With a Corvette-derived V8 engine, rear-wheel drive, and a practical sedan body, the Chevrolet SS is a car aimed directly at driving enthusiasts. But the SS has flown under the radar for most of its existence, an existence that is now coming to an end.
The SS will go away after the 2017 model year, reports Car and Driver. Chevy will keep taking orders for the car through the end of February, and then sell off whatever remaining stock is left, according to the magazine, which cites a General Motors spokesperson in charge of marketing for the SS. So if you want an old-school muscle car with a new-car warranty and a Chevy badge, start writing that check.
Chevy is killing the SS because GM is shutting down the Australian factory that builds it. The SS is based on the Australian-market Holden Commodore, which is not long for this world, either. Due to cost considerations, GM is ceasing Australian production, and will instead sell derivatives of models from other markets under the Holden brand.
In the U.S., the Chevy SS was always a niche product. Chevy sold just 3,013 of them in 2016, according to Automotive News (subscription required), and did very little to promote the sedan other than slap its name on a NASCAR race car. With its focus on performance, the SS was never meant to appeal to anyone other than enthusiasts. But its restrained styling turned off many of them as well.
Nonetheless, the SS was something special. Its combination of a 6.2-liter V8 engine, rear-wheel drive, and an six-speed manual transmission is a rare and desirable one. The engine produces 415 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque, getting the SS from 0 to 60 mph in about 5.0 seconds, according to Chevy. That’s not bad for what is a very large car. While it could never match the power of its closest rival, the Dodge Charger, SS also features a modern chassis and suspension setup, affording better handling.
The Chevy SS shows that even good cars sometimes fall victim to the realities of the auto industry, and the need to prioritize the demands of mainstream buyers over the whims of enthusiasts. Chevy will still happily sell you a Camaro or Corvette, but you can’t use those for a school run.