Why the Chevrolet SS Failed

The Chevrolet SS sedan was like that distant relative you always heard about, vaguely remembered, and rarely ever saw. It’s a shame because the SS was a rear-wheel-drive sedan with a V8 engine under the hood and the option for a six-speed manual transmission. It was gone just as quickly as it arrived, which makes us wonder: What happened to the Chevrolet SS?

It’s actually a Holden

Chevrolet SS

For those not in the know, Holden is the automobile marque of General Motors over in Australia. They have been building really cool cars since the 1940s and one of the best cars to come from there was the VF Commodore; a rear-wheel-drive sedan offered with either a V6 or a V8. Due to popular demand, GM finally decided to bring the Commodore over to the U.S. in the form of the Chevrolet SS. So basically, it’s a rebadged Holden.

Back in 2013, GM decided that they were going to close the Holden engine and vehicle manufacturing plant in Australia in 2017. So part of the game plan was to import the Commodore and sell it in the U.S. as the SS from 2014-2017 in an effort to appease those who missed the defunct Pontiac G8, which died with the Pontiac brand in 2009. Their plan was to sell 12,000-15,000 Chevrolet SS units each year that it was in production. Unfortunately, they only sold around 3,000 per year, in reality, thanks to a lack of advertising and, as a result, a lack of public interest.

Still an amazing car

Chevrolet SS

Although it was only here for a blink of an eye, the Chevrolet SS was still an amazing car. It was a large family-sized sedan that was only offered with a 6.2-liter V8 engine which put out 415 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque. The small-block 8-cylinder was mated to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic, a combination good for a 0-60 time of 4.8 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 13.2 seconds. Not bad, considering this family-hauler weighed nearly 4,000 pounds.

To back up all this power, the Chevrolet SS rode on a magnetic-ride suspension that could soften or stiffen up the ride at a moment’s notice and the stopping power was taken care of by massive Brembo brakes. The SS’ interior exuded quality as well as spaciousness. It had ample seating for five and came standard with leather seats that were embroidered and luxuriously stitched. It was everything that anyone could expect out of a $45,000 American sedan.

Chevrolet SS Interior

Still a good deal

Now that the Chevrolet SS is history, they still come up a lot on the used market. A quick search on Cargurus reveals that pricing will land between $25,000 to the high $30,000 depending on the location and mileage. Considering there’s not much you can get with this type of power and performance out a large, unassuming sedan, we think that anyone interested should probably make a move on one. If anything, you can think of it as a great American car that’s part of Australia’s automotive history.