Holden VF Commodore SS V previews Chevy’s SS muscle car

Holden VF Commodore SS V front three quarterWith all the excitement over the shockingly new 2014 Corvette Stingray, Chevy enthusiasts might have forgotten that the Bow Tie brand is working on another performance car. The 2014 Chevrolet SS will be a classic muscle car: big, rear-wheel drive, and sporting a V8 engine.

It won’t be unveiled until this weekend, but the VF Commodore SS V show car from General Motors’ Australian division, Holden, gives us a good idea of what the SS will look like.

The SS will essentially be a Commodore tuned for the American market. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it is. GM has tried to leverage its Australian division’s rear-wheel drive performance expertise twice, with mixed results.

In 2004, the Holdern Monaro coupe was rebadged as a Pontiac GTO. The Australian GTO was actually a good car; it had the same small block V8 as a Corvette under the hood. However, the styling was considered too generic, especially for a car wearing the legendary GTO badge, and being sold at the height of the retro craze to boot.

Round two came a few years later with the four-door Pontiac G8. Again, the G8’s bona fides seemed to be in order: it had a small block V8, and much more sophisticated suspension than the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300. However, it showed up at the nearly the exact moment of GM’s bankruptcy. The G8 was axed in 2009 along with the entire Pontiac division.

The G8 lives on, sort of, as the Chevy Caprice Police Pursuit Vehicle. While the Commodore SS V in these pictures is based on a redesigned chassis, its styling still has a lot in common with the G8 and Caprice.

Holden VF Commodore SS V rear three quarterIf the Chevy SS ends up looking like this Holden, there might be a problem. Like the G8 and GTO, the Commodore looks handsome but generic, with some added jewelry for this performance model.

Of course, what’s really important is what’s under the hood. Holden won’t reveal any technical details until the Chevy version is unveiled this weekend at Daytona, Florida but it’s a safe bet that both cars will have big V8s.

If the SS becomes a hit, we’re hoping that Chevy builds a modern version of the El Camino, in the form of a rebadged Holden Ute SS pickup.

Will it be third-time-lucky for GM’s Australian muscle car? We’ll find out soon.

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