Whispers and reports of a new, rear-wheel-drive, performance-oriented Chevrolet sedan are hardly new, but claims the vehicle – which would ride on the storied Zeta platform – could be sold as the Chevrolet SS certainly are.
We say “storied” because the Zeta platform has had its fair share of ups and downs in recent history. It underpinned the enthusiast-oriented Pontiac G8, but as the model launched on the eve of General Motors’s bankruptcy and the death of the Pontiac brand, the car’s lifespan was brief, to say the least. It’s still possible to buy a V-8-powered Zeta sedan in the U.S. now, but only if you’re a law enforcement organization looking to buy the Chevrolet Caprice PPV.
But hope springs eternal. Rumors of a Zeta-based Chevy consumer offering have been mounting for quite some time. Chevrolet’s announcement that its new NASCAR Sprint Cup car would be not only be patterned after a new production vehicle, but one with a new nameplate. Though both the 2013 Malibu and 2014 Impala appeared to be contenders, neither nameplate is a new addition by any means – and seeing as the Zeta-based Holden Commodore is due for a refresh (the VF generation) for the 2014 model year, the timing seems right.
This week, GM Authority spotted an April 2012 trademark filing by GM that covers the “SS” badge, in automotive usage. Here’s where it gets dicey: the patent filing states that the badge’s first use is in March 2009, and the patent image is nearly identical to the badges currently adorning LS3-powered Camaros. At first glance, it looks like the trademark is just looking to cover an already existing badge, and SS doesn’t mean anything more than the trim level it currently is.
There are, however, a few reasons to think otherwise. For one, this appears to be the first time GM has ever trademarked the iconic SS name or its badge design – and barring the late Cobalt SS, GM typically hasn’t filed for trademarks for SS versions of its existing model names.
Further, there have also been mentions of an SS model by GM itself: an email to a Chevrolet dealer service department in 2009 and reprinted by GM Authority mentioned a “MY11.5 Chevy Police Program and MY12 Chevy SS,” which would suggest a civilian Zeta sedan would follow the Caprice PPV by about a half year.
Calls to GM for comment were not returned before deadline.
If SS does wind up on the finished product, it’d be the first time the nameplate stands on its own on a production vehicle – but it would also follow in the footsteps of a muscular, V-8-powered, rear-wheel-drive concept sedan Chevrolet showed in 2003. Its name? SS.
What say you, Chevy purists? Does the SS moniker have enough gravitas to stand on its own, or should Chevy dig another nameplate from its performance past (Chevelle, for instance) for use on a future Zeta program? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Source: GM Authority