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The 1961 Impala SS inaugurated the SS trim line to the brand, and its SS cars have found more than a million homes since – examples like this 1966 model helping the way. Turns out, though, that General Motors just got around to patenting the designator SS on April 13, 2012. Since the SS descriptor has historically indicated a model variant or trim level, distinctions that apparently don't normally warrant trademark protection, the questions are why now and what for?

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