they in no way conjured up thoughts of 1960's and 1970's Impala and Chevelle SS models. And with more stringent fuel economy standards and government-mandated CO2 reductions, it appears that the SS moniker could well be relegated to the new Camaro. Or maybe not.

Mark Reuss, GM vice president of global engineering, recently told AutoWeek that the SS badge is alive and well. But instead of slapping it on anything and everything with elevated horsepower, the General will instead focus on a more selective process. In other words, we're guessing the ill-conceived FWD Impala SS won't happen again any time soon. Or at least we hope. And while Reuss doesn't hold the glitzy profile of a big-time player like Bob Lutz, the global engineering VP does have plenty of street cred. He worked in Australia to build the RWD Zeta platform that currently underpins the Camaro here in the States, and Zeta is one platform we're dying to see more of here.

So if the SS badge is only going to be considered on a case by case basis, our big question is.... what's next? Well, we have no idea which Chevy will next don the SS badge, but we're hoping recent rumors of a Volt SS are just that: rumors. Perhaps Reuss will convince his fellow executives to marry the SS badge, the Chevy Bowtie and his pride and joy Zeta platform to make a four-door counterpart to the Camaro. That's one way to get yourself Lutz-like notoriety.

[Source: Automotive News subs req'd]


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  • 35 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is like the 3rd time they've said this. It'd be a good thing to mean it one of these times. And then prove it through actions. Until then I can admire the sentiment, but I can't take the statement all that seriously.
      • 5 Years Ago
      i gotta be honest, i was kinda hoping for a Cruise SS since i was looking to the cruise to replace my current cavalier. (broke college student, don't hate lol)

      But hey a regular cruise is good enough too. Looking forward to see what GM does with the SS now.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Whatever, GM. I'll believe this when I see it. Every few years they announce something like this, and they've been terrible about following through with these announcements.

      For example, remember how they announced they were going to bring Pontiac back to its roots as a performance brand, only to announce the G3 a few months later? Yeah.

      The thing is, though, that the SS badge isn't that out of place on any of the current lineup. The old Malibu SS is long-gone, the Impala SS isn't offered any more (when did they kill that?), and the Silverado and Trailblazer-based SS models are done for as well.

      As far as current SS vehicles, we have the Cobalt, Camaro, and HHR. And while I hate the HHR, it has the same drivetrain as the Cobalt SS, as far as I know, so I can't really discredit it there. And honestly, that thing will probably be canned in the next few years anyway. So I don't really see where the problem is with the current SS lineup. I guess this is just GM vowing not to abuse the badge like they have in the past.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's gonna take some time for GM to re-establish the SS badge as a serious "performance and quality" badge. There just has been too many SS version of..well... pretty much every GM cars except the aveo latery.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The low spot here was the Malibu SS of a few years back.

      But I can see and bet few here ever drove a Cobalt SS or HHR SS. If you had you would know these cars were complete perfomance packages, It is just a shame they came late in the production cycle with old cheap interiors. The fact GM had no money to market them really hurt both cars.

      The cars built by GMPD were the best cars GM has had in a long time performance wise.

      I have owned a 68 Chevelle SS and a 72 GMC Sprint SP. [Big Block El Camino SS]. My present HHR SS with the GM turbo upgrade not only has 290 HP but 315 ft pound but also handles and brakes better than most GM car in years. The HHr SS will do high 13's in the 1/4 and still get 31 High way and 23 city.

      It is not much seceret that Chevy has the Holden coming as a SS in 2012 and we will see other models share some of the world platform parts available. Just look to the coming Buick Regal as it comes nearly intact with the Opel hardware and a Tubo 4 /six speed manual. The neat thing is this is not the top performaing Regal coming.

      So in the future we should see some great cars. If they can make a Cobalt that will run with a Mustang GT and lap the Ring as fast as a Camaro SS then when they get new platforms we should get the entire package of better interiors and even better suspension bits.

      So if you have not driven a Cobalt SS you really have no ideal of what they can do. If this had been in a new package it would have been a home run.

      The fact is SS will carry on the GMPD code of Go, Stop and Turn.

      The funny part is my HHR SS will go stop and turn better than any SS of the 60's I ever drove or owned. I never wanted an HHR or cared for a 4 cylinder. But after my test drive of the SS and when I saw 96 MPH as I shifted into 3rd gear. I leaned then I could really like this car.
        • 5 Years Ago
        quote from scott 3:
        - "But after my test drive of the SS and when I saw 96 MPH as I shifted into 3rd gear. I leaned then I could really like this car." -

        You must have overevved the hell out of that engine to see 96mph in 2nd gear. The gear ratios show that at redline in 2nd gear, you should be at 69mph. That's pretty typical of most cars as it allows them to reach 60mph without shifting to 3rd so that they post better 0-60 times By that same chart, you shouldn't bee close to 100mph until the top end of 3rd gear.
        http://www.roadandtrack.com/assets/download/1108_turbos_comparisonchart.pdf

        I'll admit that I was actually only able to find ratios and speeds on the Cobalt SS, but the HHR uses the same transmission and ratios, but it does look like it has a different axle ratio as the final drive ratio for the Cobalt SS is 3.82:1 while for the HHR SS it is 4.05:1 which means you probably wouldn't even see the 69mph that the Cobalt SS sees in 2nd gear.

        That said, I'm not taking anything away from the HHR SS or Cobalt SS as I think they truly live up to the SS name, but I just thought your comment overexagerrated a bit.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Honestly, I never really took issue with them putting the SS badge on "anything and everything with elevated horsepower." To me the SS trim has been the sportier "cooler" versions of the model. For example, if I was to buy a previous gen Malibu, I would only want the SS because it has the best styling. But I was not alive during the 60's and 70's so maybe the feeling is generational.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Next SS? Probably Cruze. Hoping it will be a RWD Impala with an available 6MT. That would get serious consideration from me. I liked the G8 very much, but not offering a 6MT in the GT was a turn off for me. Yes, I know not many people buy MT...but I will never buy a "fun" car without a MT.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Brian s t f u.

      tax payers money is being wasted elsewhere at much larger amounts but you choose to cry about peanuts. Your kind makes me sick.
      • 5 Years Ago
      SS is perhaps one of Government Motor's MOST damaged brands. Nobody cares about it anymore, and building niche cars with taxpayer money is not a very smart move, either financially or morally.

      Government Motors should be concentrating on building bread-and-butter compact and mid-size sedans. Anything else is a WASTE of taxpayer dollars.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ stupidfarm101

        do you have any clue how stupid u look posting that? first off im not a DEM or a REP so dont come back with that. if you dont think clinton and Obama have sold us down the river then your a just being nieve. and the Tea Party movement for people who fight for fundamental rights and lower taxes. ya what tools. stupidfarm101 go back to the farm

        if people keep thinking DEM and REP we will never fix anything!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Good idea. After Pontiac is gone, I guess the SS will be their new performance and excitement badge.
        • 5 Years Ago
        So they will all get plastic cladding and playdough interiors?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Montoym

      Sorry for my error of 17 MPH on my post. I am sorry I did not bring my fifth wheel with my on that day. I hope you also factored in speedometer error here we would not want to miss that. I may have only been off 15 MPH.

      The fact is I was in the midst of driving a car with large blind spots for the first time the first 2 miles of a test drive.

      Also I was using no lift shift for the first time so I was making sure I did not miss the shift on a vehicle I did not own using technology I have never used before.

      If you had any clue you also would know the speedometer is marked in 20 MPH jumps so it is not easy to read in a glance. The Speedo sucks in this car no more no less.

      Being my daily driver SS is the Auto I can not use it to compare the two,

      The point of my comment was how well I liked the overall performance of the car not to post a road test. The bottom line is that this little 4 banger is faster than most stock SS built in the 60's and early 70's and have earned the SS emblem. Too many it is the cylinder count and not the true performance.

      So if that 17 MPH really bothers you deal with it.


      • 5 Years Ago
      As an owner of a HHR SS I can tell you that it is a great drive with plenty of power. I'm glad the goverment helped GM. We started buying there products a few years ago and we are very satisfied. If they had be let to fail, we would have seen a alot more unemployment than we do now. Like it or not, about one out of every eight jobs in the U.S. is related to the auto.

      Willie, you are correct in the SS badge being the cooler and sportier of the Chevys. In the sixties, as I was there, the SS badge could be had with a 427 or a plain 327. It was mosly a trim option, and people who ordered a big block could also have it with a base model.

      On the political side, please everybody, don't put your political party ahead of your country. Our president is doing the best he can with the HUGE mess he was left with.
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